PULASKI COUNTY, KY (The Commonwealth Journal) – A burned body was discovered in a vehicle on Rush Branch Road, prompting an investigation by the Pulaski County Major Crimes Task Force.
According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 6:45 a.m., deputies responded to a 911 call regarding a vehicle fire in the 3500 block of Rush Branch Road,
Volunteer fire personnel from the Haynes Knob Fire Department arrived at the scene and extinguished the blaze, which was fully involved upon their arrival. Inside the 1997 Ford Escort LX, according to the sheriff’s office, a grisly discovery was made by Sgt. Cory York and fire personnel — the burned remains of a male subject.
Somerset Police Department (SPD) Capt. Mike Correll said that evidence at the scene indicated the possibility of foul play. The Pulaski County Major Crimes Task Force — made up of local law enforcement agencies, including the Somerset and Burnside police departments, the sheriff’s office, and Kentucky State Police — was notified and an investigation was begun.
A short time after beginning the death investigation, officers began receiving tips advising that a man by the name of Arturo had killed a man named Jorge Martinez, according to Somerset Police. Further investigation revealed that “Arturo” was an alias allegedly used by Humberto Mesa-Vasquez, 34, of 431 South Main Street in Somerset.
Officers went to that address and located Mesa-Vasquez and two other Hispanic males; Mesa-Vasquez was found wearing clothing that had blood stains on them, according to SPD.
All three individuals were driven to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office for questioning, and a search warrant was executed on the South Main Street address. The investigation and evidence located at the scene and the South Main Street address allowed police to determine that the victim had been killed at 431 South Main and was taken to the Rush Branch area, according to SPD.
In addition to the evidence, statements were given to detectives that further implicated Mesa-Vasquez, said SPD.
Mesa-Vasquez was charged with the murder of Jorge Martinez, in addition to first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence, and abuse of a corpse.
SPD Detective Larry Patterson arrested the suspect and he was transported to the Pulaski County Detention Center by Officer Jordan Miller.
The body was removed from the scene and transported the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy. Strunk said he expects to receive autopsy results on Monday.
Assisting units at the scene were the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team, which mitigated a fuel leak from the car, and Ferguson and White Lily Volunteer Fire Departments.
Assisting in the investigation were the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office, the Haynes Knob Fire Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.