San Francisco police homicide inspectors are seeking the public’s help after a body was discovered recently near Buena Vista Park, which has been known as a popular gay cruising site.
Police responded to a small fire at 5:30 a.m. last Friday, June 10. When they extinguished the fire, they found a body that had been burned beyond recognition, according to Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield, a police spokesman.
As of this afternoon (Wednesday, June 15) the medical examiner’s office had not identified the body. Richard Vetterli, a spokesman for the medical examiner, said he couldn’t offer any details on the case.
Police don’t have suspects in the case, and the type of weapon used and the victim’s injuries aren’t known. The victim appeared to be a 20-year-old white man, police said.
Dangerfield said the initial call came from the San Francisco Fire Department. The fire was in a small garbage can or other receptacle off the path by the park’s tennis courts. Dangerfield said it was his understanding that the body wasn’t in the container, but was nearby. He didn’t know if the body itself had been on fire.
There are no surveillance cameras in the area, but police had recently been looking for such devices there, said Dangerfield. The body was found in the same block as an officer-involved shooting last week.
It’s up to the coroner to determine whether the person had died before their body was brought to the scene, said Dangerfield.
“It’s still very early in the investigation,” he said. “We’re really waiting on the coroner to make some basic determinations.”
Vetterli said his office was relying on DNA or dental records for identification, but that was “just because he didn’t show up in the fingerprint system,” not because of the condition of the body.
He said unlike on TV “where it’s an overnight thing,” the process “takes a lot of time.”
Dangerfield said police are asking anyone who saw something, or heard anything like screams or screeching tires, even “anything they may have thought was nothing,” to call the homicide unit at (415) 553-1145, the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to 847411 and type SFPD, then the message. The case number is 110467285