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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Over and Over and Over

American Scofflaw

Police made a gruesome discovery earlier this week while getting ready to tow a heavily-ticketed van – a decomposed body in the back seat.

It was that of a missing man, and now his family wants to know to how officers could ticket the vehicle numerous times -- and never notice what was inside.

Jennifer Morales, who didn't want her face filmed by CBS 2 HD cameras, wondered how her father's body could go unnoticed for so long.

"I'm shocked. I'm surprised, um...," Morales said.

The daughter of 58-year-old George Morales wants everyone to remember her handyman father in a different way, not as a decomposed body found in a van under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on Wednesday. He'd been dead a month, in a van with four parking tickets.

"If you see an abandoned vehicle, you don't report it? You wait a month?" Jennifer Morales wondered.

Morales' daughter said her father left their apartment in Washington Heights on May 5 in a van owned by a friend. George Morales was headed for Long Island, but he just vanished.

His daughter suspects George Morales, who suffered from diabetes and heart problems, may have felt ill, and pulled off the road for a nap. A window was cracked. The odor became overpowering. After the car was ticketed each Monday for a month, a marshal, about to tow the van, noticed a body in the back seat.

"If you see a car has already three to four tickets and you just slabbing more, at least call 9-1-1 and say there's a car here that's not moving," Jennifer Morales said.

When he was found, his daughter said, he was not covered with a blanket or coat, but was in plain view of anyone who looked inside. She wondered: what if there was a person inside a car who was ill and needed help?

Jennifer Morales said it should be a lesson to all traffic agents and police officers: don't ticket without looking inside.

The NYC Medical Examiner's office has told the family it appears George Morales died of a heart attack. There was no word from police as to why tickets were repeatedly issued without taking a look inside.

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