Smith County deputies investigate who was inside burned car - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Smith County deputies investigate who was inside burned car

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - The Smith County Sheriff's Office is looking further into evidence collected in the northern part of the county after a body was found inside a burned car.

People kept stopping on their way home Thursday evening, saying they haven't seen Barber Road shut down for as long as it was.

Investigators were on the scene for nearly 12 hours.

People are hoping there's more information soon.

Investigators pulled the badly burned car away from Barber Road after a long look at evidence surrounding who was inside when the car caught fire.

"Really alarming to me because my daughter and grandchildren out here during the day time," says Joan Smith who lives nearby.

She saw Barber Road shut down on her way home, and wanted more answers.

"I just hear earlier today a burned body was found in a car, but I don't know any other details," says Smith.

Sheriff Larry Smith says a call was made to 911 about the car, sitting in the middle of a lane on fire, just before 6 am Thursday.

It doesn't look like an accident so investigators say it's possible this could be a homicide.

"Under normal circumstances, if no crash damage on the vehicle, it's not normal to find a body in the car," says Sheriff Smith.

Sheriff smith says when firefighters got here the fire had nearly burned out.

You can see how hot it burned, scorching the pavement and even the tree tops above where the car was on the road.

"Extreme heat for long duration, you can only imagine what we're looking at here," says Sheriff Smith.

Investigators say the body was in the passenger portion of the car, not the trunk.

But the sheriff wouldn't say whether it was in front or back seat.

The sheriff says the state fire marshal's office was called in to use a fire accelerant sniffing k-9.

Investigators are talking to east Texas family members of the person the car is registered to in hopes of finding more clues.

"I'd feel a little better if there was more information about it, I wouldn't be quite as alarmed about it, I think," says Smith.

Sheriff Smith says the car was registered to a person in north Texas, but that person did have family in Smith County.

He has not released that person's name.

He did say other than combing through the information they collected, investigators are taking DNA samples from those family members to help determine the identity of the person found inside that car.

The body will undergo an autopsy at Southwest Forensics Institute in Dallas.

The sheriff says it could be several days before there's a positive identification on the person.

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