Dead Man Found in Burning Lexus NR14201pv

May 27, 2014

Sylmar:  Fire fighters, responding to a car fire in Sylmar, discovered the body of man sitting in the front passenger seat.  Detectives are investigating the incident as a homicide and are asking the public’s help with information about the incident.

A blue 1993 Lexus was parked in a secluded dead-end section of Harding Street, near Foothill Boulevard, just beneath a pedestrian bridge, crossing the 210 Freeway.  The fire was reported to 9-1-1 at about 7:30 p.m., on May 24, 2014.  Fire fighters responded quickly and discovered the body while extinguishing the flames.

“It appeared the man had bled a great deal, and we think he may have been shot prior to the fire starting,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.  “It appears someone wanted to torch the car to destroy evidence.”

Detectives will rely on the coroner to determine the cause of death, and if the man was shot or injured in some other way.  The victim was a large Hispanic man in his mid to late 20s.

Detectives and Los Angeles Fire Department arson investigators combed over the car, looking for clues.  Canvasing officers found witnesses who reported seeing a person running across the pedestrian bridge just after the fire started.

Anyone with information is urged to call Det. Ryan Verna, Mission Homicide Unit, at 818-838-9976.  Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Online tips may be placed at, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.