Leland woman died from smoke inhalation, investigators still seeking information

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Investigators have confirmed 49-year old Valerie Burns was the woman whose body was found in a burning vehicle early Wednesday morning.

Burns died from smoke inhalation, chief deputy Charlie Miller said Friday. But investigators are still asking for the community’s help.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said they’re seeking information about Burns’ whereabouts—who she was last with, where she was last seen, where her 1994 Buick Regal was heading—before they discovered her body.

“We suspect foul play,” Ingram said.

“We are looking for help in the community. Anyone who may have seen Ms. Burns or the vehicle, please give us any information; contact us here at the sheriff’s office. Any information they can give us would be very helpful,” Ingram said.

At 3:43 a.m., the Brunswick County 911 Center received a call about a vehicle fire from a resident in the 300 Block of Goodland Road in Leland.

Miller described the area where the body was found as “a pretty good size residential” area, but said no homes were threatened by the blaze.

When firefighters from the Winnabow Fire Department and a sheriff’s deputy responded to the call, they discovered a vehicle burning on a dirt road about 50 yards off Goodland Road.

They also discovered a woman—investigators later confirmed was Burns—dead inside the vehicle.

The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the sheriff’s office are investigating the fire and the death.

Anyone with information, or who may have seen Burns or her 1995 gray Buick Regal is asked to call Lt. Sam Davis at the sheriff’s office, 253-2777.

A reward is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Check back for more information as the story develops.

To read the full story, pick up next week’s issue of the Beacon.