Walker County, AL – A part-time Jasper police detective has been identified as one of two individuals found shot to death inside a vehicle beneath a bridge, the coroner said.
Walker County Coroner Joey Vick identified the victims as Monica Cooper, 42, and Jasper Police Detective John Softley, who is also a Parrish Town Council member, AL.com reported.
An off-duty firefighter noticed a pickup parked under an overpass on Interstate 22 near exit 78 on Saturday morning, so he stopped to check on the vehicle, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Lieutenant Jon Riley said.
He then discovered the victims’ bodies inside the truck, and called police.
“I do not believe they had been there very long,” Lt. Riley told WBRC. “My understanding is, they were found shortly after it occurred.”
Vick determined that both individuals had been shot, according to AL.com.
Dora police and Walker County deputies initially responded to the scene, as well as the Walker County District Attorney’s Office.
The State Bureau of Investigation is leading the ongoing investigation.
Det. Softley and Cooper knew each other, but the nature of their relationship was unclear, WBRC reported.
The events leading up to their deaths are unclear, and investigators have not ruled out the possibility of a murder-suicide or double homicide.
“Certainly, it’s very early in the investigation and to be able to put anything out such as that, we wouldn’t be able to,” Lt. Riley told WBRC. “It’s just so early in this investigation.”
Det. Softley retired from his position as an investigator in Walker County, then became a part-time deputy in Jasper County, AL.com reported.
He was sworn in as a town councilman in 2017.
"He's been very active as a council member,” Parrish Mayor Heather Hall told AL.com. “Once he took the seat, he took that position seriously…he was somebody that many of us at Town Hall leaned on.”
"It's a shock to all of us. It's heartbreaking. It's definitely been another hard blow for the Town of Parrish,” Hall said. "My heart is broken for everybody involved – for both families.”