Body Found in Burned Out Car in Anaheim

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KTLA) — An investigation is underway in Anaheim after a young man’s body was found inside a burned out car early Friday morning.

It happened around 3 a.m. in the 100 block of South Westchester Drive near Lincoln.

The neighborhood woke up to the sound as many as three explosions, which brought people running out into the street.

Anaheim police officers responded to find a white car fully engulfed in flames, said Sgt. Bob Dunn.

Shortly after, Anaheim Fire & Rescue arrived and extinguished the blaze, and that’s when the body was discovered inside the car.

Authorities have not identified the victim.

But family members say he is 23-year-old Shimon Phal, a student at Cyprus College.

Investigators said a gas can was found inside the burned car.

They still aren’t sure if it was a horrible accident, a possible suicide or if foul play was involved.

The vehicle appeared to have some front-end damage, possibly from a collision.

Neighbors said they believed the car was involved in a crash Thursday afternoon, and the man came back to retrieve the car.

They think that when he started the car, it caught fire and he couldn’t get back out because the door was stuck due to the damage from the collision.

They say they could hear the man screaming as he was burned alive.

But other witnesses say the man could have escaped from the burning car, but did not try to get out.

“All I could see is the man’s chest and his left arm,” witness Hunter McClellan recalled.

“His left arm was free to move, it didn’t look like he was trying to get out.”

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