Workers discovered the body of Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, 25, while removing shelves and freezers from a former No Frills Supermarket in Iowa, US.
Council Bluffs Police Capt Todd Weddum said that his parents’ DNA was used to help confirm his identity after the body was recovered from the narrow gap in January.
Murillo-Moncada’s parents had reported their son, a No Frills supermarket employee, missing after he disappeared on November 28, 2009.
He had become upset and dashed from the family home.
Weddum told reporters that, at that time, Murillo-Moncada was acting irrationally, possibly due to medication he was taking.
The trail turned cold over the course of a decade when, despite checks with other law enforcement agencies, nearby detention centres and US immigration officials, there had been no sighting of him.
Sgt Brandon Danielson, of Council Bluffs Police, told Des Moines Register that at the time of his disappearance there was a “snowstorm” and he had run from home “with no shoes, no socks, no keys [and] no car”.
His decomposing body was found while workers were removing freezer units and shelves from the former supermarket, which closed in 2016.
Danielson said that Murillo-Moncada was working for the store at the time of his disappearance, but was not on the rota on the day he went missing.
No Frills management said it wasn’t unusual for staff to visit the supermarket when not scheduled to work.
Investigators believe that he entered the shop after fleeing home, climbed on top of the freezers and accidentally fell into the narrow gap, where he became trapped.
Danielson explained it was about a 12-ft drop.
And noise from the units would have covered any cries for help, he added.