Local News

Police Identify Scorched Car -- Body Remains To Be Idenitified

Posted December 5, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Detectives want to know who is responsible for a heinous crime that left one person dead. The problem is that the body and the car are both burned beyond recognition.

"There's no one that lives close to where they would hear even screams," said Maj. Danny Bellamy of the Wake County Sheriff's Department.

But Saturday morning, people who live near a wooded area just north of Zebulon did see the smoke billowing from a half mile away.

A 911 call came in as a brush fire. Firefighters fought the flames that scorched several acres of land, then at the end of a dirt road, they found the source of the fire, an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera torched. A body was found in the trunk.

"You can only assume that the car would have been set on fire to cover up the evidence," Bellamy said. "But from my experience in dealing with arsons, there's always some physical evidence that's not burned up."

The flames gutted the car and melted the tires, but Bellamy said his detectives did find the car's vehicle identification number, and traced it to a 24-year-old woman from Prince Georges County, Md., near Washington D.C., who had just been reported missing.

"She left work at about 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon and has not been see sinc not seen since," Bellamy said. "Her mother reported her missing somewhere around 10 p.m. Friday night."

Autopsy results from Chapel Hill should be in by Monday or Tuesday. Bellamy said an autopsy should reveal if the body found in the trunk is the missing woman.

Investigators hope other evidence will lead them to a killer, who was probably no stranger to the area, where a dirt road leads a half mile into the woods, with no houses in sight.

"It would lead you to believe that someone knew about this area down in there because of the way that it's sort of out from the middle of nowhere," Bellamy said.

Detectives say a dark-green car with four people inside it, was seen leaving the scene just after the fire started. Anyone with information about the car should contact the Wake County Sheriff's Department at856-6800.