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Burned Altadena body IDed; witnesses sought

April 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A murder mystery in Altadena yields another clue as police identify a burned body found on a sidewalk. Now investigators are looking for possible witnesses.

While investigators haven't figured out how the man died, they are looking for possible witnesses in connection with the case.

The victim's burned body was found on April 15 on the 2600 block of Windsor Avenue at Kent Street.

L.A. County Sheriff's investigators know the name of the Altadena murder victim. What they want now is information about who tied him up, dumped his body on a Windsor Ave. curb, then set him on fire.

The body was found across from Helen Walker's home.

"We just saw what everybody else did across the street. Didn't see anybody fighting or yelling or anything," said Walker.

A week after the burning body was reported by a passing motorist, investigators say they have a vehicle that is an active element in their investigation: a red 1990s Mazda Protégé that was parked just inches from the burning corpse, partially blocking it from the view of street traffic.

Investigators say the victim was a 70-year-old African-American man. He has been identified but not publicly pending notification of next of kin. His body was dumped between 5:30 and 6 a.m. Sunday, April 15, just before daylight, when the killer or killers would have had to work quickly to avoid being seen.

What they may not have realized is that even at that early hour, many weekend athletes are driving by to get to the base of a nearby bike trail.

"Especially Sunday mornings -- there's a shuttle that picks people up, and they leave generally around 6 o'clock in the morning, and shuttle people to Mount Wilson," said Steve Salinas, Steve's Bike Shop.

Investigators say they want to hear from anyone who saw the victim or the car in the hours before the crime, and especially from cyclists who were driving by the 2700 hundred block of Windsor.

"It is pretty busy and that parking lot fills up early, so you could easily see 50, 60 people there," said Salinas.

Now as they pass they see a memorial. Sympathy cards are addressed to the victim they call "Emmett." Detectives say he was possibly a transient.

"A lot people been by here looking, and they've been so good about flowers out there," said neighbor Helen Walker. "I can't understand it though."

If you have information about the case, contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. at (323) 890-5500.

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