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'They Looked Down And Could See A Shoe': Detectives Find Dead Man Inside A Pillar Outside Lancaster Supermarket

LANCASTER (CBSLA)  -- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Detectives were dispatched to a Lancaster business following reports that a body was  found just outside the premises --  in a pillar.

Officials said the body of an adult male was found after a store manager complained about a strong smell Saturday morning.

A plumber was called and a couple of bricks were broken to look inside the pillar.

"When they did that," says LA County Sheriff's Homicide Department spokesman Lt. John Corina, "they looked down and they could see a shoe and a leg down there at the bottom of the column - inside the column."

The grim discovery was made around 2:40 p.m. officials said. The business -- a WinCo supermarket --  is located in the  700 block of West Avenue K in Lancaster.

KCAL9's Jeff Nguyen said police believe the man inside the pillar was someone law enforcement was chasing Monday and lost.

They believed that man ran into the WinCo and believe at some point he must have gotten into the crawl space before falling into the pillar.

Witness Henry Oliver said he saw the suspect run into the WinCo.

"He got out of the car, ran in, ran up the steps where the managers [are.]," Oliver said. "And somehow he got on the roof. Last I heard he got away."

Body Found Outside Market
(credit: CBS)

The Sheriff's department says deputies lost their chase suspect after he got on the roof and they never saw him come out of the store.

"We're thinking this could possibly be that individual," says Lt. Corina.

Earlier in the day, customers were turned away from the store.

"My concern was everybody in the store okay?," asked Constance Fullwood. She was glad to learn the person was not an employee.

"It's very emotional," she said, "Because I shop here at least four times a month."

The person found dead was not an employee of the store adding conjecture that the victim was indeed the chase suspect.

Detectives say there's an access door at the top of the roof  which also goes to the front fascia of the store.

Nguyen reported that the man in the pillar was found standing on both his feet but one of his arms was trapped behind his head.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to remain anonymous you may call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477),

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