Philadelphia firefighters find dead body in burned car

Tim Jimenez
February 20, 2020 - 7:20 am
Police say this car was set on fire overnight on Fishers Lane, not far from Broad Street in the Logan section of Philadelphia.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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UPDATED: 11:20 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Firefighters put out a car fire and made a grisly discovery early Thursday morning in the Logan section of Philadelphia: A dead body was in the passenger seat. Police are now trying to piece together who it is, what happened, and who may have been involved.

Police say a 2007 Mercedes Benz station wagon was set on fire around 2 a.m. while it was parked at 15th Street and Fishers Lane, which is close to Logan Station on the Broad Street Line.

Mariana Martinez, like many others in the neighborhood, was startled and woke up.

"Two explosions. Came out and car was on fire," she said.

It took firefighters 10 minutes to put the flames out. Then, Chief Inspector Scott Small says, they found a corpse in an unusual position in the passenger seat — head on the floor, feet in the air.

Small said earlier Thursday morning that the body was so badly burned, it was beyond recognition. "Some parts of the body, all you can see is bones," he said. Police are uncertain whether the person was male of female.

Police believe the unidentified person was killed before the car was set ablaze. The medical examiner is looking into the cause of death.

"We don’t know if that body suffered any type of blunt force trauma, gunshots or stab wounds prior to being burned," Small said.

The license plate was still visible, and police say the car is registered to an address in the city, but not near where it was found. Neighbors say they had never seen the car before.

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CORRECTION: After police reported that the body was that of a man, they have advised that they are uncertain of the gender.