East Baltimore residents smelled burning plastic for hours before dead body discovered
BALTIMORE -- Homicide detectives are investigating a grisly crime in East Baltimore.
On Sunday morning, officers detailed to the east side of the city found a burned body near the back of a vacant lot in the 1100 block of East 20th Street near the intersection of Kennedy Avenue.
Neighbors say the body, identified as 35-year-old Bernard Stein, had been burning for hours and they can still remember the smell of it. One neighbor said she smelled the body when she returned home at 3 a.m.
"I smelled burning plastic," she said. "It smelled like consistently burning plastic."
Hours later, she checked the alleyway and was shocked to see what was laying just a few doors down from her home.
"He was just laying there on fire," she said. "Like, you just see his hand in all a ball of flames. It's something a child should not have to see."
Firefighters put out the flames and officers found the remains of a male.
The gruesome discovery has left neighborhood residents like Karon Dixon with a list of fearful questions.
"Would I be next?" he said, describing her mindset. "What's going to happen now? What are the effects of that situation?"
Some residents worried about whether their family members were at risk.
"What if that was my niece of my nephew?" one woman said. "I don't even want to be in this city no more."
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has taken custody of the body and will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
This is the third recently reported case of a burned body in the WJZ viewing area.
The other two bodies were found in Anne Arundel County.
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