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Dead body, burned car in Henry County may be linked to missing person case

Car found in backyard of a home on River Road

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – The dead body and burned car found in the backyard of a home in Henry County Wednesday night may be connected to a missing person case from outside the county.

At 7:07 p.m. Wednesday, the Martinsville-Henry County 911 Center received a call about a burnt vehicle in the 4700 block of River Road in Fieldale.

Henry County sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and found human remains near the vehicle.

The sheriff's office is continuing to investigate, but is not ruling out the possibility that the fire started accidentally. 

The human remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke for an autopsy.

The cause and manner of death remain unknown pending further investigation, but according to the sheriff's office the remains had no obvious signs of trauma.

The vehicle registration has led investigators to another jurisdiction. The sheriff's office is working with this jurisdiction in reference to a possible missing person case.

Lloyd Sillivan had just started mowing his yard Wednesday when he noticed a burnt out car in the woods in his back yard.

“I just continued mowing and left my mower over there," Sillivan said, gesturing towards his lawnmower. "Then, my wife came down. She said, ‘There’s a body on the other side of the car.’”

On Thursday, the car was gone, but burnt grass and car parts remained.

Marks in Sillivan’s yard from the car being dragged away by investigators were also visible.

“I’ll tell you, I never expected anything like this to ever happen out here. But, that’s probably also why the person or people, whoever did it, brought it out here and left it,” Sillivan said.

He doesn’t know exactly how long the car and the body had been there, but said they had likely only been there for a week at the most.

“I mow here about once a week...so it’s been within the week I guess.”

As bad as the situation may seem, Sillivan said it could’ve been a lot worse.

“If it hadn’t been for all the green (foliage), we’d have had a fire that went clear up to the house,” Sillivan said.

Michael Durn lives nearby and stopped by the scene Thursday morning after his morning walk on River Road.

He said a friend called him and told him something was going on.

“It surprised me. I didn’t even believe it,” Durn said.

He frequently walks along the road, but the incident isn’t overly concerning.

“I have a clear conscience. I haven’t done anything to anyone, so I don’t think anyone’s looking for me. Hopefully anyway," Durn said.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crime Stoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards up to $2,500 for information related to crime.

The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.


ORIGINAL STORY: Members of the Henry County Sheriff's Office are at the scene after a body was found inside a burned car this evening.

Authorities received a 911 call Wednesday evening about a burned car on River Road in the Fieldale area, according to Sheriff Lane Perry.

When deputies arrived, Perry said they found a body inside the car.


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