A 9-1-1 call alerted police to a vehicle fire on County Road 5 in Ozark on February 17, 2016. They arrived at the scene around 9 a.m., and what they found inside is raising alarm.
“It’s very scary, and you wonder if there has got to be some foul play involved,” said Beverly Carnahan, who lives down the road from the scene.
Authorities discovered the charred remains of a man inside an on old van. “I got there about 9:45, and ended up having to turn around and take an alternate route.
“They would not let you pass through, and it was late that afternoon before they cleared it up and you were able to pass through,” said Carnahan.
Multiple agencies were working to determine the cause of the fire, and now a positive identification and cause of death.
“We really don’t have everything in, and we preliminarily think that the fire could have started from him working on the vehicle,” said Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker.
While he said there is nothing suspicious just yet, he said the case is unusual.
“It’s very rare to come across a case like that. It still could go two different ways: it could be foul play involved, and on the other side of that, it could be some sort of accidental situation,” he said.
“My heart goes out to the family involved. It just worries me, in a rural area to have something happen, you just never know,” said Carnahan.
Authorities were working to make a positive identification, and the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact law enforcement.
Dale County Coroner Woody Hilboldt as of 6 p.m. on February 18 said they have now identified the man. More information is expected to be released on February 19, after family members have been notified.