Fatal Vehicle Fire

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department investigates a homicide after a body is discovered inside a burned car.

Police say the charred remains of a man were found early Thursday morning on the county's northwest side. Police say passersby reported an SUV on fire in a cornfield at the intersection of Owen Center and Favor road. When the fire was extinguished, police discovered a body in the cargo compartment of the jeep.

Investigators scoured the scene for nearly 11 hours searching for clues and bagging evidence. Police call it a homicide investigation and say the scene is suspicious.

"This incident last night appears to be a homicide. The dumping of the body in this particular area and the torching of the car to cover up the homicide,” says Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyers.

Police say the victim did not own the vehicle but the SUV was not reported stolen. The body was so badly burned dental records are necessary to identify the man.

Investigators are not sure what caused the fire that completely destroyed the car, but say there is still plenty of evidence at the scene

"It closes a door but it may open another. It's just one of those things that you deal with when you handle a homicide, you deal with the facts your dealt and try to extract from that all the evidence that you can,” adds Meyers.

The autopsy is taking place and at 7 p.m. Thursday night a forensic odontologist will examine dental samples to try and ID the victim.

Police have tracked down the owner of the vehicle and this person will likely help in determining the identity of the victim, but that probably won't happen until Friday.


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