WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Twisted and mangled, covered in mud and hardly recognizable as a vehicle at all. A 2006 Hummer truck buried for six years now sits in a Washington County impound lot. “A vehicle that was reported stolen and some insurance fraud being related, finding the vehicle buried underground, that’s a first for me,” said Capt. Blake Richardson chief investigator for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Acting on an anonymous tip, the investigation began earlier this year. Last Thursday, they started digging on a property in the Tibbie community and it wasn’t long before they uncovered what they believed was there all along. “It appeared the vehicle was four or five feet underground, totally covered up, and had been covered up since 2016,” said Richardson.
The owner of the vehicle at the time it went missing, according to the vehicle identification number, is Bruce Eugene Parnell. He has been out of town on business since the investigation became public last week and hasn’t spoken with investigators but they say it was Parnell who reported the vehicle stolen in 2016. “We do have a person of interest and warrants have been signed on that individual related to this incident,” said Richardson.
Investigators say Parnell was paid more than 22 thousand dollars after making an insurance claim on the Hummer. It was one of at least 16 claims he has made over the years. Investigators say they are now reviewing all of his insurance claims to make sure they are legitimate.