Investigators are still looking into the mysterious string
of deaths in and around some of the truck stops in the San Antonio area. Since
September, a total of seven bodies have been found in trucks in the area and an
eighth body was found in a motel adjacent to a truck stop.
Mainstream media has speculated whether laced drugs are the
cause of the recent deaths; however, some truckers have speculated that carbon
monoxide built up during truck idling may have caused the deaths.
Recent attention has focused on the unexplained deaths of
35-year-old Harry Ackroyd and his 32-year-old common-law wife, Michelle (McLean) Ackroyd. Their bodies were discovered in the sleeper berth of their truck on Nov. 1
at the Petro Stopping Center on Ackerman Road in San Antonio.
Jerry Levya, an investigator with the Bexar County Medical
Examiner's office, said his department is still waiting on submitted toxicology
reports to come back, which could take up to 12 weeks and includes any results
of carbon monoxide testing.
Wanda Austin, who works in the office of the Bexar County
Medical Examiner's office, said Ackroyd was tested for carbon monoxide
poisoning; however, McLean's body was not tested for the presence of carbon
The body of Robert Monroe Jr. was found in his sleeper berth
at the Valero Truck Stop near Interstate 35 South near Fischer Road on Nov. 20.
Austin said the report listed natural causes due to heart disease and
hypertension as the cause of Monroe's death, even though an autopsy was not
performed. She also said a test for carbon monoxide was not performed on Monroe.
"The doctor decided not to do an autopsy based on his age
and his medical history - he had a history of hypertension or high blood
pressure," Austin said. "The report states that he called his wife the night
before and said he wasn't feeling well."
The report also states that the motor was off and that he
still had fuel left in his tank.
On Thanksgiving morning, the body of Byron Gonzales, 42, was
found in the cab of his truck at the Petro on Ackerman Road, bringing the total
to four. The investigation into his death is still pending, although Bexar
County Medical Examiner's Chief Investigator Jimmy Holguin said that similar to
the Ackroyds, there was "no sign of trauma." An autopsy and a carbon monoxide
test were both performed.
The body of a 62-year-old man, Clifton Frank Lee, of Charlotte, TX, was found in a motel adjacent to the Petro on Nov. 26, although Levya said
they aren't investigating Lee's case as being connected to the other truck stop
deaths. Austin said the police report stated that Lee, who worked as a freight
dispatcher, was staying at the hotel for an extended period of time.
Austin said Lee's body was found lying on the floor near the
bed and that an autopsy reports that Lee died of natural causes stemming from
an enlarged heart. Land Line previously reported that Lee was a diabetic
who had pneumonia had left the hospital against doctor's orders.
On Sept. 25, the body of Michael Mooney, 51, of Bettendorf, IA, was found in his truck cab at a TA Truck Stop in San Antonio. He was found
face up in the lower bed of his truck cab. His cause of death was ruled as
natural causes, stemming from heart disease, obesity and diabetes. A carbon
monoxide test was not performed in this case.
The death of Robert Boykin, of Clyde, TX, was also ruled due
to natural causes stemming from heart disease. He was found at Mann-Lee LLC,
which is a truck parking and storage facility located on Perrin Beitel Road.
The investigator's report states he was found in the kneeling position behind
the passenger seat just in front of the bed. A carbon monoxide test was not
performed in Boykin's case.
- By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer