ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — Homicide detectives were searching Tuesday for the driver of an SUV that was found burning with three bodies inside in a Southern California neighborhood.
The charred bodies of three male victims were discovered Monday afternoon after firefighters doused the blaze on the driveway and sidewalk outside a home in the city of Orange, police Lt. Fred Lopez said.
Investigators were looking into witnesses’ reports that a man ran from the scene, he said. Investigators searched several nearby yards, but no arrests have been made.
The victims did not live at the house where the black GMC Yukon slowly went over a curb out front and came to a rest, he said. One was sitting in the front passenger seat, while the two others were in the back, police said. The driver’s seat was empty.
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Authorities were trying to determine if the victims were dead before the fire started or if they died in the flames. There were no reports of a traffic accident before the fire, officials said.
All the victims were male, but no ages or names were released. The coroner’s office planned to use dental records to confirm their identities. The earliest an autopsy likely will be performed is Thursday, because of the Veterans Day holiday Wednesday, officials said.
Officials did not immediately release the name of the vehicle’s registered owner, saying only that the SUV was last purchased by someone in the inland area of Southern California.
Uber driver Albert Riley of Placentia tried to extinguish the flames Monday after he saw a woman waving her arms.
“She was trying to get someone’s attention and yelling that a car was on fire,” he told the Orange County Register.
Riley, who had been waiting in his car nearby, said he grabbed a neighbor’s hose and began spraying the vehicle before firefighters arrived.