The remains of young man were found inside a folding shopping cart in the Bronx Wednesday night, police said.
The unidentified remains were discovered by two men collecting cans around 9 p.m. on East 182nd Street in University Heights. The victim's head was sticking out of a cardboard box inside a trash bag in the shopping cart, police said.
One of the men who found the remains told News 4 Thursday he at first thought it was a cantaloupe inside the trash bag.
"I knocked on it with my two fingers and I told him, it has to be a cantaloupe," said Manuel Vega, recalling his conversation with his friend Terry Frazier as the two went through the trash bags in the shopping cart.
"He right away said, 'That is a body. That's a body,'" Vega recalled Frazier telling him. "I said it's not a body, it's a bunch of meat they threw away, and vegetables."
They started opening the plastic bags.
"When he ripped the last one open, we saw the black hair, and when we saw the black hair, that's when I started believing this is a body, he isn't going crazy," said Vega.
"It was a few bags, big plastic bags, and inside that, there were more bags," he said. "The head was in separate bags."
"He comes to me, 'The ear, the ear, I can see the ear!' And I'm like 'you're playing,' and I go to the bag and can see the ear myself," said Vega.
Frazier said, "I touched it, it felt mushy, like carpeting, wet carpet, and I left it alone."
Video shows how the cart got to that intersection of the Bronx: in one clip from Tuesday night, a man pushes the cart down Walton Avenue, leaves it by a pile of trash and walks away. A half-hour later, a woman, who's an apartment maintenance worker, struggles to move it and eventually pushes it onto East 182nd Street, where it ended up sitting by a tree for a day before Vega and his friend stumbled upon it.
Police say they're investigating the video and whether the people seen pushing the cart have any involvement in the death of the person in the cart.
Authorities said the victim appears to be in his late teens or early 20s.
The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how the person died and also try to identify him.
It's not clear if other body parts were in the shopping cart.