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Calhoun County officials investigate body discovered in burned car

By Elena Watts
Dec. 25, 2013 at 6:25 a.m.
Updated Dec. 26, 2013 at 6:26 a.m.

A burnt patch of ground was left near the intersection of Farm Road 1090 and School Road in Port Lavaca after a deceased man was discovered burned beyond recognition in the backseat of a burning car sometime in the early hours of Christmas morning.

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Calhoun County officials are working to identify a body that was discovered early Wednesday morning inside a burning Honda.

The vehicle had caught fire in a field near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1090 and School Road.

The Port Lavaca Fire Department extinguished the blaze and found the charred remains in the backseat on the driver's side, said Calhoun County Sheriff George Aleman.

The vehicle did not appear to have any structural damage other than that caused by the fire, he said.

Aleman said he was called to the scene about 5 a.m. Christmas morning.

"The intense heat will prolong the identification of the body," he said.

The remains were sent to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office. Preliminary results are expected in a couple of days.

Aleman said he would not release the name of the owner of the car without positive identification of the body.

"We're not sure if he died from the fire or before the fire," Aleman said. "But the autopsy will show that."

Officers contacted relatives of the registered owner of the vehicle. They told authorities that the owner was the only person who drove the car and that they had not seen him since 1 a.m. Christmas morning.

Aleman said the owner of the car also made a phone call to his father in another country about 3 a.m.

Through an interpreter, officers learned from the father that his son, the vehicle owner, was depressed and upset. Aleman did not elaborate.

The investigation is being handled as a homicide, he said, until the evidence proves otherwise.

A passer-by reported the car fire, and officers are attempting to contact that person, Aleman said.

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