DELAND, FL – Volusia Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a person found deceased near a burning vehicle in a rural DeLand neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. According to authorities, Sheriff’s deputies, Air One, DeLand Police and multiple units from Volusia County Fire Rescue were called to the scene around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The vehicle fire, which ignited surrounding grass, was reported near Bear Paw Lane and Bright Way. No other structures were involved in the fire.
When the vehicle fire was extinguished, deputies observed the body of the deceased. The Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit is working to confirm positive identification of the body and the cause of death, pending results of an autopsy scheduled today.
Detectives are working with the State Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the cause of the vehicle fire. The death remains an active investigation. More information will be released when it becomes available.
UPDATE: 7/22/2020 3:45 PM – As part of this death investigation, Volusia sheriff’s detectives are working to put together a thorough timeline of events. Anyone who might have seen the victim’s vehicle (a white 2016 Mercedes SL-550 convertible) traveling from the New Smyrna Beach area to DeLand between the hours of 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit at (386) 254-1535.
UPDATE: 7/24/2020 5:03 PM – Major Case detectives have positively identified the person found deceased near a burning vehicle in a DeLand neighborhood Tuesday. The victim has been identified as James Edward Williams, 67, of New Smyrna Beach. His body was found by his burning vehicle near Bear Paw Lane and Bright Way on Tuesday afternoon. Detectives are still gathering information in this active investigation. If anyone has information about this individual or why he was in DeLand, please contact the Volusia Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit by calling (386) 254-1535.