Body found, rear of crashed, burned car; police seek victim's ID

Exclusive surveillance video shows the moments a vehicle went up in flames and burned a Milwaukee building on Sunday morning, Jan. 9. Police say a body was later discovered inside the rear of the torched vehicle – while it was at a Milwaukee tow lot.

The surveillance video shows a vehicle drive through a parking lot and toward a building Sunday. While you cannot see when the car hits the building, the video shows flames shooting from the vehicle minutes later.

"Came through the parking lot, went in between those two branches, hit the building, and caught on fire," said John Thornton.

Thornton owns the building at 76th and Green Tree where the crash happened. He said the driver hit the building's electrical panel before the car caught fire.

"The whole front end is burnt up. We have no electricity in the building," Thornton said.

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The video shows first responders on the scene. But it was not until the vehicle made it to a Milwaukee tow lot when a woman's body was found inside the car. 

"They found a body in the car after they towed it away from here. They didn’t think to look in the car before they towed it away. I don’t know it’s crazy," Thornton said.

The Milwaukee Fire Department said a tow lot attendant found the human remains in the rear of the vehicle. MFD is conducting an internal investigation to determine if procedures and guidelines were followed during the incident.

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"That’s what I’m trying to find out. How did this actually happen?" Thornton asked.

John Thornton

John Thornton

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office is working to identify the woman killed in the crash.


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