Friday, September 17, 2004

Body found in burned truck

Identity has not yet been confirmed

Express Staff Writer

Police are still working on confirming the identity of a body found in a burned pickup truck early Tuesday in Carey. The truck was stuck in a burrow pit on the road to the Little Wood Reservoir.

Blaine County Coroner Russ Mikel said he and the police are still waiting to hear whether or not dental records of a missing person from the home near where the truck burned match those of the victim. Autopsy results were expected Friday.

?Everything burned beyond recognition,? said Sheriff Walt Femling. ?We think we know who the person is, but we need to confirm it.?

Mikel added that the possibility that the victim is someone else must be ruled out.

?We need a little more time to verify who it is,? Mikel said. ?We need to rule out that it couldn?t possibly be any other person.?

Femling said a neighbor saw flames at about 4 a.m. Tuesday and tried to call 911, but the truck fire had melted telephone lines. The neighbor drove to another phone and dispatch took the emergency call at 4:30 a.m., he said.

By the time Carey Fire and Quick Response volunteers and Blaine County deputies showed up the fire was almost out, Femling said. The body has been sent to Boise for an autopsy and the pickup truck has been stored for the ongoing investigation. Police said they are not sure exactly what happened yet, but Femling said the trucks tires dug down into the burrow pit indicating that someone had tried to get the vehicle unstuck. He added that the fire may have been started by the catalytic converter on the vehicle.

?We spent all day out there on the investigation,? Femling said. ?We sifted the ashes looking for clues. State police investigators helped and assisted. At this point we don?t believe foul play is involved.?

The burn victim was found in the passenger seat, Femling said. ?You can?t tell if it?s a male or female or anything. It?s a difficult scene.?

Femling said the vehicle may belong to a local construction company, but police are still trying to confirm the vehicle identification number on the destroyed pickup.

Femling said there was a construction job box in the payload of the vehicle, but all that remained of it are pools of aluminum running down the road.

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