GREENPORT — The body of a 59-year-old Athens man was found inside a vehicle in a Walmart parking lot Wednesday, county officials said.
A sheriff’s deputy found the man, who police have not identified, Wednesday night in the supermarket parking lot, at 460 Fairview Ave., according to a statement from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Police would not say what time the body was discovered.
Deputies do not believe the death was the result of foul play. Police did not release a cause of death as of press time Thursday.
The sheriff’s office would not say how long the man was in the vehicle before his body was discovered. Lt. Wayne Lopez, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, declined to release further details Thursday, citing an ongoing investigation.
The man was 59 years old and from Athens, Columbia County Coroner James Bertram said. Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, an Albany-based pathologist, came to Greenport to examine the body, Bertram said, adding an autopsy will not be performed.
Bertram directed all further questions to the sheriff’s office.
Walmart confirmed in a statement Thursday that the body was found in the Greenport store’s parking lot, but company representatives declined further comment.
Four orange cones surrounded the area of the parking lot where the body was found late Thursday afternoon.
Dylan Meicht, of Hudson, is an electronics associate at Greenport Walmart and said he heard the body might have been in the car for a week or more, or was missing for that length of time.
A cashier stationed at the front of the store spotted police activity in the parking lot Wednesday night and told Meicht about it, he said.
“It’s a little bit concerning, but I want to know how it happened,” he added.
Walmart staff Wednesday had to clean up a substance in the parking lot. Meicht did not know what the substance was and could not identify it, he said.
“Someone from overnight had to clean it up,” he said. “I’d thought they [police] would have sent someone over.”
Michael Lopez, of Hudson, initially heard about the man being found and that the body wasn’t discovered for several days on Facebook. He heard chatter about it in the Greenport store Thursday, he said.
“I don’t believe it until I see it,” Lopez said.
Shopper Daniella Leifer, of Brooklyn, was not surprised to hear about the incident outside the store Thursday afternoon.
“I read about it happening in other places, so it could happen here, too,” she added.
Shopper Nancy Nelson, of Troy, was concerned about how long the body had gone undiscovered.
“Wouldn’t you notice the same car being there every day?” Nelson said. “It’s really boggles my mind.”
Daniel Zuckerman and Sarah Trafton contributed to this report.
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