Man set on fire dies along Myakka City road, deputies say

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Authorities responded to a gruesome scene in rural Manatee County involving a burned body late Wednesday night.

Before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said a witness saw a man on fire on the west side of MJ Road in Myakka City.

First responders extinguished the flames, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies now believe the man was dead before he was set on fire.

“The body is burned enough where it is making the process of identifying this person very difficult. It’s going to take some time,” explained Randy Warren with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

So far, deputies believe the man is a black male, in his late teens or early 20s. They are investigating his death as a homicide.

They aren't sure how the man's body ended up at that location.

Prudence Baxter owns the land right next to where the burned body was found.

“Right here, why? Who? How disgusting. It’s not something you want to wake up to and find this is happening basically in my very backyard,” Baxter said.

Deputies hope somebody saw something that will help identify their victim and his killer.

“It seems like somebody that doesn’t know the area very well,” observed resident Larry Blanton. “Obviously dumping it in this area is very strange. There’s a lot of people in this area for a small-knit community where everybody knows everybody.”

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at  (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477.