published Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Burned body found in Franklin County; vehicle sought

CONTACT AUTHORITIES

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at 931-967-2331 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-824-3463 (1-800-TBI-FIND).

Franklin County and state authorities are seeking a vehicle in the apparent slaying of a 24-year-old Tullahoma, Tenn., woman whose body was found early Monday still burning on the side of the road, officials said.

Authorities issued a bulletin Monday for the victim's missing red 1995 Ford Mustang bearing Tennessee license plate number 533-SBB, Franklin County Sheriff's Office Detective Chris Guess said Monday afternoon.

The victim's name had not been released as of late Monday.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Jason Locke said the state agency is assisting Franklin County officers but he said he could not elaborate on agents' findings so far.

Guess said that deputies answered a call about 1:18 a.m. CDT Monday from a motorist who had spotted what was thought to be a grass fire near the Awalt Bridge northwest of Winchester, Tenn.

But when the driver turned around to check it out, a still-burning body was found in the flaming grass, Guess said.

The body was in a grassy area near a narrow pull-off on the north side of Awalt Road near the west end of the bridge over Tims Ford Lake, he said.

Officers found no vehicles in the area, he said, but he would not discuss details regarding weapons, other injuries or whether anything else was found at the roadside crime scene.

So far, investigators are not saying much about any suspects early in the probe.

"It's going to take a little while for [investigating officers] to get their feet on the ground," Guess said, and more information probably will be released today.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at www.facebook.com/benbenton1 or follow him at twitter.com/BenBenton on Twitter.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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