By Rebekah Riess and Ashley R. Williams, CNN
(CNN) — Authorities discovered the burning body of an Alabama woman who went missing while reportedly heading to make a Facebook Marketplace purchase, according to Birmingham police.
The woman, identified as Jermiera Ivory Fowler, 31, had not been seen since the afternoon of May 31, police said in a news release Thursday.
Birmingham police said they are now investigating the case as a homicide.
Officers responded Thursday after 9 p.m. to a report of a burning body. Law enforcement and the Birmingham Fire Department found an unresponsive woman on fire, according to the release.
A Google Maps street view of where she was discovered showed a short, dead-end road between fenced backyards and a wooded area.
After Birmingham Fire Rescue personnel extinguished the flames, officers found “visible signs of trauma” on the victim, the release said.
The fire department pronounced Fowler dead, and it was later discovered she had been shot, police said.
Birmingham resident Herbert Brown told CNN affiliate WVTM he was in disbelief about burning incident that occurred behind his home.
“I thought, Lord, who would do something like this?” Brown told WVTM.
He spotted flames from his bedroom window and assumed someone was burning garbage, he said, according to WVTM.
“I (went) out there with a big flashlight and I (looked) over the fence, and there was this body on fire,” Brown told WVTM.
Authorities say they have not made an arrest in connection with Fowler’s murder. Police could not confirm that her death stemmed from an online purchase meetup, according to the release.
The Birmingham Police Department noted Fowler’s death marks the city’s 50th murder investigation of 2023, the release stated.
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