A Black woman was missing for 12 days before she was found dead in a prisoner-transport van parked in Huntsville, Alabama, The Washington Post reported.
Surveillance footage released by the Huntsville Police Department on Friday showed Christina Nance,29, going into the van parked outside police headquarters and moving around on September 25.
Nance was reported missing on October 2, police said. Her body was discovered on October 7.
WHNT reported that an officer walking past the van, which is old and not being used, noticed Nance’s body. Nance’s family, now being represented by attorney Ben Crump, told WTNH that they’re looking for answers.
“We will get to the truth of what happened to Christina Nance,” Crump said in a tweet. “We lift up Christina’s family with prayer as they mourn this devastating loss.”
An initial assessment by the coroner’s office showed no signs of trauma or foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for this week, WHNT reported.
In the Friday press conference, Huntsville Deputy Police Chief DeWayne McCarver said surveillance footage showed someone believed to be Nance wandering around the parking lot outside police headquarters on September 25. The person then enters the van, and footage shows movement in the van until September 28.
However, police said that Nance’s family said they saw her on September 27.
Nance’s family told the local outlet WAFF that the video was not clear enough to show that the person getting into the van was Nance and said they still don’t have answers.
“The dates was off, the times was off on the video. It was unsettling to know that we came down here for video footage for confirmation and we felt as if we didn’t get that,” Nance’s sister Whitney Nance said.
WAFF reported that the police van in question was used to transport inmates so that people could get in, but they can’t get out.
In his press conference, McCarver said, Nance should not have been able to get into the van.
“It is an accountability issue on our part,” the deputy chief said. “That should not have happened. And now we have to look at that, and we have to make sure that we have things in place so that does not happen again.”
McCarver added that police are going in and out of the area at all times every day but they never heard Nance call out for help.
“Cars go by, people walk nearby the van,” McCarver said. “We just wish that she would have hollered out to someone or something because unfortunately there were what we see as potential opportunities for this to not be a tragedy.”
Her family told WTNH that she was sweet, quiet, and “never bothered anybody.”
In a statement, Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels has called for an independent autopsy.
“We need to fully understand what happened to Ms. Nance so that we may prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future,” Daniels said.