SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — Two victims discovered in a burning car in South Carolina this week were killed before the blaze engulfed the vehicle, officials announced Wednesday.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and Sumter County Coroner ruled the deaths homicides and determined a female victim suffered a gunshot wound to the head and a male victim suffered head trauma prior to the fire, Coroner Robbie Baker told news outlets.
The deaths had initially been reported as “suspicious” after authorities found the vehicle containing the bodies on fire on the side of a road Monday, the sheriff’s office said. Investigators think the blaze was intentionally set, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Adrienne Sarvis told news outlets.
The coroner’s office was performing DNA tests to try and determine the victims’ identities, Baker said in a statement Wednesday.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the sheriff’s office in Richland County, where the car was determined to be registered, are assisting the coroner and sheriff in the investigation, news outlets reported.