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Decomposing body found behind Sterling Heights Meijer

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — A decomposing body found Wednesday morning in a wooded area behind Meijer may have belonged to a homeless man, according to police and a witness.

Landscaper Josh Lafayette, 23, said he found the body around 10:30 a.m. as he cut grass along a hill behind the store at Van Dyke and 16 Mile.

"On my first pass around, I smelled it," said Lafayette, who mows grass behind the Meijer once a week for Chad's Landscaping in Waterford Township. "I didn't know what it was so I ignored it. I came around a second time and stopped because it smelled really strong."

Lafayette of Commerce Township said he looked through trees and brush and noticed garbage gathered around a small clearing in the woods.

"I just went down there and saw him laying there," Lafayette said.

The body appeared to have been in the wooded area awhile, attracting insects to the scene, he said.

"It freaked me out," Lafayette said. "There were a couple fire trucks up front (of Meijer), and I told them and they told the cops."

Lafayette said police interviewing him indicated the deceased may have been a local homeless man.

Police on the scene early Wednesday afternoon confirmed the deceased was believed to be homeless. Police also said they did not believe any obvious signs of foul play were found.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier