UPDATE, NOV. 19, 5 A.M.: The bodies of two young men from Arizona were in the black SUV that rolled up fully engulfed in flames to a yellow house in a quiet residential neighborhood in Orange earlier this month.
The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner's Office identified the deceased as 19-year-old Antonio Medina of Glendale, Arizona, and 20-year-old Fernando Meza of Phoenix. They had been reported missing from Arizona on Nov. 9, according to a Facebook page titled "Searching for Fernando Meza and Antonio Medina." That's the same day the full-size GMC SUV rolled up on fire in the 500 block of East Oakmont Avenue. Meza and Medina were obviously in the back seat. The Orange Police Department previously said the third dead man, who was in the front right passenger seat, was an Orange resident in his late 20s. His name has not yet been released. Police are still seeking as a "person of interest" the driver, who bailed out following a "low-speed" collision. Homicide investigators are not sure if the fire inside the cabin had started by then.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 10, 9:36 A.M.: The Orange Police Department says it is investigating as a triple homicide the discovery of three adult male bodies in a black SUV that rolled up fully engulfed in flames to a yellow house in a quiet residential neighborhood Monday afternoon.
The driver was reportedly seen running away from the full-size GMC SUV as it caught fire. Neither that person nor the trio inside the burning ride have been identified, but the county coroner did confirm the dead were adult males.
Orange Police Lt. Fred Lopez says they received a call about a vehicle fire at 2:18 p.m. Monday That's near Shaffer Street and Orange High School.
"It's unknown what caused the fire or what caused their deaths," Lopez told City News Service. "But we do believe it was suspicious circumstances involving their deaths and are investigating it as such."
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There was a license plate on the vehicle that was legible so investigators quickly discovered the SUV had not been reported stolen, according to Lopez's Orange Police colleague Sgt. Phil McMullen.
KTLA/Channel 5 reported this morning that the vehicle had been registered to someone in the Inland Empire but police had yet to determine its current owner.
Reporter Eric Spillman raised the notion that some kind of gang incident ended with bodies being dumped in Orange County, but Lopez says it has not yet been confirmed whether the fire was accidental or intentional.