MARGATE (CBSMiami) – A Hollywood cold case is reignited after a distributing discovery that has just come to light.
In mid-March, the body of Heather Anne Lacey, a mother of two, was found in an old upright freezer that was being dismantled at a small scrap business off US-441 in Margate.
Investigators are trying to figure out how Lacey died and her body ended up in the freezer.
Scrap business owner Lilian Argueta, who made the discovery, is still haunted by what she saw.
“I thought it was a mummy” she said.
Heather Lacey vanished in the fall of 2013. She had been living in the Hollywood and Hallandale Beach area off Federal Highway, according to her family.
“She was 23 months older than me. We were close. She was naturally smart,” remembers her sister, Amber Lacey. “She could take any test and did well on the SAT’s.”
Amber says her sister attended college but left when she became pregnant.
Then she says a botched C-section left Heather hospitalized for two months. Afterwards, prescribed pain pills led to a drug addiction and a downward spiral that included prostitution.
Amber says she and her father used to search the streets of Hollywood and Hallandale Beach trying to find Heather.
She says Hollywood police did little to search for Heather because of her past.
“It’s been a rough six years for my family,” explained Amber. “People in the area told us somebody put a bag over her head but we weren’t getting a lot of information.”
The freezer with Heather’s remains had been in an apartment on Polk Street in Hollywood.
Jonathan Escarzaga rented the apartment, but strangely he was found deceased in February.
Neighbor Tom Burke says Escarzaga was quiet, and his body wasn’t found for days after he died.
“That was a smell you never forget. When they crowbarred the door open, flies came out. I opened the front French doors of the building for air and ran back to my apartment,” said Burke.
Police are still trying to unravel the mystery Of how Heather died and ended up in Escarzaga’s freezer.
The medical examiner is awaiting a toxicology report.
Amber Lacey says she can’t rest until she knows what happened to Heather.
“I feel peace knowing we have her home now, but I won’t be fully at peace until we get justice for her. She deserves that,” said Amber.