Philadelphia police arrested a convicted sex offender after they discovered “deep-fried” body parts in a U-Haul in which he was the passenger. Taray Herring, 47, was arrested and charged with theft, trespassing, abuse of a corpse, and evidence tampering after the vehicle was searched as authorities hunted for 70-year-old Peter Gerold, a masseuse that had been reported missing in the city. Herring reportedly told police: “I don’t want anything to do with this, and there’s a body in the back.”
- Herring claimed he was paid to move the body, which is yet to be identified. Given the state of the remains, Philadelphia police have still yet to identify the victim, though many believe it’s the missing Gerold. “The vehicle pulled over, and as soon as the officers got out of the car, the driver of the U-Haul just came right out the door and said ‘I don’t want anything to do with this,’ and ‘there’s a body in the back,'” said Philadelphia Police spokesman Sgt Eric Gripp in a statement. He went on to say that Herring “came out with his hands up and said ‘I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me. I was paid to move a body.'”
- More body parts were found after authorities questioned Herring. In a nearby dumpster at a strip mall, officers uncovered black trash bags containing hands, feet, and cut up legs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Police spokeswoman Cpl Jasmine Reilly said that while the coroner’s office was still identifying the parts, they were consistent with the body of an adult male.
- The hands and feet had been deep-fried. In an even more bizarre twist, the body parts found in the dumpster were found to have been deep-fried in oil and it’s unclear why as no explanation has currently been offered.
- The disappearance of Gerold was particularly suspicious. While someone concerned for the elderly man’s welfare reported it to police, authorities did not barge into his home in Somerton when they paid a visit as they didn’t notice anything strange. His car was missing, but that was about it. However, a few days later, police were called again about a burglary in progress and upon returning, they saw the U-Haul driving away from the property, which they then pulled over and made the gruesome discovery. Police are said to have recovered 63 exotic animals from the property after executing a search warrant.
- Herring’s first appearance in court is scheduled for March 1. Hopefully further information about the case will become available during that time.