Police in Southern California are investigating the suspected slaying of three unidentified men found in a burning sport utility vehicle parked in the driveway of a house in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said on Tuesday.
A resident at the home in the city of Orange, about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Los Angeles, called emergency officials on Monday to report the flaming vehicle, said Orange police spokesman Lieutenant Fred Lopez.
The large SUV is not owned by anyone at the house, Lopez said, and after firefighters extinguished the blaze the three bodies were found to be so badly burned that their genders were not immediately identifiable.
The Orange County coroner’s office later said in a statement on its website that the deceased were all males, but gave no other information.
The unidentified bodies appear to be of three adults, Lopez said, but an autopsy has yet to be conducted to determine whether they died in the fire or before the blaze.
Police are investigating the case as a suspected homicide, he said, and investigators searched the neighborhood on Monday for anyone who might have left the car in the driveway. They have also talked to residents as they seek more information.
“In these things, people don’t leave a note telling you what happened, so you have to work backward,” Lopez said.
Albert Riley, a driver for the ride-hailing service Uber, told the Orange County Register newspaper he saw a woman waving her arms and that he rushed over and tried to put out the flames with a garden hose before firefighters arrived.
“There was no one in the driver’s seat,” he told the paper.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Wallis)