Missing Tempe man found dead on bus in Texas

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Steve Bodinet

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 30 at 5:59 PM

Map: Tempe man found dead in El Paso, Texas

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TEMPE, Ariz -- A missing man from Tempe was found dead in El Paso, Texas, one day after he left his family in Utah. However, Mark Mussack's family was not notified about his death until nearly a month later.

Now the frustrated family wants to know how that could happen.

Mussack, 41, was last heard from on New Year's Eve as he passed through Denver on a bus ride home from Vernal, Utah. He had driven a rental truck full of his estranged wife's belongings to her Utah home as he took his 9-year-old son back after a holiday visit.

Police say the death was not suspicious. Mussack died of a heart attack on an Autobuses Americanos bus, a Greyhound subsidiary. Police notified family members on Friday after contacting Mussack's employer in Chandler.

Mussack would have needed to get on a different bus in Denver and again in Albuquerque to make it to Tempe.

Mussack was not found dead until the Denver bus reached the end of its route in El Paso. El Paso Police Department officials said passengers notified the driver that Mussack had not been moving and appeared to be asleep. That was when the driver discovered that Mussack was dead.

Authorities had Mussack's cellphone, driver's license and bank records. They said their attempts to locate any relatives were unsuccessful.

Sgt. Vance Norton with the Vernal, Utah, police department told 3TV that that detectives in El Paso, Texas, searched for Mussack's name in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

The database search came back empty because it happened three days before Mussack's family reported him missing.

"How does this happen, 27 days, with modern technology you know they had a Facebook account going," Bryan LaFlam said. LaFlam owns the company where Mussack worked, Clean Room Plastics in Chandler.

LaFlam also said he's concerned that "there could be people missing that are in morgues or somewhere unidentified. I don't know if it's a lack of desire by officials or a flawed process," in these types of cases.

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