OKLAHOMA CITY – Police have made an arrest after two homeless men found a body behind a Southwest Oklahoma City strip mall early Monday morning.
Police took 60-year-old Douglas Phillips into custody.
Authorities said the men found the body behind a dumpster on the 5700 block of S. Penn. Ave. and called police just after 4 a.m.
While there are no obvious signs of foul play, police said the death has raised some red flags.
“Enough that they needed to call a homicide unit to investigate,” Lieutenant Don Holland said. “There is enough there that we need to thoroughly investigate this and make sure that there is no foul play.”
Police said the body did not appear to have been dumped there recently; it may have been there overnight.
“Our officers immediately began gathering witnesses or people who might have information,” OKC Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.
Glen Hagerman comes to a doughnut shop in the strip mall every morning for food and company.
“I just come here in the morning and visit with the men,” he said. “Then off to work.”
The sight of police cars and crime tape around his favorite morning hangout is different from other mornings but he said it’s not something that surprises him.
“All these apartments and stuff over here, there’s no telling,” he said.
A woman who claimed to be the deceased man’s sister later showed up at the scene.
A few hours after that, police took Phillips into custody.
“Based off our investigators, evidence that they gathered at the scene, and also witness accounts,” Wardlow said. “He was booked into jail on one count of first degree murder.”
The shops in the strip mall are now back open, the police cars gone, the crime tape torn down.
While many of the customers are upset about what happened, they said it won’t affect their daily routines.
“It’s not going to bother me a bit,” Hagerman said.
Police have questioned the homeless men who found the body and have released them.
Police said they won’t know anything for certain about the cause of death until medical examiners finish the autopsy.