Homicide, arson investigations underway after body found in burning vehicle

A body was found in a burning vehicle in the parking lot of a Gwinnett County neighborhood clubhouse Tuesday morning, fire officials confirmed.

A neighbor in the Springlake Cove subdivision called 911 about 3:30 a.m. to report a “loud popping sound” and flames coming from the area of the clubhouse on Springbottom Drive, Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told AJC.com in a statement. When fire crews arrived, they found a vehicle fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters did not discover the body until the fire was out, Rutledge said.

According to Channel 2 Action News, the case is now a homicide and arson investigation.

Authorities have identified the owner of the car, police told the news station, but the victim has not been identified. The manner of death is still under investigation by the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s office.

“It was someone that was of smaller stature, but we don’t know male or female yet,” Lawrenceville police spokesman Lt. Jake Parker told AJC.com.

Parker said investigators are working to learn more about how the vehicle ended up in the neighborhood.

“It doesn’t belong there, so we don’t know why it was there or how it got there,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Gwinnett fire investigators at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Georgia Arson Control Inc. offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible. Tips may be made anonymously.

—Please return to AJC.com for updates.