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Burned skeleton found inside missing woman's car in Thonotosassa

THONOTOSASSA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation and a missing person investigation after finding a body burned beyond recognition inside a vehicle Sunday night, officials said.

The body was discovered inside a car parked at Taylor and Pruett roads about 6:30 p.m.

The car, a 2000 Nissan Maxima, belongs to Gwendolyn Belcher, who has been missing since Sunday, officials said.

When deputies interviewed Belcher's family and husband, Christopher Belcher, about her disappearance, they were told the couple had attended a birthday party Saturday and had an argument after returning home.

Christopher Belcher struck his wife across the face with an open hand, officials said. Deputies arrested Belcher, 43, early Monday and charged him with domestic violence. He is being held in Hillsborough County jail without bail, arrest records show.

Gwendolyn Belcher, 43, has not been seen since the party Saturday.

Sunday night, deputies found a skeleton in her car.

Detectives have been unable to determine whether the remains are those of a man or woman.

Deputies have asked the public's help in locating Belcher.

She is black, about 5 feet 1, 173 pounds, with black shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, black spandex pants and black and gold sandals.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.

Burned skeleton found inside missing woman's car in Thonotosassa 09/17/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 11:37pm]

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