Florida authorities are currently searching for answers after they discovered charred human remains inside a burning Porta Potty over the weekend.
Since the fiery incident took place early Saturday morning, local detectives have been working to identify the victim, who they believe was a white woman.
No other details about the victim’s identity have been determined yet due to the condition of her body.
A spokesperson with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJCSO) announced in a Facebook post on Saturday that their patrol officers and St. Johns County Fire Rescue responded to an area in St. Augustine, Fla. earlier that morning after receiving reports about a Porta Potty that was engulfed in flames.
The portable toilet was located next to a house that was under construction and neighbors recalled hearing a loud explosion just after 6:30 a.m., First Coast News reports.
“There were flames 15 feet in the air,” local resident Jan Long told the outlet. “It’s all burnt. Our land borders that land, it’s all burnt over there.”
Once firefighters successfully extinguished the fire, they discovered the human remains inside of the portable toilet, the SJCSO spokesperson said.
Authorities were initially unable to identify the victim’s body due to how badly charred it was, but they later revealed that she was likely a white woman.
Still, the SJCSO spokesperson said, they have not received any missing persons reports that “coincide with this incident” and would indicate who the woman was and how old she was.
Officials with the SJCSO are now asking for the public’s help in identifying the victim.
“We are asking anyone who may have a family member or friend, who has not been heard from and may be missing, to contact the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office and ask for the Major Crimes Unit,” they wrote on Facebook.
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In the meantime, the SJCSO spokesperson said the case “remains an undetermined death investigation, pending autopsy findings and/or additional background information.”
The cause of the fire also remains undetermined, according to the spokesperson.
Speaking to the Florida Times-Union, SJCSO’s spokesman Chuck Mulligan said detectives are currently looking into all possibilities of how this may have happened while an autopsy is performed on the body Monday.
“A person could have gone in there and the methane gas could have ignited somehow … it might have been a suicide or something more nefarious. We just don’t know at this juncture,” he told the local newspaper, adding that it also could have been drug-related or due to smoking a cigarette.
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“The investigation is preliminary at this point. The State Fire Marshal will research the cause of the fire and if any accelerants were used and the like,” Mulligan continued. “The Medical Examiner will tell us what the cause of death was and if there were any indicators if the body had trauma to it prior to the fire.”
“In my 32 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen one of these before,” Mulligan added to the outlet.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (904) 824-8304.