Authorities Need Help Identifying Burned Murder Victim

By: Kristin Bauer Email
By: Kristin Bauer Email

Anyone with information should call the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office at 402-593-2343 or Crimestoppers at 402-592-7867

City, county and state authorities are working together trying to figure out who is responsible for a fire where a dead body was discovered on Monday. A sketch was released Thursday indicating what the man looked like.

Investigators usually go door-to-door canvassing a neighborhood, but since this fire happened near a highway, instead of knocking on doors they were knocking on vehicle windows.

The Nebraska State Patrol helicopter was called in moments after a grass fire revealed the body in a farm field near 231st Street and Highway 6 around 8 a.m. Monday.

Days later, the search for evidence continues. "The people that we've encountered have been cooperative and understanding,” said NSP Capt. Greg London. “They have been delayed maybe 10 minutes, but they've been very nice about it."

The Sarpy County Sheriff's Department worked with Bellevue police and State Patrol officers on Thursday, conducting traffic stops on Highway 6 close to where the body was found.

"Anyone traveling through this area may have seen something and make sure we've covered all of our bases and make sure we are gathering as much information as possible,” said Sarpy County Sheriff's Department Lt. Mark Trapp.

It might have looked like a slow process, but authorities were optimistic, stopping vehicles around the same time the fire was reported Monday. Rory Whaley was one of them. "There was quite a few people that saw the fire, saw the smoke. Fire, fire off to my left. Being as dry as it is, it didn't seem normal. So, I decided to call 911."

Whaley was one of the patient drivers who pulled over to give authorities any information he had. "I guess if they don't have any other leads this is probably the most primitive way to start."

In addition to the sketch, they also have a wooden rosary and a button from the jeans worn by the victim. "Some leads as far as maybe vehicles that were in the area at the time, but ultimately the information that we are going to get we will follow up on that information and go from there,” said Lt. Trapp.

In 2005, there was a grass fire that later revealed three dead bodies. Omaha police say so far, they have not been contacted by Sarpy County investigators about a possible connection between the two.

Authorities believe the victim was killed, then brought to the field and burned. Anyone who information about the man's identity or the fire is asked to call the Sarpy County Sheriff's Department at 402-593-2343 or its Crimestoppers line at 402-592-7867.


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