Reporting Beth Fisher
DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police are wondering if they have a serial attacker on their hands after a third woman’s burned body was found on the west side.
The woman’s body was discovered Saturday morning inside a home at the Mildred Smith Manor II apartment complex in the 1300 block of Forest Avenue, between Trumbull Street and the Lodge Freeway.
Fire Chief Jack Wiley said the grim discovery was made after firefighters extinguished a small blaze at the complex.
“It’s a young lady, I think, I’m not sure. All I could see was the leg and it looked like the leg of a lady than more of a man. So, I’m not sure yet,” he said.
Wiley said it’s too soon to tell if the woman, who hasn’t yet been identified, was murdered.
“I’m not sure because like I said, it’s still a crime scene and I couldn’t get all the way in there to see, but they did just let me see where the fire was,” he said.
Felicia, whose family members live in the building, said it’s scary to know that something so disturbing happened where her loved ones live.
“We knew the girl, not personally but, you know, our kids play with her kids. It’s just sad,” she said. “I fear for my safety, I fear for everybody’s safety. It’s just sad. I don’t know what is going on. It’s like people don’t value life anymore.”
Police say it’s the third case in recent weeks where a woman has been set on fire and left for dead. However, investigators aren’t yet sure if the cases are connected. In late July, two women were found just miles apart in vacant fields – both severely beaten and without any clothing.
The first woman was found around 5:50 a.m. July 26 in the 12800 block of Eaton, near Meyers Road and Lyndon Street. Police say the 37-year-old was physically assaulted and had burn marks on her body. She was in critical condition after the attack, but is now in stable condition.
Just over 24 hours later, the second woman was found around 7 a.m. July 27 at Elmira and Iris Streets, near Plymouth and Meyers roads. Police say the woman, believed to be in her 20s to 30s, was physically and possible sexually assaulted. She was listed as unconscious and in critical condition after the attack. Her current condition is unknown.
It’s not clear if police are looking for one or more suspects in these cases, but anyone with information is being urged to contact police.
To provide investigators with an anonymous tip, call Detroit police at 313-596-5240 or 313-596-1950. You can also leave a tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.