Detectives Friday sought the public’s help in identifying both a man whose burned body was found in a shopping cart at Lake Balboa Park in the Van Nuys area and whoever was responsible his death.
The body was found in the early morning hours Tuesday in the Los Angeles River basin adjacent to the 6400 block of Balboa Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“A badly charred body had been placed in a shopping cart and left abandoned,” according to a police statement. “In addition to the burned body, detectives were informed that Los Angeles City Fire Department personnel had responded earlier in the morning to a reported brush fire that was a short distance east of where the decedent’s body was later recovered.”
Investigative teams with the LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division, along with Los Angeles Fire Department arson investigators, created two independent crime scenes, both within the park, according to the LAPD.
The county coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide after examining the remains. The man’s identity remains unknown and he is now listed as John Doe No. 225, police said.
“It is not known if the victim was a transient, or if he came into the area for another reason and was murdered,” police said. “This incident has no apparent connection to any other recent arson related incidents or homicides in the city.”
The victim was believed to be the 28th homeless person killed in the city so far this year, according to LAPD crime data reviewed by NBC4.
Anyone with information about the victim or how he was killed was urged to call Detective Matthew Casalicchio or Detective Tim Marcia at 213-486-6890.
After-hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 877-LAPD-24-7.
Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or lacrimestoppers.org.
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