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Kids discover body while playing in Syracuse backyard, police say

Police tape hangs at the scene of a crime in this March 15, 2021, photo.

Police tape hangs at the scene of a crime in this March 15, 2021, photo. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SYRACUSE — A Syracuse family recently made a gruesome discovery in their backyard.

While playing ball, some children found the body of a deceased man under their deck on May 29, said Syracuse police officer Erin Behm.

Based on the description of the man and what he was wearing, detectives quickly determined it was the same man who had run from police five days earlier while officers were investigating a shoplifting case.

About 5 p.m. on May 24, Syracuse police were called to investigate a shoplifting case at Walmart, 2228 W. 1700 South. Two men ran from police and hopped a fence that led into an adjacent neighborhood, Behm said.

Officers searched the area but could not find either man. Five days later, children playing in a nearby yard found the deceased man.

Now police believe 28-year-old Levi Anderson, after running from the Walmart, went under a resident's deck to hide and then passed away while hiding.

Behm said Anderson was "well hidden" and not in a place that would have been immediately obvious to the family. She described the family as being "shook up" over the discovery.

Investigators were still waiting for a final autopsy report, including toxicology tests, on Friday to determine how Anderson died. Behm said there were no obvious signs of trauma or anything that would indicate how he died.

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