Body in burned car remains unidentified

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Police and fire investigators are still piecing together the events that led to the death of a 51-year-old Romulus man who was found in a burned vehicle shortly after 3 a.m. Oct. 4.

Police Cmdr. Mary Sclabassi said Thursday that she had not yet received formal identification of the man. Fire investigators and detectives said that they believe they know his identity after speaking with his family.

Police were called to the 6000 block of Harold in response to reports of a car fire. Fire Marshal John Hagar said that the 1993 Ford Explorer was extensively burned, and at first responding crews were unaware that it was occupied.

“Nobody knew there was a person in the vehicle at that time,” Hager said. “When they went in to pull the contents out they discovered the body.”

Hager then contacted the medical examiner, who had yet to complete an autopsy and toxicology screening.

The man was in the front passenger seat — the back seat was filled with various belongings — and the man was covered in a blanket.

“The house he was outside of was his sister’s house,” Hager said. “He was going to stay there, so we assume he just slept in the car.”

Hager said there was no evidence of suspicious activity, and that it appeared to be an accident. The fire likely started in the engine compartment — the ignition key was turned to the on position — and that the vehicle had recently been serviced.

Police are expected to use dental records to confirm the identity of the deceased.