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Richmond police identify bodies found in burning car

Published: Jun. 18, 2015 at 9:45 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2015 at 9:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond police are searching for answers after a car went up in flames and two bodies are discovered inside.

Firefighters quickly put out the car fire in the parking lot of the Hickory Hill Community Center on Wednesday night. Crews then found the bodies of two victims: 20-year-old Hector Gonzalez-Carabantes and 17-year-old Leny Monroy-Membreno.

Neighbors in the area looked on, stunned.

"It was actually in flames. You could see the flames, sort of like a burning bush," said Allen Obiero, who lives across the street.

Autopsies conducted by the Medical Examiner's Office showed no signs of trauma to either person. A determination of the cause and manner of each of their deaths may be made once toxicology tests are completed.

At this point, detectives have found no evidence of foul play. Arson investigators will determine the cause of the fire. It should be noted that just because the victims' bodies were found in the burning car, that doesn't mean they necessarily died in the fire.

Richmond detectives and the forensic team worked for hours collecting evidence, as neighbors grasped the unfolding scene.

"I haven't seen anything quite like that... It's scary, because you don't really know what happened," added Obiero.

Richmond Police say they have a good relationship with people in the neighborhood, and ask any with information to please call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. You can remain anonymous.

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