Three months after body found in Muncie wastewater plant, sister seeks answers

Teresa Dodd wants answers in her brother's May death. (Photo: WTHR)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) - "It's very hard. It's not easy," said Teresa Dodd.

Dodd said she hasn't been well in three months, since her baby brother's body was found in the Muncie Waste Water Treatment Plant.

"We need answers," she said. "It's not going to make it go away, but it'll make it somehow better just knowing what happened."

According to investigators, the body of Michael Coates, 41, was damaged so badly, they can't say for sure how he died.

Dodd says her brother was a recovering drug addict but had been clean and living at home with their mom at the time of his death.

"He was doing so good. He was spending a lot of time with his son, helping my mom," said Dodd.

According to Dodd, her mom was the last family member to see Michael, on a Sunday afternoon in May. She left to run errands and when she got back home, Michael wasn't there.

Workers at the plant found his body the next morning, next to a machine that separates large debris from wastewater entering the plant.

Investigators are trying to figure out how Coates even got into the plant. One of the ways, they say, would be through the sewer system, under a manhole cover. There's a ladder, then about a 20-foot drop into the sewer system. However, investigators don't think that Coates was strong enough to get down there or to pull back a manhole cover to close the opening.

"I feel that somebody put him there. I feel like somebody done something to him, and I feel that somebody dumped my brother," Dodd said.

Police say the only other answer is that someone put or Michael fell into one of the water pools inside the plant.

Michael Coates' death is under investigation by the Muncie Police Department. (Photo provided by Teresa Dodd)

His family says that's impossible. They toured the plant after Michael's body was found. He didn't work there and had no connection to the facility.

"There's no way you're going to get in there without being seen," said Dodd's husband, Dave.

Dodd believes someone knows the truth about what happened to her brother. She's begging that someone to come forward.

"It never goes away. It's always there," said Dodd.

If you have any information on this case, the Muncie Police Department or Central Indiana Crime Stoppers would like to hear from you.

The number is (317) 262-TIPS.

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