Truck Driver, Arrest, Crime, Decapitating Woman

Truck Driver Accused Of Murdering And Decapitating Woman

Melody Gooch’s headless body was found close to a travel center in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Truck driver Anthony Harris, 60, was arrested on March 14 in the State of Washington on a charge of second-degree murder and burying a body without legal authority in connection with the death of 57-year-old Melody Gooch.

As People magazine reports, Gooch’s body was found with her head removed close to a travel center in Mitchell, South Dakota.

KELO reported that the body of Gooch was discovered by a person who saw her hand and foot late on March 11 and called 911.

As stated in the affidavit, the person “exited his truck to see how much further he needed to back up and how far away he was from the pile of pallets. He walked around the passenger side of his truck and trailer and noticed what appeared to be a gut pile lying in the middle of the parking lot. He assumed it was from an animal and thought it to be strange. As he got closer to the pallets, he noticed a human foot underneath the pallets and then a human hand. He then realized there was a deceased female underneath the pallets. He called 9-1-1 at this time.”

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, said, “We were able to, through additional work and police work and video and further efforts from officials in other states, make a determination and arrived at a point where we got search warrants.”

Court documents indicate that Gooch’s body was most likely tangled in the axle of an 18-wheeler or had been run over multiple times. Some of her body parts were missing, including her skull and part of her spine. They were later discovered in a nearby dumpster.

The court documents describe a moment when family members asked about Gooch, who had been traveling with Harris; he told them she had gone into a store for food and never returned. 

Gooch’s official cause of death has not yet been confirmed by an official autopsy report, but police discovered that her head had been “skinned,” and they discovered a bloodied shoe in a bag in the dumpster that also contained her severed head.

When Harris was arrested, according to the affidavit, he was still in the same semitruck the authorities had observed in a surveillance system video. Police used Harris’ work logs and cell phone records to place him near the areas where Gooch’s remains were discovered. They were also able to determine that the timing of his movements were consistent with the semitruck’s movements seen on surveillance video.

At present, it is not clear whether Harris has retained an attorney or entered a plea for the charges he faces. According to Find Law, the penalty for second-degree murder includes a $50,000 fine and up to life in prison.