Chatham officials investigating death of man who caught fire

From staff reportsOctober 15, 2012 

— Chatham County officials are trying to identify the remains of a man who died after he caught fire Sunday night.

“There is no indication at this point that the man died at the hands of anyone else,” Chief Deputy Gary Blankenship of the Chatham County Sheriff’s office said in a release. Investigators are looking into the possibility of an accident or suicide.

Deputies dispatched to Bells Church fishing access at about 10: 30 p.m. spoke with several people who were fishing on the pier who told them they had seen a large flame and heard a scream coming from the upper parking lot, according to the release.

“Several witnesses came up to the upper parking and observed a man on fire,” Blankenship said. “The witnesses attempted to put the fire out but could not save the subject”. No vehicle or person was seen leaving the area during the incident.

Investigators do not think the incident is related to the homicide that occurred at Chicken Bridge last week.

In that case, the Sheriff’s Office is trying to determine whether a body found Wednesday morning near the bridge in northern Chatham County is that of a Siler City woman reported missing Thursday.

An autopsy was done Thursday afternoon at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill, but a cause of death had not been determined, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The body is a white woman, with dark hair, estimated to be 25 to 35 years old, with multiple tattoos on her arms and legs.

Family members of Daphne Forster, 38, of Siler City reported her missing Thursday afternoon. She was last seen Tuesday night in Pittsboro.

Forster is white with long dark hair and multiple tattoos. She was last seen driving a blue 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier with North Carolina license plate number WVY6036, which has not been found.

The sheriff’s office is working to identify characteristics on the body found with those of Forster.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information on this case to call Detective Will Summers at 919-542-2911.

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