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Police Investigate Body Found in Burning Vehicle


Minutes before 2 a.m. Friday, police responded to a vehicle fire in Estate LaGrange, Frederiksted, where they found the burned body of a man.

The deceased was identified through fingerprint analysis as 28-year-old Stephen Hodge of Aureo Diaz Heights housing community. It was the 18th homicide in the territory this year, the 12th on St. Croix. By this date in 2010 there had been 32 homicides in the territory.

Police and fire responded to the scene immediately and found the vehicle, an older model green Chevy Rodeo, engulfed in flames. The body was not discovered until the flames were extinguished.

Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives said the murder may be connected to a discharging of shots which may have occurred several hours earlier in Frederiksted town.

St. Croix Chief of Police Christopher Howell said the saturated patrol detail was very active in Frederiksted Thursday night into Friday morning making periodic patrols in the town, and was one of the first responders to the scene of the fire. He urged anyone who may have witnessed or has any information on this case to call the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 712-6075, 712-6037 or 712-6077, or call the anonymous tip service, Crime Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Police Commissioner Novelle E. Francis Jr. reminded the public that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of this murder suspect or any other murder suspect in a Virgin Islands case.


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