"Suspicious circumstances" surround the death of a man whose body was found in a burning car on an embankment of the 55 freeway in Costa Mesa, police confirmed this morning.
The identity of the man, which was determined by the county coroner through DNA, is not being released pending notification of next of kin.
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A California Highway Patrol investigation was launched after a burning 1995 white Honda Civic sedan was found on the embankment of the southbound Costa Mesa Freeway—near the Route 73 connector—around 12:15 a.m. Sept. 5. A man inside was already dead when first responders arrived.
The body was transferred to the coroner for an autopsy and toxicology report, but the next day the Costa Mesa Police Department was notified that the fellow had not expired from injuries related to a traffic collision, according to Roxi Fyad, the cop agency's spokeswoman.
"With unknown and suspicious circumstances surrounding the cause of death and car fire," she adds, "CMPD has assumed responsibility of the investigation. This is a routine practice under the circumstances."
The victim was identified late last night, says Fyad, who cautions the investigation is ongoing and that anyone with helpful information is encouraged to contact CMPD Detective Jason Chamness at 714.754.5197.