Body in car trunk may be missing man


NEW YORK -- The 2004 champagne-colored Nissan Maxima had several parking tickets on the windshield when it was towed from a street in Harlem, and a body in the truck - apparently the remains of a man reported missing in Baltimore County more than five months ago, authorities said yesterday.

Police in New York and Baltimore County were awaiting autopsy results, including an examination of dental records, to determine whether the body is that of 35-year-old Melvin Sharpless.

The last times anyone saw Sharpless were Nov. 9 as he was getting ready to leave for New York City and Nov. 10 on Harlem's 144th Street, authorities said.

Ten days later, a woman told Baltimore County police that Sharpless, her boyfriend, was missing and that no one had seen him for days.

Sharpless had said that he was leaving for New York City to visit family, police said.

New York police said the Maxima, which belonged to Sharpless, had been parked since November near the low-income St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem.

The car had several tickets on the windshield when it was towed Thursday to an impound lot in the Bronx.

City officers popped the trunk Monday and found the badly decomposed body of a man with at least one gunshot wound to the head.

It appears, New York police sources said, that the body had been in the trunk since late last year, and that cold weather prevented an odor from developing that might have alerted passers-by.

Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Touhey declined to comment on the case yesterday, saying he did not want to jeopardize the New York investigation.

County police also declined to provide details of the missing-person report made in November.

Rocco Parascandola writes for Newsday. Sun reporter Nick Shields contributed to this article.

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