YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Investigators returned Thursday morning to a heavily-wooded area on Youngstown’s east side where a body was found Wednesday evening in a burning SUV.
Detectives and crime scene personnel got a closer look in the woods in the 3300 block of McGuffey Road in the Sharon Line area where the SUV was found about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday.
They examined ruts in the ground as well as areas of high grass that appeared to be pushed down by a set of tires.
The SUV was discovered after someone called 911 to report a brush fire. It was badly burned, so investigators could not determine the gender of the body that was found inside or read the SUV’s vehicle identification number, or VIN.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Brad Blackburn said the SUV will be examined more closely to see if other spots on it where the VIN is printed survived the fire well enough that the VIN can be raised.
There is a spot on the undercarriage of some vehicles where the VIN is printed. Detectives used that VIN in 2017 to identify a burned-out vehicle that had the body of a man inside, also in the Sharon Line. Detectives ultimately made an arrest in that case and the defendant is serving a lengthy prison sentence.
Blackburn said the SUV was set ablaze well off the road.
“I don’t think they [suspects] were too worried about being seen,” Blackburn said.
The Mahoning County Coroner’s Officer is working to identify the person found inside.
The death is being investigated as a homicide, which would give the city 16 homicides for the year. In 2019, Youngstown had 20 homicides. There were 11 homicides at this point of 2019.
Detectives this year have cleared or solved eight of the city’s 16 homicides.
This is also the second homicide on the Sharon Line this year. In April, the bodies of two men were found in the 3000 block of Nelson Avenue. One of the men was in the woods and another in the middle of the road.
Police have yet to make an arrest in that case.