Coroner IDs body found in burning pickup; no answers on how she died

News-DemocratApril 24, 2013 

— Investigators believe they have identified the body found in a burning pickup truck Friday, but there are still no answers as to how she died.

The Madison County Coroner has tentatively identified the badly burned body found in the truck as Evelyn June Walker, 82, of 303 Lakeside Drive in Godfrey.

Walker's body was found after a neighbor heard a loud noise and saw a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck on fire in a Godfrey driveway around noon and called 911. The fire was extinguished quickly, but the remains were not easily identified.

An autopsy was conducted and during the autopsy evidence of past surgeries was discovered and from that evidence Walker was able to be identified. Positive identification in the form of DNA comparison is still being sought but will take longer to complete, the coroner's office said Wednesday.

Madison County Capt. Mike Dixon said Walker's death was "unusual." So far there is no evidence of anything criminal, he said, but it cannot be ruled out.

Investigators have interviewed family members and witnesses, a St. Louis criminal pathologist assisted in the autopsy and state forensics experts were out examining the vehicle again on Wednesday.

The fire was "intense," incinerating the interior of the truck's cab, Dixon said. Samples have been sent to the state crime lab, but it may take months to get results.

The death remains under investigation by the Madison County Sheriff's Office as well as the Illinois State Police Crime Scene division. The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office continues to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Gent Funeral Home in Alton.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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