Urban explorers find dead body inside Packard Plant in Detroit

Photographers exploring the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit made a disturbing discovery on Christmas eve – a dead body.

The explorers were trekking across the dark, cavernous factory at 7:05 p.m. when they came across the frozen body of a young black man who appears to have been murdered.

Packard_1766Investigators found visible trauma to the neck, suggesting 21-years-old Marko Davis may have been strangled, Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody told us Wednesday.

The Wayne County coroner is expected to soon determine the cause of death.

Police are investigating another murder near the Packard Plant, which was sold this month to a Peruvian investor for $405,000. The body of Wayne State Law School student Tiane Brown was found in a vacant law near the sprawling ruins in October.

The Packard, which started becoming vacant in the 1950s, has risen in popularity in the wake of the city’s well-publicized bankruptcy. The city’s iconic ruins have been magnets for adventurers, historians and photographers from around the globe.

In the past year, explorers have been brutally attacked and robbed; some were carjacked.

For years, the Packard also has been a haven for scrappers, who are tearing apart the buildings with little to no interference from the overstretched police department. Sparks from their scrapping equipment often cause fires.

All of this could change under the new ownership of Fernando Palazuelo, who bought the historic plant in a tax- foreclosure sale this autumn. He plans to create a virtual community for auto suppliers, offices, retail shops and lofts.

One of his enormous initial challenges will be keeping out thieves and explorers who pose a huge liability risk.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.