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Body found burned beyond recognition, identified

Published On: Jan 07 2014 07:44:54 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 11:17:25 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

Tuesday afternoon, Shasta County Sheriff’s Major Crimes investigators positively identified the body found burned in Millville on Nov. 3, as 31-year-old Eric Ratledge. Investigators have called this death a homicide and had previously called the death suspicious. Ratledge was identified through DNA analysis.

Just after 7 a.m. Nov. 3, 2013, CAL FIRE crews were dispatched to reports of a grass fire in the 8800 block of Bass Pond Drive in Millville.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a 1998 Dodge pickup truck engulfed in flames. Crews set to work, extinguishing the pickup fire. That’s when firefighters spotted human remains in the truck’s bed and contacted Shasta County Sheriff’s investigators.

Stefanie Bowser, who lives across the street from where the fire was reported, spoke to KRCR News Channel 7 just after the body was found.

"We came out of our house and all we saw were flames," said Bowser.

She explained then, how the area is normally quiet, "hardly anything ever happens out here so it's very out of character for the area."

Officials were unable to determine the color of the vehicle due to the extent of damage caused by the fire. Flames spread to vegetation in the area, covering nine acres according to CAL FIRE.

Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said further details regarding Ratledge’s cause of death are pending due to the completion of autopsy.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance and requesting anybody with information regarding the death of Ratledge to contact the Sheriff’s Office or Secret Witness. Currently, there is a $10,000.00 reward for credible information related to Ratledge’s death.