Arizona state police confirmed on Monday that a recently discovered body was that of a missing Phoenix man, putting an end to desperate search efforts that first began on New Years Day.
The remains of 41-year-old Benjamin Anderson were found around 30 miles north of where his burned out vehicle was first spotted, following the man’s disappearance on New Year’s Eve.
The case remains shrouded in mystery, as just prior the police recovering his body, Mr Anderson’s Lexus was spotted being driven by three strangers. According to friends, his apartment was also found in disarray, sparking immediate concern for the Arizona-native’s welfare.
Longtime friend Daniel Stahoviak had been sprearheading efforts to try and find Mr Anderson, and he recently told The Daily Beast of the lengths he and others went to in their search for their friend.
Thus far, the most compelling piece of evidence that points to foul play was the discovery of three unidentified strangers driving Mr Anderson’s white Lexus UX outside a hotel.
However, inaction on the part of the police, after Mr Anderson vanished on the 31st of December, led Mr Stahoviak to launch a one man search of his own.
“We’re hoping he’s alive,” the 40-year-old told The Daily Beast on Monday, just before the police announced they had found his body. “We’re hoping so. I’m trying to put the pieces together in my mind, and the fears are increasing.”
Subsequently, following a back-and-forth with Lexus, the car company managed to track down Mr Anderson’s model, which was, for a time, in the parking lot of a hotel. However, by the time officers arrived on the scene, it was already gone, which prompted a group of Mr Anderson’s friends to take matters into their own hands.
In desperation, Mr Stahoviak said he and a carload of Anderson’s friends “decided to just go hotel to hotel, and in the parking garage at the Sheraton Crescent, there’s the car—with three people in it.”
The car, which was parked on the fourth level, took off, and Mr Stahoviak quickly gave chase. But when the car began driving the wrong way down one of the streets, things felt like they were getting too dangerous. So Mr Stahoviak backed off, and the assailants drove off into the night.
There were no new leads at that point, until the group came across the smouldering remains of the white Lexus, which was parked outside of UEI College.
“Those people in that car know something,” Mr Stahoviak claims. “The Sheraton has video footage of those people in that car, because we talked to a security guard at the Sheraton who said the police have it. Those people weren’t wearing masks, so who are they? “
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