When authorities from the U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to a report of a fire off a Forest Service road in the Tonto National Forest last night, they thought a fire was all they were dealing with. Then, they found a dead body inside of a burning pickup truck.
According to the Gila County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the blaze about 9:30 p.m. as the truck was fully engulfed in flames and the fire was spreading into the forest.
The truck was found about a half-mile down a Forest Service road off Highway 87, just south of the Highway 188 turnoff, the GCSO says.
Once fire officials managed to put out the blaze, they found the body in the truck.
For now, it's unclear if the truck occupant was murdered, committed suicide, or was the victim of a fatal accident.
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"The fire burned for quite a while -- we're still investigating," a GCSO spokeswoman tells New Times.
This isn't the first time a burning vehicle has led to the discovery of a dead body in Rim Country.
In February 2007, the body of Roger Watson was found stuffed in the trunk of a Subaru that had been burnt to a crisp. It was later determined that he was shot in the head and put in the trunk by Thomas Paul Georgatos, who is now in prison after pleading guilty to arson charges as part of a deal that allowed him to avoid a murder trial.
Check back for updates.