Family: Body found in SW Detroit trunk was dad of 3

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A dead body was found in the trunk of a car at a vacant lot in southwest Detroit Wednesday.

A man checking out his rental property here on Ethel Street found a car that shouldn't be there, and made the gruesome discovery.

"He checked out the vehicle and found a body of a black male in the trunk of the vehicle,” said Cmdr. Whitney Walton, 4th Precinct.

Police will only say it's a homicide investigation but they are aware it could be a particular man who has been missing since March 30th in this area.

Family members believe it is Ashton Butler, a father of three who has lived in the neighborhood all his life.

"The car has been found and I'm almost positive that it's him," said Melanie Gurly Brown, Butler's girlfriend.

Valderis Tyson, Butler's uncle, spoke about what he was like.

"Man, silly guy, you would've loved him, just full of life," Tyson said.

"He talked a lot of (expletive), but he didn't hurt anybody," said Brown.

Butler was very popular.  Posters went up and crowds of people went door-to-door trying to find clues to his disappearance.

FOX 2:  "Who would've done this?"

"Somebody that wanted him gone, I don't know," said Brown.

Christeen Manns, Ashton Butler's cousin, said the neighborhood has changed for the worse.

"This used to be the prettiest neighborhood," she said. "And I've been here all my life."

FOX 2: "What about now?"

"Don't walk out here at night, it's bad," Manns said.

An autopsy will be done on the body as police work to make a formal identification.  And then the investigation starts to answer the question, who did this and why?

FOX 2: "What do you say to that person?"

"(Blank) you, and we going to get your (expletive)," said Melanie Gurly Hightower. "And that's a promise."