SAD: Man Died in Airport Parking Lot and No One Noticed for 8 Months

A Kansas City man apparently drove to the airport in January and that’s where he died. No one noticed for 8 months — the police just found him last week — even though his niece specifically guessed he might have gone to the airport, and they were assured the parking lot would be scoured.

[The man’s family] started checking parking lots. They gave Potter’s license plate number to parking authorities, who said security checked the parking lots regularly, according to Alderman.

The three relatives also went to the Airport Police Division office where, Alderman said, an official told her that airport police had Potter’s information. She said the official told her that security routinely checked the license plates on the vehicles — even if a vehicle had only a rear license plate and was backed into a space, as may have been the case with Potter’s truck.

Alderman said the official told her that if Potter’s vehicle was in the parking lots, it would be found.

Copyright: zhudifeng / 123RF Stock Photo

Police were alerted to a foul odor in Economy Lot B on Tuesday and that’s where they found the man. They suspect that cause of death is suicide.

The 53 year old, who was working as a manager for T-Mobile, left home on January 17th and was never seen again. After a week his family went to the airport looking for him.

Authorities there assured them “that if Potter’s vehicle was in one of their parking lots, security officers would find it.”

The airport, for its part, expresses condolences to the family — and throws the contractor which manages parking under the bus as it were.

“The City of Kansas City and its Aviation Department express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Randy Potter. We wish them peace during this difficult time. We are working with all parties to determine the facts involved, including SP Plus, which manages the 25,000 parking spaces at Kansas City International Airport.”

Our cell phone geolocation data is tracked. Traffic cameras are plugged into government databases. Internet traffic is monitored. Who’d have thought the one place we could have true privacy is in public view in an airport parking lot?

For sake of closure for the family it’s truly sad that the man wasn’t found sooner.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As average as I personally think the police are at the MCI airport (and I truly admire law enforcement) I’m surprised they don’t have a patrol car with a computer plate reader run through the lots on a weekly basis. What other vehicles are we going to find out there.

  2. I’m shocked here – it isn’t that the police drive around with a plate reader, it’s that all big lots do this to keep people from pulling a “lost my ticket” scam. I guess this means all you need to do is drive out of MCI, pay a single day “lost ticket” and that’s that? 15 years ago at LAX they walked around every night and entered every license plate by hand – and you’re telling me MCI doesn’t manager fraud that way? I’m floored. This isn’t a safety issue, it’s revenue.

  3. How did it take 8 months for him to smell bad enough to warrant attention? Do we set the bar for airport cleanliness that low?

  4. I park at MCI a lot. Luckily I don’t park in the B Lot but I ran the numbers on this and for the dates he entered until found it would be about $1,800 in parking fee’s depending on the time he entered, etc. If he had parked in the terminal garage it would have been over $5,000 for those 8 months. Morbid sure but I just had to know. Sorry.

  5. If the parking manager has so little concept of what vehicles are in the airport lots, this is both a serious safety and revenue issue. Horrible that this is how the family found out. Although, I admit if I were looking for a loved one, I’d never trust the airport cops to search the lots for me.

  6. Did no one ever park next to him? And then return and see him still there? Not to mention laziness of the parking manager company. The type of malaise toward others shown by this situation is depressing and would kill my optimism in those around me; I’m glad we’ve seen people doing good in the hurricanes’ wakes to buoy up my impressions of humanity.

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