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Mon, March 30

Investigators find human remains inside burned vehicle
Ranchers spot vehicle July 14 off Welch Road west of Williams

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies and detectives are investigating the discovery of a vehicle that was totally burned in a remote and rural area of Coconino County.

On July 14, CCSO received the report of the burned vehicle located about five miles south of Interstate 40 off Welch Road Exit 151, which is 10 miles west of Williams. The reporting parties are ranchers who were herding livestock in the area at the time of the discovery. According to the ranchers they were in the area about two weeks before the discovery and did not previously notice the burned vehicle. This is a very remote part of Coconino County that is difficult to access due to the rough terrain and the condition of the road that provides access.

Upon further investigation deputies and detectives discovered the burned human remains of one individual. They are investigating the possibility that the remains may be the body of the registered owner of the vehicle; however due to the condition of the body positive identification has not yet been made. The registered owner of the vehicle was entered into the National Crime Information Center data system as an endangered/missing person by the Mesa Police Department on July 6. The person who reported him missing told Mesa Police Officers they believed he may be suicidal as he had made verbal suicide threats in the recent past.

CCSO detectives with the assistance of Flagstaff Fire Department arson investigators and Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office death investigators are continuing the investigation of this suspicious death.

The burned vehicle is believed to be a 2003 four door Dodge Dakota pickup truck, gray in color with a solid Toneau fiberglass truck bed cover. Anyone who has been in the Welch Road area south of Ash Fork within the past two weeks and may have seen the described vehicle is urged to call CCSO at (928) 774-4523 or toll free at 1-800-338-7888.

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