Authorities can't identify gender of charred body

By Samantha Jordan – bio| email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – Authorities are trying to identify a badly burned body found inside a burned out pickup truck.

The truck was discovered on Cotton Road and Hwy 64 West in Smith County around 5 am on Monday.

Investigators say the body was so badly burned, they can't tell if it is a man or a woman.

Before dawn, a witness called authorities when he saw a glow coming from a wooded area.

Dixie firefighters put out the burning truck, and discovered the charred body inside.

"It was a very hot fire which makes it very difficult, anytime you have a fire and a body, it makes it hard in identification purposes so we're in the process of doing all that," said Lt. Tony Dana of the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say because of the tree line, it's difficult to see what lies beyond, so much so, the fact that someone was able to call the fire in, is a good thing.

"The vehicle was sitting in a location that's not close to the road, it was somewhat camouflaged by trees, so just someone driving by, you wouldn't have seen the vehicle sitting in the area that it was in," Dana explains.

Investigators know the person discovered in that burning truck is someone's missing family member. Figuring out who to contact, though, is the problem.

"We don't know who this individual is, so how do you contact a victim's family when you don't know who the victim is," stated Dana.

Lt. Dana says the body will be sent to Dallas for an autopsy.

Authorities say since the investigation is in the beginning stages, it could be weeks before the body is identified.

Investigators say because of the suspicious nature of this incident, they're treating this as a homicide until proven otherwise.

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