Authorities Wednesday announced that a charred body found at the scene of the Mt. Wilson brush fire was that of a suicidal teen whose family desperately tried to find him after he went missing a week ago in Sylmar.
The body was that of 18-year-old Matthew Huerta, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.
An autopsy will determine how Huerta died. It’s not clear if he had killed himself before the blaze swept through the area, or if he was a victim of the fire.
Huerta last had been seen about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18 in the 13400 block of Bradley Avenue, and police had sought public help to find him, indicating that his distraught family was “concerned for his safety because he is suicidal,” according to the LAPD.
At that time, authorities had identified the young man as Matthew Hurtado, but they later determined that his last name was Huerta, the LAPD reported. An autopsy was pending to determine the cause of death.
The Mt. Wilson fire, which was reported about 5 a.m. on Oct. 17, scorched about 50 acres of brush and led to the precautionary evacuation of the landmark observatory for a time.
—City News Service
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