No foul play suspected for body found in car in Janesville

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Frank Schultz
September 24, 2014

JANESVILLE—The woman whose body was found in a burning car Tuesday died of smoke inhalation and “thermal injuries,” an autopsy revealed Wednesday.

Police believe they know who the woman was, but they will not reveal her identity until it is confirmed through dental records and the family has been notified, Janesville police Lt. Keith Lawver said.

Lawver said no foul play is suspected, but until the identity is confirmed he declined to discuss the circumstances leading to the death.

Rock County Chief Deputy Coroner Lou Smit said Wednesday afternoon his office was trying to locate the woman's dentist so dental X-rays could be compared to X-rays of the body.

Firefighters found the body in the back seat of a car. They had been called to the scene of a burning vehicle parked next to a field near the intersection of Silver Maple Trail and Arbor Ridge Way.

“The body was badly burned, and a positive identification could not be made” during the autopsy, police said in a news release.

Smit said the woman likely was unconscious from fumes but still alive when she sustained the injuries from the heat and fire.

Lawver said police have several indicators of who the woman is, but he wouldn't say what those are.

Detectives still were working on the car and did not know Wednesday where in the car the fire started, Lawver said.

Lawver would not say whether the woman was from the area or when she was last seen.

Police have interviewed people who know the woman, Lawver said, but he would not discuss who those people are or what they said.

Police urged anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Mark Johnson at 608-755-3044.

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