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Person found dead in car fire
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A person was found dead in the passenger seat of a car on fire near Ballico on Sunday.

Just before 7 a.m. Sunday Merced County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene of a vehicle on fire on Sante Fe Drive, between Sunny Acres Drive and Pepper Avenue.

After the fire was extinguished, a person was discovered in the passenger side of the vehicle, burned beyond recognition. There was evidence of a traffic accident, however, after meeting with the California Highway Patrol, information led sheriff's investigators to believe there may be more to the incident other than an accident. At this point, Merced detectives are keeping all options open and are awaiting results of the autopsy and following any leads that come in.

The identity of the victim could not be established due to damage from the fire. Cal Fire responded and determined no accelerant was used to start the fire.