A man searching for scrap metal found a body in an abandoned Longview metal foundry Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The body was discovered in a 20-foot-deep concrete pit, Longview police Capt. Robert Huhta said. It had been there at least a week, probably longer, he said.
Detectives were just beginning their investigation around 5 p.m., Huhta said, and little was known about the body, including the cause of death.
“I don’t know if we have a homicide or not. It’s definitely suspicious in nature,” Huhta said.
He declined to disclose the deceased person’s gender, saying that as of 5 p.m. investigators still were waiting to get a search warrant so they could re-enter the building and examine the body more closely.
The deceased person’s age also was unknown, Huhta said.
The body was found in a long-closed and decrepit foundry at 1345 Beech St. It is owned by Frank Amadon, who inherited the structure.
Huhta said a man who broke into the building to take scrap metal discovered the body and called police just before 3:30 p.m. Investigators found the body, then backed away and asked a judge for a search warrant, Huhta said.
By 5 p.m., police had cordoned off a large area with yellow tape and called in the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office. With darkness falling, Huhta said authorities planned to leave the body where it was found overnight and station officers to guard it, then resume the investigation in the morning.
He declined to say whether the body was covered with debris, dirt or anything else.
The hulking, metal building is tucked into a grove of trees at the end of Beech Street, in the middle of an area known for drug use, homelessness and, occasionally, prostitution. The structure’s walls are listing on at least one side, and a portion of its roof collapsed so long ago that a large tree now grows inside the structure and pokes high above its walls. Part of the building’s interior is overgrown with brambles.
The building has become a haven for metal thieves who need only to peel back its metal skin and crawl inside. In 2006, Amadon, who has in the past lived in an apartment inside the building, shot a man who broke in. The intruder survived. Amadon wasn’t charged with a crime.
In January 2012, police arrested four men after Amadon, who is in his late 60s, called 911, saying he was holed up in his apartment with a gun and could hear people moving throughout the building.
Huhta said Tuesday that authorities don’t believe Amadon lives in the building anymore.
Amadon couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the address of the abandoned industrial building where the body was found.
Editor's note: The abandoned foundry is the large brown building shown in the map below.