Who Killed Melissa Runnels? Woman Whose Body Was Found Engulfed in Flames Was Shot Beforehand
A body found burning in the backyard of an abandoned home has been identified as belonging to a 20-year-old Indiana woman, who is now the subject of a homicide investigation after authorities say she was shot.
Early Friday morning, Indianapolis firefighters arrived at a vacant home thinking they were responding to a garage fire, according to WTTV.
Instead, the first responders found a body burning in the home’s backyard, the station reports.
The body had been burnt so badly, authorities originally could not tell whether it belonged to a male or female, according to Fox59.
Now, the Marion County Coroner’s Office has identified the remains as belonging to 20-year-old Melissa Runnels, a coroner official tells PEOPLE. According to an autopsy, Runnels had been fatally shot. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
“It’s very shocking. It’s disturbing. I never would have thought something would happen this close to home,” Shanay Pope, a neighbor of the home where Runnels’ body was found, told WTTV.
Shanay— who did not know Runnels— told the station the home had been empty for a year and a half.
Police got a search warrant for the home but didn’t find anything, according to Fox59.
Runnels’ mother told WTTV she believed her daughter had been hanging out with a bad crowd and her death is drug-related.
No arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers 317-262-TIPS.
Best Makeup Tips and Products to Boost Your Skin’s Radiance
Want your skin to look super radiant? Allure tapped four makeup artists who shared theirRead More
Elvis Duran Is Engaged to His Longtime Boyfriend — Watch the Romantic Proposal!
Elvis Duran is getting married! On Friday, the Z100 radio host’s longtime boyfriend Alex CarrRead More