The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said Jacob Morpeau had died from natural causes and had been ill with hypertensive cardiovascular disease

Share story

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — City parking officers slapped tickets on an SUV parked for four days three blocks from the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. When Carolyn White noticed the pile of citations, she wondered what was going on. She stepped closer to the car to peek inside.

“Oh my God, please tell me this man is not dead,” White thought.

Inside the Isuzu Axiom was the body of Jacob Morpeau, 62, of Miami. He was sitting in the driver’s seat, and his upper body was facedown over the SUV’s center console. His hand held a credit card, White said.

The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said Morpeau, who owned the SUV, had died from natural causes and had been ill with hypertensive cardiovascular disease. What’s not known is how long his body had been inside the Isuzu.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

The medical examiner could not pinpoint the date of death.

The SUV was issued tickets from Nov. 12 through Nov. 15, the day Morpeau’s body was found. Whether he was inside the Isuzu when the tickets were put on the windshield was not known.

Fort Lauderdale officials declined to comment. An email from the assistant clerk said the city dismissed the $160 in parking fees, “due to extenuating circumstances.”

Morpeau’s family had not heard from him for a few days before his body was discovered, according to a Fort Lauderdale police report.

Morpeau’s son Alain Danier, one of six adult children, said his father immigrated to the United States from Haiti and had been the owner of a car-sales lot in Miami. He was retired.

“He was a good man,” Danier, 34, of Sunrise, said of his father, who was cremated. “He raised all of us, and gave us everything we needed.”

Morpeau last spoke with friends about 8 p.m. Nov. 11, the son said. He said he wondered whether parking officers ever spoke with his father.

Two of the tickets were written within three minutes, and just six hours before White noticed Morpeau’s body inside the SUV. The same parking officer cited the Isuzu for two expired meters, perhaps because the SUV’s front end was in part of the next parking space.

White said about seeing the tickets and looking into the car, “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.”

She said she saw a walker in the back seat of the Isuzu and was curious about why someone who needed it would leave it behind. And, she said, she wonders why a parking officer didn’t see what she saw.

“I can understand why the meter person probably didn’t see him from the driver’s side,” said White, who had been parked nearby, waiting for a friend who had business at the courthouse.

“He was underneath the steering wheel, his head was in the middle of the seat, between the two seats,” White said. “But you could see him on the passenger’s side. That’s how I seen him, from the sidewalk.”

After White’s discovery, she said her screams drew Kevin McGoey, owner of Kevin’s Bail Bonds, from his business’ nearby green cottage. His staff called 911, he said.

“It was sad,” McGoey said. “The guy was probably sitting there all weekend.”

The Isuzu had tinted windows.

“Maybe that’s why they couldn’t see him,” McGoey said. “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.”

Citations were issued to the Isuzu at 7:39 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and again at 9:30 p.m. There weren’t any tickets issued Sunday.

On Monday the 14th, a parking officer wrote a ticket at 7:03 a.m. Then on Nov. 15th, the Isuzu was written up at 6:39 a.m. for one meter, and again at 6:42 a.m. at the meter just next to the spot the SUV was parked in.

White came along around 12:25 p.m.

“I’m so sorry for the family,” said White.