Burned Body Found in Trolley in Homeless Encampment in Los Angeles

September 13, 2019 Updated: September 13, 2019

A burned body was found stuffed in a shopping cart at a homeless encampment in the suburbs of Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The body was discovered on Sept. 11, near a park in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Associated Press.

The discovery follows several recent fire-related attacks in recent weeks on the city’s homeless population, including a 62-year-old burned to death in the city’s notorious skid row.

The growing homeless crisis in Los Angeles—along with many large U.S. cities—was also highlighted in recent months by the Trump administration, with hatchling federal plans brought to light  by the Washington Post in recent days.

The body of the latest victim, which was severely burned, has not been identified, according to Alan Hamilton, the second-in-command at the LAPD’s Valley Bureau.

A homeless person sleeps beneath a tarp covering a tent lining sidewalks in downtown Los Angeles, California on April 20, 2017. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

The body was “recovered in an area where transients are known to encamp,” Hamilton told the Los Angeles Times, but said was not immediately clear whether the victim was homeless.

No arrests have been made and it was not immediately clear what led to the attack, and despite being investigated by the Robbery-Homicide Division, has yet to be officially labeled as a homicide.

The was body moved to the Van Nuys area after being burned in another location, according to the LA Times, citing an unnamed law enforcement source, who also said that investigators believe the fire was started with an accelerant.

Two weeks ago, a man was charged with murder over the death of homeless guitarist Dwayne Fields, 62, who was killed inside his tent on Aug. 26 when it was set alight.

A person makes his way out of his tent among a row of tents along a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles on May 30, 2019. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

According to the DA, Jonathan Early, 39, is charged with one count of murder, “with the special circumstance allegation that the crime was intentional and involved the infliction of torture.”

He is accused of setting fire to the tent in skid row—where one in three people are estimated to be homeless—before fleeing. He was arrested shortly after.

The same day that the man burned to death in his tent, LAPD released a video showing a homeless man being beaten with a pipe and left for dead.

President Donald Trump expressed frustration in July while discussing the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and San Francisco during a recent interview, calling the situation “disgraceful.”

“It’s very sad. Very sad. It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful,” Trump told Fox News. Adding that he’s thinking about getting involved, he said he would like to “get that whole thing cleaned up.”

“I’m looking at it very seriously. We’re doing some other things, as you probably know … but we’re looking at it very seriously.”

According to a report by the Los Angeles Homeless Authority, homelessness rose by 12 percent in the city of Los Angeles, and by 16 percent in LA county over the last year. The totals are 36,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles, and nearly 59,000 across LA county. Three out of four are men.

17,396 people were living in makeshift shelters and vehicles, according to the report, including 3,276 in tents.

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