Body found in burned vehicle is that of missing person, homicide team says
Randy Joseph Chan, 23, is shown in an image provided by the Coquitlam RCMP.
VANCOUVER -- A body found in a burned vehicle earlier this week is that of a missing person, police say.
The remains were identified as those of 23-year-old Randy Joseph Chan.
The 23-year-old was the subject of a media advisory earlier this week. Mounties in Coquitlam asked the public for help to locate Chan, who they said has a "significant" history with police.
At the time, they said his last known location was unclear, but they believed there were people in his social circle that had inside information on his disappearance.
RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said those people may be reluctant to speak to police, but urged them to come forward.
"Police know that some people are trying to solve Chan's disappearance on their own, but you could be adding to a cycle of violence," McLaughlin said in a news release Monday.
Chan was publicly identified Friday as the victim of the incident in Burnaby, though few details have been provided beyond his name.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is investigating, and asks anyone with more information to contact them.
Chan's body was found in a burned-out vehicle at a South Burnaby towing lot, and had likely been in the vehicle for a week before being discovered.
Burnaby Mounties were called to Mundie’s Towing and Recovery on Thorne Avenue Wednesday after human remains were found in a vehicle. Homicide investigators were quickly called in.
IHIT says the vehicle had been discovered on fire in Burnaby just a few kilometres away, on Meadow Avenue, the previous Wednesday.
Video from the night of July 22 shows both RCMP and Vancouver police at the fire scene, with a badly burned vehicle being towed out of a grassy area.
"The vehicle sustained such significant damage that police were unable to immediately complete a thorough examination," Const. Harrison Mohr with IHIT said in a news release on Thursday.
"The vehicle was subsequently taken to a tow yard in Burnaby, to allow the hazardous gases associated with a recently burned vehicle time to subside prior to further inspection."
The body was found Wednesday, a week after the vehicle was brought in, by an ICBC inspector during an examination.
"Depending on the extent of the fire damage, particularly in car fires where accelerants such as gas are present, it is not always immediately evident that there are human remains present," Burnaby RCMP Supt. Graham de la Gorgendiere said in a statement issued by IHIT.
"The Burnaby RCMP will conduct a review of the actions taken by the arson investigator and determine whether any practices or procedures may be improved upon."
RCMP also returned to the scene of the original car fire on Thursday. Officers taped off a grassy area, including a patch that had been burned.
The RCMP's Forensic Search and Evidence Recovery Team was at the towing yard much of Thursday, and IHIT said they would be "meticulously going through the debris piece by piece."
"They will be looking to try to identify the human remains found inside, and to search for any evidence left behind by the suspects," Mohr said.