Originally published on Advocate.com January 09 2004 1:00 AM ET
The body of a man found Tuesday morning wrapped in a sheet in the back of a sport-utility vehicle parked at a Tampa, Fla., apartment complex could be that of 26-year-old Michael Wachholtz, a gay man reported missing on December 30. In a missing person bulletin, Tampa police said Wachholtz drove a similar 1992 vehicle with a dent on the rear bumper and a missing right front headlight frame, the St. Petersburg Times reports. Wachholtz's former housemates, Melissa and Steve Hartford, say they sold him an identical SUV last May or June. "I'm absolutely positive it's my car," Steve Hartford said. "Same stickers from West Side Skate Shop in the right rear window."
The Hillsborough County medical examiner's office said it did not expect to perform an autopsy until Thursday. Since the body is decomposed, investigators may have to analyze dental and other body records, manager of operations Dick Bailey told the Times. Meanwhile, some friends of Wachholtz are speculating that his disappearance is in some way linked to another missing gay man the same age, Jason Galehouse, last seen at a local gay bar in the early morning hours of December 20. Wachholtz was last seen leaving his Bay Club apartment in Rocky Point between 11 p.m. and midnight on December 20.