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Dead body found burning in an open field, police investigating

By Leilyn Torres , Mary O’Connell

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    RUSKIN, Florida (WFTS) — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a homicide in Ruskin where a body was found burning in an open field.

On Saturday, just after 8 a.m., HCSO said someone who called 911 said they drove by what looked like a mannequin on fire in an open field behind a residential area in the 1100 block of Will Scarlett Avenue.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue first responded to the scene to put out the flames and learned it was actually a dead person. Officials said the victim was found with upper body trauma.

“The body is so severely burned that we are unable to determine the identification at this time, whether it’s male or female, but our investigators are working tirelessly to determine what happened here,” said Fentress Fountain with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“I was out here doing yard work this morning, and I didn’t see or smell anything, but as I started watching the helicopters come in, I looked up and finally seen a report of what was going on,” said Nicholas Minchew.

Minchew lives down the street from the scene.

“To go that far and that extent to do something, you’ve got to be very angry at someone,” said Minchew.

As investigators look for answers in the case, anyone with information or who was in the area at the time is encouraged to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a jarring scene,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “At this time, our deputies are doing everything they can to determine what happened to this person. We do believe this is an isolated incident, and we will continue to work tirelessly until we determine how this horrific crime occurred.”

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