A missing Alabama woman’s body is found in a parked, unoccupied police van

 1570255467 
1634548971

An Alabama woman who was missing for 12 days was later found dead in a parked, unoccupied police van in Huntsville, police said.

According to the Huntsville Police Department, an officer discovered 29-year-old Christina Nance’s body in the van, which was parked in a police department lot, on Oct. 7.

Nance’s family had not seen her since Sept. 25 and reported her missing on Oct. 2. A police officer discovered her body five days later. City cameras captured Nance entering the unoccupied van at about 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, Huntsville Police Deputy Chief Dewayne McCarver told reporters at a news conference last week.

Autopsy results from the Madison County, Ala., coroner’s office showed no foul play or trauma in Nance’s death, according to police.

Her official cause of death will be determined by the Alabama State Medical Examiner once further tests are complete.

Family members, who viewed the parking lot surveillance footage ahead of the news conference, are now calling for an investigation into her death.

“The video was not clear enough to indicate that that was our sister Christina Nance” climbing into the van, her sister Whitney Nance told local news station WAFF.

The surveillance footage released Friday shows Nance walking around a parking lot, lying down in the bushes, and sitting on the hood of a police car.

McCarver said she later walked up to other parked and unoccupied vehicles for about 10 minutes before entering the parked police van. According to the video footage, it appeared there was no one else present when Nance got inside the van.

The officer who found Nance’s body says they observed shoes next to the parked van, approached the vehicle and discovered her body inside.

McCarver told reporters that the van was unlocked, which violates “department policy” and “shouldn’t have happened.”

“All city vehicles should remain locked any time they are not in use or occupied,” McCarver said. “Sometimes, you just have to say that was something that shouldn’t have happened. It did.”

The police van, according to police, was purchased in 1995 and was initially used to transport inmates to jail. However, in the early 2000s, the van was repurposed and used by employees to “transfer evidence” approved for destruction from cleared investigations.

“Because of its original design, it does not have handles inside. It was made for transporting inmates,” McCarver said. “You cannot exit once you’re inside.”

The van was last used in March 2021, police said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

 

Birmingham City Council moves toward approval of cannabis dispensaries

Birmingham has taken “the first step” on the road to legalizing medical marijuana. The City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries to operate within Birmingham city limits.

The landmark Voting Rights Act faces further dismantling in case from Alabama

The law is once again on the chopping block ­— this time on the question of how state legislatures may draw congressional district lines when the state's voters are racially polarized.

Gulf States rank at the bottom for climate-adapted housing. Organizers want to change that.

As natural disasters and extreme weather become more frequent in the Gulf South, a new report hopes to be a road map to providing more climate-adapted housing.

How Dr. Emily Fortney is using her clinical psychology work to help pregnant people

Suicide is a leading cause of death in women, and mood and anxiety disorders make perinatal risks more complicated. Dr. Fortney’s work is focused on this issue.

Regions Bank to refund $141M for illegal overdraft fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that between 2018 and 2021, Regions was charging overdraft fees on some ATM withdrawals as well as some debit card purchases, even after the bank told the customers they had enough funds to cover the transactions.

Jackson’s water crisis put new attention on its longstanding lead contamination issue

Jackson’s water issues echo infrastructure struggles across the Gulf South, resulting in nearly 1,800 lawsuits over the past year and attention from the EPA.

More Front Page Coverage