Body found burned beyond recognition in car in Garden Grove; police say accelerant used

By Greg Hardesty

A body was found burned beyond recognition in a car outside a bank in Garden Grove early Tuesday, and a firefighter arson investigator has determined some sort of accelerant was used to start the fire, according to a Garden Grove PD spokesman.

The coroner is trying to identify the body and determine the cause of death of the man or woman found in the passenger seat of a white 2005 Toyota Prius found parked on the south side of a Hanmi Bank in a business district in the 9800 block of Garden Grove Boulevard, GGPD Lt. Carl Whitney said.

Hanmi Bank is an American bank that caters to the Korean-American community.

The grisly discovery was made shortly after Garden Grove Fire Department personnel knocked out the fire about 10 minutes after arriving on the scene, Whitney said. A transient reported the fire at around 3:30 a.m. Feb. 13.

The GGPD has made contact with the family connected to the vehicle, but investigators have yet to determine if the body, which was not buckled into the passenger seat, is that of the car’s registered owner, Whitney said.

“We’re in the early stages of this investigation, and we still need to determine who this person is,” he said. “The family is cooperating with us. They don’t know where the owner of the car is.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Garden Grove PD at 714-741-5800.