The decomposed body of a 17-year-old boy was found today in the parking lot of CVS Pharmacy on Double Churches Road, authorities said.
Police identified the teen as Steven Bradley Foster of Alabaster, Ala., a city just south of Birmingham that’s roughly two and a half hours from Columbus. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said there was no evidence of foul play, but the body was sent to Atlanta Friday for an autopsy.
Bryan couldn’t state how long the body had been inside the SUV. “It’s been a while,” he said.
A Columbus police report indicates the teen may have been dead up to four days. Police said the death occurred sometime between 3:04 p.m. Monday and 3:30 a.m. Friday.
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According to the report, officer Vernon Loosier was patrolling the area around 3:30 a.m. when he spotted a blue Ford Escape in the south corner of the parking lot at 1367 Double Churches Road. The officer first thought the SUV was unoccupied before he discovered the decomposed body.
Joe Foster, the teen’s father, said he had been contacted by police, and he’s 99 percent sure it’s his son.
“It’s suspected that it is my son,” Foster said. “He ran away about a week ago. We hadn’t heard from him in almost a week.”
The Ford Escape is Foster’s vehicle and that is the vehicle his son would have been driving. “I knew he was in it,” the father said of the vehicle. “I didn’t tell him to go to Georgia in it, but I knew he was in it.”
The father said Steven met some male friends in Columbus over the Internet. “I didn’t consider them friends,” he added.
Steven had no medical problems, but his father described him as a troubled teen. He believes his son crawled in the back of the SUV to go to sleep.
The death remains under investigation by the Columbus Police Department and the coroner’s office, Bryan said.