Karmeshia Thomas thought of herself as “young, black and gifted,” according to a self-written introduction on her Facebook profile.
She studied business at Alcorn State University in Louisiana, her profile said, before driving a truck for a living for KLLM Transport.
But now, Thomas’ family is looking for answers after her body was found locked inside a big rig in a truck stop parking lot, according to WLT-TV. Her mother says her truck was parked there for three days, the outlet reported.
“I just want to know what happened to my baby,” her mother, Joyce Thomas, told the station. “How could you let someone sit on your parking lot for three days and you noticed they haven’t come and paid?”
A woman’s body was found at Mardi Gras Truck Stop on Elysian Fields Avenue, near Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday, New Orleans Police spokesman Aaron Looney confirmed to McClatchy.
The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office told WREG that the body was that of Karmeshia Thomas and it had been there for more than a day.
Joyce Thomas’ reference to her daughter paying for the parking spot calls out a common practice at truck stops — if truckers want to stop and rest for a while, they can pay to do so for hours at a time in paid parking spots.
The body was found by the truck lot manager, Looney said. New Orleans Fire, and EMS officials, responded, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
“When I came out, we banged on the window,” the parking lot manager, who asked WREG not to be identified, told the station. “Didn’t get an answer, but we saw a lot of flies. I don’t have the answers that I would like to have for [Joyce Thomas], because I don’t know what happened to [Karmeshia].”
Joyce Thomas said that Karmeshia had been missing since Sunday, Sept. 9, according to WREG. Karmeshia placed a call from Mardi Gras’ phone, and told her mom that her phone had been stolen on Bourbon Street the night before, according to the station.
Karmeshia’s trucking company called and requested that the owner conduct a welfare check, after repeated attempts from Joyce Thomas and other family members to get in touch with Karmeshia, the station reported. They found Karmeshia’s body still inside.
The Orleans Parish has yet to make an official ruling on the cause and manner of her death, Looney said.
“I really, really think that someone did something to her,” Joyce Thomas, who traveled from the family’s home in Clarksville, Miss. to get answers in her daughter’s case, told WWL-TV. “I don’t know if she had been poisoned. I really don’t know.”
Truck stop workers told Joyce that Karmeshia “was covered in blood” when they found her.
She says she has not yet been allowed to see Karmeshia’s body, according to the news outlets.