Detectives are investigating the Tuesday morning discovery of a body inside the trunk of a burned vehicle on a levee near Gardere Lane, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
The vehicle and the body were first discovered by Pontchartrain Levee District Police at 10:20 a.m. while officers were patrolling the levee a quarter-mile south of Gardere Lane, Gautreaux said in a news conference at the scene Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office was called out and detectives canvassed the area and were able to determine the vehicle has been parked behind the levee sometime after 4 p.m. Saturday.
Gautreaux said 4 p.m. Saturday is the last time the Levee District police patrolled the levee.
Detectives believe the car was intentionally set on fire, Gautreaux said.
The sex, age, race and cause of death of the victim was not determined because the body was burned beyond recognition, Gautreaux said.
The car was also burned beyond being identifiable, but investigators believe it may be a Buick.
“I’ve seen a lot of burnt vehicles. That one’s one of the worst,” Gautreaux said.
The director of LSU FACES Laboratory, Mary Manheim, is assisting the investigation, along with State Police Crime Lab investigators, Gautreaux said.
State Police brought a dog on scene that can detect different flammable substances, Gautreaux said.
“Whoever did this used a tremendous amount of accelerant,” the sheriff said.
Gautreaux said he expected investigators to remain at the scene for several hours Tuesday.
“It’s going to take some lab work to determine (the cause of death),” Gautreaux said.
Detectives are looking at “all possibilities” as to the motive for the homicide, Gautreaux said.
Detectives spoke to a family that lives across the street from the homicide scene, but they said they didn’t see anything, Gautreaux said.
Investigators also plan to speak to construction workers involved in a project nearby to determine if they saw any suspicious activity or can narrow the time frame of the homicide, Gautreaux said.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000 or call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP.