Detectives are searching for clues after a burned body was found in a trash bin in Riverside County
Residents found the body Tuesday night in the quiet farmland community of Nuevo, after seeing a fire at Four Winds Pheasant Club. The body, one neighbor said, had had its legs broken off.
Michael Oosten said a neighbor called him around 8 p.m. Tuesday and told him about the fire. Oosten and other neighbors immediately headed to the scene.
Top news of the day
Oosten said he and his neighbors tried to put out the flames using fire extinguishers, but they weren't having much luck. "I don't know if there was gasoline or some sort of accelerant there, wood and things, just a lot of plastic."
Once the fire died down, Oosten looked inside the dumpster and found the charred remains of a body.
"You could see through the flames pretty clearly a bicycle on top of the victim, and it was just exceptionally tragic," he said.
Oosten also said that the victim's legs had been shattered right above the knee, emphasizing that it did not appear like someone used a cutting tool to dismember the body.
Investigators say the body was burned beyond recognition, which is why they don't know the victim's gender or age. They're asking anyone with information to contact the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
Osten said he's hoping for answers, both for his own peace of mind and for the victim's family.
"It's execution style; it's horrific," he said. "It's like something you would hear that happens in a third-world country or during war. It just should never happen in such a beautiful place like this."