Woman set on fire: Body identified

Reporter Dana Palley

Update, Thurs 7:45 AM: Investigators come one step closer to figuring out how a young woman ended up at a local church set on fire.

Authorities identified the woman, but they won't release her name until they can find her family. We know she is between 15 and 25 years old from South Florida but not Palm Beach County.

Her body was discovered burning outside Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Church in Royal Palm Beach Sunday morning.

Authorities believe someone killed her before setting her on fire.

Previously: A sheriff's deputy, making his rounds, makes a horrifying discovery just feet from a local church. He found a woman's body on fire.

A deputy, driving by a church in Royal Palm Beach around 3:15 Sunday morning saw smoke coming from a wooded area. To his amazement, he found a woman's body on fire. The deputy grabbed an extinguisher and put it out, but the woman - said to be between 15 and 25 years old - was dead.

Associate Pastor Yves Teffrard, who lives on the property, says, "They knocked on the door. Father Andy and myself, we were going out to see what happened, but they wouldn't let us get near the body."

Detectives aren't sure if the victim was brought there alive and then burned or whether she was killed somewhere else and then dumped on the church property.

Early worshipers saw all the deputies as they came to church and were very upset to hear what happened.

Robert Duarte, church member, says, "It's a tragedy; it's sad especially at this time of the year."

Susan Duarte, church member, adds, "I was devastated because I couldn't believe someone could do something as horrible as that, so we all prayed for her, hope they will catch the person who did this."

The woman was clothed but did not have any identification on. Detectives say it's a white female between 15 and 25 years old. She has strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. She also has a 2-inch scar on her right elbow and a tattoo of a reddish flower on her lower back.

Sheriff's deputies are also looking for a maroon Ford Contour. Detectives say the driver is not a suspect, but someone who may know or have seen something.