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Body Found at Seattle’s Mercer Street Encampment

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On Tuesday night, a dead body was found in a homeless encampment in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

By Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Police detectives arrived back at the Mercer Street scene to search from tent to tent for any new information related to the gruesome discovery.

Paris Alcantare, who lives in the Mercer Street encampment, says he “saw a foot hanging out” near the bushes on Tuesday and found a body “wrapped in a blanket and a tarp.”

Thinking it may have been someone he knew, Alcantare unwrapped the blanket and discovered the body of someone he didn’t recognize.

Authorities have identified the body as a 50–60-year-old woman, but have not released her name. Nor, so far, have they provided information regarding the circumstances surrounding her death, or how she ended up in the encampment.

Alcantare thinks the woman was brought to the encampment and left in the bushes by someone. “Somebody would bring a body here and lay it out in front,” he tells me.

The Mercer Street homeless encampment is located directly across the street from Google’s South Lake Union campus at a busy intersection near the highway’s on- and off-ramps. 

The encampment has been on Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) property for at least two years and has gone through several phases.

I visited the encampment last summer when it was full of tents. Now, it’s unclear how many people still live here.

When Alcantare points out the exact spot he found the body, he quickly adds that he doesn’t “want to talk about it anymore.”

But he did continue the conversation with police, hoping to help investigators figure out how this disturbing situation came about.