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Witnesses Who Helped Put Out Car Fire 'Had No Idea' Body Was Inside

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - A car fire led to a gruesome discovery in Jefferson County on Sunday morning that investigators are calling suspicious.

A body was found inside a burning sedan off Cougar Road in the Deer Creek area. Detectives from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are working to answer a lot of questions, including who was inside the car and how it wound up on fire.

Deer Creek resident Max Dymek tried to put the fire out on Sunday morning.

"There was a huge fireball basically that blew out into the sky like you see in the movies," he said.

Dymek worked with another man, but they were not aware a body was inside.

"We had no idea. And the reason we didn't know is because the whole front of the car was totally engulfed in flames. You couldn't see anything," he said.

Burned Car Body 3 (JeffCo SO tweet)
(credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

Several neighbors reported the flames around 11:40 a.m.

A death investigation began after authorities arrived, but detectives said they were initially working with limited information.

"We do not know the identity, the gender, the cause of death ... all of those are things we're not clear on yet," said Jacki Kelley of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Any identifying papers in the car would have been burned.

"Some of the information we'd like to have is not available to use because of the fire," said Kelley.

It's also unclear where the body was in the vehicle when removed, whether behind the steering wheel or elsewhere. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

The sheriff's office is asking the public for information in this case. The canyon is popular with cyclists and the sheriff's office is hoping some riders might have GoPro video footage that could help them with leads.

"A lot of those cyclists wear those and they're concentrating on their ride, and you don't know what you don't know, and may have captured something on their video that could help us in moving forward with the case," Mark Techmeyer with the sheriff's office said.

"Some of our best witnesses in our cases are people who didn't even know they were really a witness to something. So we are asking anyone who was in this area, you may think what you have is insignificant, but we need a starting place," Kelley said.

burned car scene
(credit: CBS)

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to think about what they saw, maybe a car that normally doesn't belong in the rural neighborhood, or maybe someone walking away from the car.

Additional Information From The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Anyone with information can contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612, or call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

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