Body Found in Burned Vehicle Firefighters discover body while extinguishing vehicle fire

September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010

The Los Angeles County Coroner has identified the victim found in the burning car as 50-year-old Russell Rathert of Van Nuys, California. The cause of death will continue to be listed as Undetermined until the Coroner’s Office receives the final toxicology report.  During the initial autopsy examination, no injuries were found on Mr. Russell and evidence indicated he was deceased prior to the fire. This case is NOT being handled as a criminal homicide at this time pending the results of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office determination as to a cause of death.

If you have further questions, please contact North Hollywood Homicide Detectives at 818-623-4075.

Studio City: At about 3:07 a.m. this morning, Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded to a call of a vehicle fire on Radford Street under the 101 Freeway overpass.  Firefighters arrived and found a vehicle fully engulfed in flames.  After extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered human remains in the rear of the vehicle.  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was notified and responding officers determined that the death was of a suspicious nature.

The LAPD’s North Hollywood Division detectives are handling the homicide investigation.  No determination has been made as to the identity of the decedent at this time.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Los Angeles Police Department North Hollywood Homicide Detectives at 818-623-4075.   During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.