The body of Jacob Morpeau was discovered inside an SUV on Nov. 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His vehicle's windshield had parking tickets from Nov. 12 through Nov. 15.
Carolyn White, who discovered the body sitting in the driver's seat, told the Sun Sentinel that she remembered thinking: "Oh my God, please tell me this man is not dead."
According to the Broward County Medical Examiner's office, Morpeau suffered from hypertensive cardiovascular disease and passed away due to natural causes.
However, the coroner could not say how long the 62-year-old man had been dead.
The Discovery Channel's Seeker.com notes there are signs that can determine if someone has been dead around 12 hours or more:
Forensic scientists find livor mortis somewhat useful in helping determine when a person died. By gently pressing on areas of the deceased's skin that show livor mortis, pathologists and examiners can try to estimate when a person died.
If the area turns pale and then becomes colored again, that means the blood has not fully congealed yet and the person may have passed within the last 12 hours or so. If the area remains the same darker color, it suggests the victim may have been dead for longer than 12 hours.
Officials in Fort Lauderdale would not comment on the incident, but an assistant clerk told the Sun Sentinel that the parking tickets were dismissed "due to extenuating circumstances."
Alain Danier, one of Morpeau's children, told the newspaper: "He was a good man. He raised all of us, and gave us everything we needed."
Two tickets on Morpeau's vehicle were written only six hours before White found his body, which she recalled, saying:
I was being nosy. I never let the meter man catch me. I never got a parking ticket and I wanted to know why somebody else got caught. And that's what made me look inside.
I can understand why the meter person probably didn't see him from the driver's side.
He was underneath the steering wheel, his head was in the middle of the seat, between the two seats. But you could see him on the passenger's side. That's how I seen him, from the sidewalk.
White screamed when she found the dead body. Kevin McGoey, a bail bondsman, said that his employees called 911:
It was sad. The guy was probably sitting there all weekend.
Maybe that's why they couldn't see him. Even if the guy had [come to court and then] gone to jail, he's got five tickets. Why not see if something was wrong? They've got to use a little discretion instead of just writing tickets.
"I'm so sorry for the family," White stated. "I wish I could have been there earlier."