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Sebastian woman drove around with dead man's body for 10 days, sheriff's office says

Andrea Sanchez faces charge of abuse of dead body
Andrea Sanchez
Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:27:53-05

SEBASTIAN, Fla. — Detectives have arrested a woman in connection with this year's first homicide on the Treasure Coast.

While no murder charges have been filed yet, investigators said the victim's body was in the trunk of a car for more than a week.

A more than week-long search for a missing man, John Swanigan, came to an end in a driveway along Dickens Avenue Tuesday.

"Our detectives did a great job. We got a tip yesterday about a specific vehicle that was involved," said Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers.

Several witnesses said Andrea Sanchez, 37, and 60-year-old John Swanigan had been seen together recently.

Swanigan was later reported missing by his family Jan. 11.

Sanchez gave detectives consent to search a silver BMW driven by Sanchez where "they immediately smelled an odor," Flowers said.

Swanigan's body was found covered by a blanket inside the vehicle.

John Swanigan
John Swanigan

"To drive around with a body for 10 days. Not normal, something out of [NBC] Dateline. Something we don't see here in Indian River County," Flowers said.

"It's very sad. It's pathetic that people like that roam the streets," said neighbor Norma Carabia.

One of the questions detectives are investigating is how Swanigan ended up in the trunk of a car 18 miles from his home.

At the home where Swanigan lived with his mother, relatives are shocked and saddened.

"[He] didn't bother anybody, loved everybody. [He] smiled every day when you saw him, shared anything he had with you if he had anything to share," said Swanigan's aunt Sherman Shelly.

An autopsy was inconclusive, but there was no sign of trauma to the body.

"If it was an overdose, why didn't someone call us? Why weren't we notified?" Flowers asked.

Sanchez faces a charge of abuse of a dead human body. More charges are pending.