Firefighters discovered the body of a man in the back seat of a burning car in Woodland Hills Sunday in what police described as an attempt to cover up evidence of a slaying.
The victim, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was described only as in his 50s. Police said he had been killed sometime before the car was set on fire but they would not say how the man died or speculate on why he was killed.
Residents in the 5000 block of Boda Place said they first saw the red Dodge Charger parked next to the curb Friday evening but paid little attention to it until it caught fire about 10:45 a.m. Sunday.
Detective Joe Diglio said the fire was intentionally set and the car’s gas tank cap was found inside the vehicle.
“It’s obvious that this was a homicide, and whoever set the car on fire was trying to cover up evidence in the case,” Diglio said.
Diglio said at least two residents saw a woman, possibly dressed in a jogging outfit, in the area shortly before the car was set on fire.
One resident, who did not want her name used, said she saw the woman walking toward the car just before it broke into flames, and then saw her run away from the scene after the fire began.
“She was walking on the other side of the street, but she wouldn’t look at me,” the woman said. “Then she came running back real fast, and the next thing I knew, the car was on fire.”
Residents were putting the blaze out with fire extinguishers and garden hoses when firefighters arrived, police said.