Authorities are investigating after a man’s body was found in a burned van in Woodland Hills Tuesday morning.
The burning vehicle was reported at 7:23 a.m. on a hiking trail in the 21000 block of Mulholland Drive near Rosario Road.
After firefighters extinguished the flames, they found a man’s body inside the vehicle. According to LAPD, it “appears as though the person was killed before the fire was set.”
The male victim was later identified as 37-year-old Joel Ravin of Reseda, who was found between the front seats of the vehicle after the flames were extinguished. The van was registered to Ravin, police said.
Neighbors were shocked to learn that the remote hiking trail beneath their homes, which is used by many to hike, walk their dogs and ride their bikes, is now the site of an active homicide investigation.
“We didn’t hear a thing coming from the car or anything, so it was pretty horrific to hear there was an actual body in there,” said Sean Soszynski, who lives nearby.
Others came to the trail to enjoy nature, but were turned away at the sight of LAPD detectives and an ATF dog collecting evidence.
“People probably think we’re in the middle of nowhere, but this is L.A. County,” said Korby Sandberg, who came to the trail to ride her bike. “It’s very shocking, it’s very scary, and disturbing.”
The investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call police at 818-374-9550.
During non-business hours or on weekends, calls can be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or vist lacrimestoppers.org.
Nidia Becerra and Sofia Pop Perez contributed to this story.