A man's body was found in the trunk of a burning car Monday night in an alley in Arleta and detectives are asking for the public's help in finding out what happened.
The man, who was not immediately identified but is believed to be between 25 and 35 years old, was found in the truck of the burning Audi A4 at about 10:30 p.m.
"The fire fully engulfed the passenger compartment, but never made it to the trunk," Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said in a statement. "It appears the man was already dead when the fire was set. It looks like the killer was trying to cover his tracks."
The man's cause of death "was not readily apparent," Vernon added, although there were "signs of gang or narcotics influence."
Firefighters responded to the blaze after it was reported around 10:20 p.m. as a dumpster fire in an alley named Garber Street off Vena Avenue and Terra Bella Street. Firefighters found the man's body after they extinguished the flames.
Arson investigators were also on scene as police canvassed the neighborhood.
The killing marks the first of the year for Arleta and the fourth in the last 12 months, according to the L.A. Times' Homicide Report.
Over that 12-month span, Arleta ranked as the 48th most deadly neighborhood of L.A. County's 270 neighborhoods, according to an L.A. Times analysis of homicide data for that period.
Anyone with information about the crime can call (818) 486-6890 or Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.