Neighbors thought it was a trash fire in the alley and grabbed fire extinguishers and tried to put out the flames before the fire spread. That's when they made the horrific discovery.
"I went over there and I started putting the fire out, and then when I started getting to the ground I said, 'Oh, wait! This is a body!'" said O.K.C. of Athens Village. "After that, I just kept putting the fire out because it was just too late."
"That's somebody's daughter, that's somebody's mother. It looked to be a small frame, whoever she was," said Beverly Kendrick of Athens Village.
Detectives say that the body was doused with some kind of accelerant. According to the coroner's office, the victim appears to be Caucasian, but at this point, they do not know how old she was.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Authorities said that there is one key piece of evidence they are working with. The victim was put into a black, 50-gallon, commercial-sized trash can with wheels attached. They're trying to determine if someone in the area may be missing their trash can so they can try to retrace her whereabouts before she was killed.
Investigators have very little to go on and are asking for the public's help in figuring out who this woman is and how she was murdered.
If you have any information on this case, you're urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at (323) 890-5500.