Missing Virginia man’s body found in trunk of car after Miami crash

MIAMI, Fla. – A single-car crash turns up a gruesome discovery for Florida Highway Patrol after an accident on the Palmetto Expressway on Sunday.

FHP arrived to the scene of a single-car crash on State Road 826 (Palmetto Expressway), south of Northwest 154th St., around 4:15 p.m., later discovering a dead body inside of the trunk.

Robert Avery Coltrain, 25, of Spotsylvania, Va., identified himself to troopers as the driver and the only person in the 2009 Silver Acura RL.

According to an arrest report, FHP said they smelled a “foul odor” coming from the car, which had Virginia tags and was registered to Coltrain.

The accident occurred during heavy rain and busy traffic conditions. With those conditions, along with the foul smell, FHP called Road Rangers to tow the car from the highway to the parking lot of Westland Mall in Hialeah.

Coltrain told patrol officers that he wanted to take some of his belongings from the vehicle and would make arrangements for transportation. While removing property from the car, Coltrain retrieved a gun case, telling troopers that the firearm belonged to him.

The officers, while still concerned about the smell coming from the car and then noting insects present near the rear of the car, popped open the trunk. There they found a body wrapped in a piece of fabric and in an “advanced stage of decomposition.”

After an investigation, FHP identified 25-year-old Brian Trotter as the victim. He had been reported missing by family members on Sunday, Oct. 18, in Prince William County, Va. Trotter was last seen alive on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. after a friend, identified as Coltrain, picked him up at his apartment in Virginia.

The missing person’s flyer from the Prince William County Police Department stated that Trotter had left his residence with a friend to travel to Washington, D.C., to “take photographs.” PWC said shortly after leaving Virginia, a post made on social media indicated that Trotter owed an individual a “large sum of money” and the author stated, “imma get mine.”

Brian Trotter was reported missing to Prince William County, Va., police. (WPLG)

After the vehicle was towed with the body inside to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s department, a preliminary examination revealed Trotter had multiple gunshot wounds in his torso.

A search of the car, following a warrant being obtained, came up with a casing found inside the Acura, which was consistent with ammunition in Coltrain’s firearm, according to investigators.

Additionally, investigators found a projectile inside, too, which they said suggested that Trotter was shot at least once in the vehicle.

Investigators have not yet said why Coltrain had driven to Miami-Dade County.

Coltrain faces charges of second degree and transporting human remains and is locked up at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He is expected to be in front of a judge Tuesday, but because of the nature of the charges, it is expected he will be held without bond.

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of Local10.com's DigiShorts.