Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Burned body behind Port Richey theater identified as Tampa man

PORT RICHEY — Pasco deputies have identified the man whose burned body was found last week in some shrubs behind the Regal Hollywood 18 movie theater.

Harshad Harishchandra Kharunkar, 36, had a last known address at 4014 W Waters Ave. in Tampa, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Someone walking in the woods on the morning of Sept. 4 found Kharunkar's body behind the theater at Cinema and Scenic drives.

Kharunkar is originally from Mumbai, India. The scene of his death had some "cultural nuances that led us to believe he may have done this on his own accord," said sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin, invoking that the death may have been a case of self-immolation.

The Medical Examiner is still determining the exact cause of death. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said it is investigating the case as a possible suicide and that Kharunkar likely died sometime the night of Sept. 1.

He said authorities will not rule out the possibility of a homicide until the investigation is closed.

Kharunkar's car, a gray Toyota Camry, was found about 100 feet away from his body.

Kharunkar's body was found 80 percent burned. Investigators matched his fingerprints with those taken for his work visa to identify him.

Check back with tampabay.com for updates.

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