Detroit neighbors find burned body in trash can inside garage

Neighbors believe body is teen boy; someone threw body in trash, wheeled it to Detroit garage, lit it on fire

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®


There still are some neighborhoods in Detroit where there are not foreclosed homes all around, where the residents keep up their property, mind their own business and hope the crime does not find them.

That was the situation at the corner of Margareta and Sorrento streets on the city's west side where the hope disappeared in a very ugly fashion.

"It's just sad. Just really said," said Carmen Abner.

Abner describes the chaos from Wednesday night as a fire which she thought was in her father's garage. It turned out to be much more than just a garage fire.

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On Thursday, all that remained was a melted trash can and the horrifying memory.

"The street lights don't work around here so it was pitch black and we got a flashlight out and somebody said, 'Oh my God, it's a body. Can't you see the head?'" she said. "I just went that way to call 911 again and said, 'There's a body here. There's a body here. You need to get someone here.'"

Abner's father, Richard Abner, had already called 911.

"They said you gotta wait. I said, 'My garage is burning,' and at that time I thought the garage was burning, at that time, and they took forever to come."

It turns out there is a very twisted tale of murder. Neighbors realized the body of what they believe is a teenaged boy had been placed in the can elsewhere in the neighborhood. The tracks in the grass show it had been wheeled to the garage, covered in gasoline or lighter fluid and lit on fire.

"To have the gall to wheel a body down the street and find a dark place and dump 'em and burn 'em, I mean, they threw away that baby like trash, man," said Abner.

It could be a while before neighbors know exactly what happened Wednesday night, as things go in the city of Detroit.

The Detroit Police Department said it can't even begin its investigation into whether this was a murder until it finds out the cause of death from the Medical Examiner's Office. That might not be until next week because the ME serves the entire county of Wayne.

Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stevens said the the department's crime reporting telephone system was down at the time of the call. She said they must identify the body.

"It could have been a drug overdose," Stevens said. "We don't know. We need to hear from the Medical Examiner before we can call this a murder."

Stevens said they rarely find out the cause of death within 24 hours because the ME is busy serving the entire county, not just Detroit.

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