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Tow-Truck Driver Finds Woman Trapped Under Dead Man in Car

January 22, 1988

AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ A 20-year-old woman was in fair condition today after four days trapped beneath the nude body of her lover in the front seat of a car in an abandoned garage, authorities say.

″I kept hearing screams,″ said Del Lockhard, a tow truck driver who discovered the couple Thursday in a garage at a vacant house where police had summoned him to tow away an abandoned car.

Daisy Gladden of West Akron was suffering from hypothermia, which is a loss of body heat from exposure to cold weather. She wore only a cloth raincoat when she was found, and said the couple had gone to the garage Sunday or Monday, according to police and paramedics.

Summit County coroner’s investigators identified the dead man as James Daniels Jr., 26, of Akron.

An autopsy performed Thursday on Daniels was inconclusive, said investigator Don Sullivan. Results of blood tests for alcohol, drugs and carbon monoxide poisoning are not expected until Tuesday, he said.

Two one-quart beer bottles were found in the car, he said.

″Indications during the autopsy were that it may have been some type of carbon monoxide poisoning, but we won’t make it official until we get the results,″ said Sullivan.

Investigators estimate that Daniels died on Monday, since his body had begun to decompose, he said.

Lockhard said he was called to the home about 2 p.m. Thursday by Akron police, who wanted a car towed that had been abandoned on the lawn next to the garage. The house on the property is vacant, police said.

While preparing to tow the abandoned car, Lockhard said he heard a woman screaming inside the garage. He looked in a window and saw an arm waving in the window of a car inside.

Firefighters pried the garage door open and found the couple, described by police as boyfriend and girlfriend.

″The man died while on top of the woman,″ said police Det. Sgt. Howard Arnette. ″She was wedged in the front seat with his body on top of hers.″

It would have been difficult for the woman to maneuver out of the car, officials said. They said Daniels weighed 160 to 170 pounds.

Police said the woman told them the couple had used drugs and alcohol and were having sex.

The car’s ignition was turned on and the gas tank was empty, circumstances which normally suggest carbon monoxide poisoning, Arnette said.

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