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Body found in burned car in Fresno County

Friday, December 09, 2011

A call to the CHP that came in as a car fire has turned into a murder mystery.

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Fresno County homicide investigators were working to identify the body of a man found inside a burned Mercedes Friday morning. Firefighters were called out to Fowler and Central just after 4 a.m.

Business owners in the area say cars are dumped and burned in this area often, but Friday morning, a body was in the car set on fire. The four door charred Mercedes did not have any license plates on it when it was towed away from a vineyard Friday morning.

Investigators say someone called 9-1-1 just after 4 a.m. to report a car in flames. It wasn't until the fire was out that Fresno County Firefighters found out this was more than a torched car.

"The fire was put out during which time in checking the vehicle it have it towed, they located what appears to be a body. At that point, they backed out and contacted the sheriff's office," said Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's office.

Prosecutors and investigators from the Fresno County District Attorney's office didn't say much as they came to see the area before it was processed for evidence.

Hours later, the row where the car burned still smelled like rubber, glass and other debris also littered the vineyard. Homicide detectives will not say what part of the car the body was found in or whether they believe the victim was dead before the car was set on fire.

Investigators say no one noticed any suspicious activity in that area before the car fire.

"No, we had no calls, we have been talking with people in the area, no one called anything in."

For several hours traffic was blocked on Fowler between American and Central while detectives collected clues.

The body has not been identified yet and an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday morning.

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malaga, del rey, fowler, fresno, fresno county, local, sontaya rose
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