Not long after Santa Barbara County firefighters put out a small blaze yesterday alongside Highway 101 about six miles south of Buellton, authorities made a grisly discovery: the charred remains of an unidentified body.
According to Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars, CHP got a call at around 4:15 a.m. Thursday morning of a fire near the northbound lanes of Highway 101 on the Nojoqui Grade, 1.5 miles north of the Highway 1 exit. Not long after the fire was doused, said Sugars, the severely burned body of what appeared to be an adult man was discovered in the brushfire’s remnants. There reportedly wasn’t a car nearby, and it’s not clear how the person wound up there.
Because of the suspicious nature of the incident, said Sugars, detectives and forensic personnel were called in to investigate the scene. Authorities closed the far right northbound lane of the 101 for the day while crews gathered evidence, but opened the road back up at around 6 p.m. As of press time, the body has not been identified and the coroner’s office plans to conduct an autopsy today.
The Sheriff’s Department, said Sugars, is asking anyone with information about the incident to call detectives at (805) 963-6170 or the anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171.