Man’s body found sticking out of burning van in Tijuana River Valley

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Firefighters putting out a blaze that engulfed a van Monday in a parking lot at the Tijuana River Valley Sports Complex found a body partially inside the charred van, authorities reported.

The fire at the athletic facility in the 2600 block of Sunset Avenue in southern San Diego erupted about 11 a.m., according to police.

The body was found in the rear passenger side of the van with the legs sticking out of the vehicle, police described.

Due to the state of the body, it was not immediately clear if the unidentified person — believed to have been male — died due to injuries from the fire or from another cause, SDPD Lt. Jud Campbell said.

A body was found partially inside, partially outside a burning van near the Tijuana River Valley Sports Complex. (NBC 7 San Diego)

The San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team was called in to investigate the fire, and homicide detectives were summoned “in an abundance of caution” to look into the circumstances surrounding the fatality, which was being investigated as a suspicious death, the lieutenant said.

The vehicle is an older model cargo style van with an unclear color due to damage from the flames, police said.

What is the Tijuana River Valley Sports Complex?

Situated in the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park, the Tijuana River Valley Sports Complex features five baseball fields and a multi-use open turf area, which can be used by sports leagues, according to the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.

The park is more than 1,800 acres of diverse habitats, hiking, mountain biking and horse-riding trails, according to its website.

Noah Kitts is a park regular who was walking his dog in the area on Monday.

“I was on the baseball field throwing Frisbee with dog. Like everyday I do a lap around perimeter,” Kitts said.

 “I never thought it would happen in a place like this. I always felt safe,” Kitts said.

“I see families here and people come here to train dogs. I would never think this was the place to do something like that,” Kitts added.

Towers took away the badly burned vehicle on Feb. 12, 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)
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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.