1 of 7
Carlos Osorio, Associated Press
In a July 31, 2012 photo, a trashed strewn street is seen in east Detroit. Abandoned lots, alleys and neglected parks in Detroit used to be a favorite destination for discarded tires and trash. But over the past few months they have become dumping grounds for the dead. At least seven bodies have been found in some of the most desolated haunts in a half-empty city.

DETROIT — Abandoned and neglected parts of Detroit are quickly becoming dumping grounds for the bodies of murder victims. And authorities acknowledge there's little they can do.

At least a dozen bodies have turned up in 12 months, many of them purposely hidden or discarded in alleys, fields and vacant houses or garages. Seven of the dead are believed to have been slain outside Detroit and then dumped within the city.

It's a pattern made possible by more than four decades of urban decay and suburban flight. Many parts of the city are now a vast urban wilderness that is rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

Officer John Garner says a slaying may go unsolved because of the time it takes for the corpse to be found.