LODI (CBS13) – Police are investigating a homicide in Lodi after a body was discovered after a house fire. It happened on West Vine Street on Sunday afternoon. An autopsy by San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office determined the man had been stabbed to death before the fire.
“Oh, I’m shocked and it’s tragic,” said Karen Davis, who lives a few houses away from the home. “I’m really surprised. We haven’t seen crime like that here.”
The Lodi Fire Department responded to a call about the fire around 1:44 p.m.
“Upon our arrival, the fire was already so intense that we couldn’t get close to the building,” said Officer Jerry Bahr with the Lodi Police Department.
It took about 10 minutes to contain it but once they did, firefighters were able to enter the home. That’s when they discovered the body of a deceased male inside. Lodi Police Department has taken over the investigation and is working with arson investigators to figure out what caused the fire.
“It’s very sad,” Davis said. “These are older people in the neighborhood so you know we don’t expect that kind of problem. We have kids across the street at the schoolyard most of the time and no trouble.”
Tom Sarefield told CBS13 he’s known the victim for years and was shocked to learn of his friend’s death.
“He was everybody’s best friend for the longest time,” he said. “Everybody got along with him.”
Neighbors told CBS13 the victim was nice, quiet, and didn’t have too many visitors. Sarefield said his friend kept to himself at times but didn’t think he had any enemies.
“Just want to find out who this person was because there’s nobody in this town who would want to do something like that,” Sarefield said.
According to investigators, the incident doesn’t appear to be gang related but they haven’t said if they have any suspects or motives in mind. San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office has not made an identification yet and is still trying to determine the next of kin. If you have any information, you can call Lodi Police Department at (209) 369-2746.