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.
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.