By Mary O’KEEFE
L.A. Police Department detectives have released the name of the man whose body was found in a burned out vehicle on Sister Elsie Drive in Tujunga on March 31.
Jacob Burns, 21, of San Gabriel Valley was found after firefighters had extinguished the flames that engulfed a 1992 two-door white Honda.
The investigation is ongoing and police are asking for any information from the public regarding the incident. On Saturday, LAPD Officer Richard Wall met with neighbors in the area to discuss the burned out vehicle investigation along with other issues that concern residents.
The Honda was badly burned and at first it was not known there was a body in the vehicle.
Richard Colley, a retired LAPD officer and resident of the area, was at the site when the car was in flames; he was not surprised that the body was not immediately discovered.
“I looked in the car [after the fire was extinguished] and didn’t see a body,” Colley said.
Colley is part of a neighborhood community group known as Big Thunder and Steep Hills that includes the area of Sister Elsie and Gyro drives. The group was formed in 1999 and works on a variety of issues from potholes to crime prevention. One of the topics the residents covered at Saturday’s meeting was of people who do not live in the neighborhood that drive up the dark and steep roads – some who come to the area to smoke marijuana.
“You can smell the smoke,” Colley said. “Then, when they leave, they drive down the roads at 40 miles per hour.”
The roads are narrow, steep and twist down the mountains. Driving down at that rate of speed is dangerous, he added.
Because it is not uncommon to hear cars on their street, none had any information of the burnt vehicle prior to the afternoon discovery of the car.
Three car fires have occurred in the area in the past, however this is the first time there was a body discovered, Colley said.
Big Thunder and Steep Hills members work together to take a proactive position on protecting their neighborhood and neighbors. On Saturday, they spoke of a bear that visits the area quite often. They shared photos of the bear and shared information as to the last time he, or she, was seen.