VALLEY VILLAGE, Calif. (CBS) — The man whose body was found Aug. 31 in the trunk of a burned-out car in Valley Village was identified as a 50-year-old Van Nuys man whose death was not caused by the fire, police said today.

Officer Bruce Borihanh says Russell Rathert’s was found in the trunk of a vehicle burning under a Ventura Freeway overpass shortly before 3:30 a.m. Firefighters found the body after putting out the fire.

“The LAPD was notified, and responding officers determined that the death was of a suspicious nature,” police said in a statement. Unspecified evidence showed Rathert was dead before the car went up in flames.

Anyone with information about what occurred was urged to call North Hollywood homicide detectives at (818) 623-4075; or (877) LAPD-24-7.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  1. liliana hernandez says:

    this is a tragedy to the family or family friends.

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