Detectives from the LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division are investigating the apparent murder of a homeless man, whose burned body was found Tuesday morning smoldering in a shopping cart along the bike path at Lake Balboa Park in Van Nuys.
Law enforcement sources told NBCLA it appeared the person had been killed and burned elsewhere, then placed in the shopping cart and pushed on to the path that crosses underneath Balboa Boulevard.
The victim is likely the 28th homeless person murdered in the city so far this year, according to LAPD crime data.
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The cause of the man's death has not been determined, according to the LA County Coroner's Office. An autopsy was pending and coroner's investigators have not yet identified the man.
The LA City Fire Department said it dispatched firefighters Tuesday to a rubbish fire near Balboa and Burbank Boulevard about an hour before the body was discovered. The firefighters saw burning trash but it's not clear if the fire was related to the remains, an official said.
There are numerous homeless encampments in Lake Balboa Park and the adjacent Woodley Park in the Sepulveda Dam Basin, fire officials said. One of those encampments was the scene of a large fire in July.
Robbery Homicide Division detectives are often assigned to investigate murders that involve arson.