Witness: ‘Gooey Liquid' Oozed From Store Pillar Where Decomposing Body Was Found

"It smelled like death," a witness said

A foul odor emanating from a stone pillar outside a Southern California grocery store led to a grisly find — a decomposing human body.

The manager of the WinCo Foods in Lancaster reported a strong smell coming from the column and called a repairman Saturday afternoon thinking it was some type of sewer leak. 

But when a handyman and plumber began removing bricks from the pillar's facade, they uncovered a shoe and leg inside the grocery store column. 

According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lt. John Corina, the body was in a state of decomposition. 

"I saw a gooey liquid and it smelled really foul and I thought to myself that it was probably blood," a witness said. "It was oozing out of the pillar onto the pavement. It smelled like death." 

Officials believe the body may belong to a wanted suspect who evaded officers during a traffic stop Monday night.

The driver, who was pulled over for having a fake license plate, crashed the car and got onto the WinCo roof before disappearing. Corina said the roof has an access door and the suspect may have fallen or tried to hide inside the column and then couldn't get out. 

"It’s been over 100 degrees up here everyday," Corina said. "I can image just being inside that column and baking."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death. 

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