A murder in Pine Bluff has a local community in shock, not just because it's the city's 13th homicide of the year, but because when authorities found the body, it was on fire.
James Britt, Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County is still horrified at the sight he saw as he arrived to work early Thursday morning.
James Britt says, “The body was found about where the light post is there.”
Pine Bluff Police Lieutenant Robert Rawlinson tells FOX16 news, at 9:30 Thursday morning an unidentified person walking in the area of West Short Reeker Road saw a fire between two vacant homes.
Robert Rawlinson of the Pine Bluff Police Department says, “But when they got over there they realized that it was a body that was on fire so they called 911.”
Authorities arrived putting out the fire, but investigators discovered the victim being described only as a thin black female, experienced major trauma to the head before being set on fire.
Rawlinson says “She's going to be transported to the state crime lab and that’s where they will actually determine a cause of death.”
Talking with people who both live and work in Pine Bluff, they tell FOX16 news that one of the reasons that they believe this crime was committed right here is because of urban blight. With two abandon homes right behind the boys and girls club, they say the homes provide the perfect cover for any would be criminal to commit a criminal act.
Britt says, “Were in the process to see if we can get this stuff torn down... Because the only thing it’s doing is creating a haven for the undesirables.”
While investigators go over evidence found at the scene including a gas can, they don't have any witnesses or leads. But even more difficult for authorities, they don't know who the victim is, only that she was wearing red capri pants, a white short sleeve shirt, and white FUBU tennis shoes.
Rawlinson says, “If anybody knows about any suspects that may have been involved in this or who this lady is we would really like to know.”
So as those in Pine Bluff deal with the city's 13th homicide, residents are now forced to ask why and wonder who the mystery woman is and how she came to such a tragic death.
Britt says, “Young black female in her early 20's life has been snuffed out and for some reason for some folk life doesn't mean anything to them... And that's scary.”
Again the victim is described as a thin build black female wearing red capri pants, a white short sleeve shirt, white FUBU tennis shoes, and silver hoop earrings. A loose fitting silver watch on her left wrist. If you have any information about this homicide case you're urged to call the Pine Bluff Police Department at 870-543-5100.