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Man whose body found near burning car ID'd
Authorities don't suspect foul play in death
WEB 1 pilgrim Mill Circle JD
Pilgrim Mill Circle was closed Monday after firefighters called to a vehicle fire found a body next to the car. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 53-year-old man whose body was found Monday afternoon behind a burning vehicle northeast of Cumming.

The fire was reported about 1 p.m. and firefighters discovered the body after the flames had been put out. 

Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said that authorities are working to determine how William Joseph Barefoot died, though his death is not believed to be the result of foul play. 

The death is still under investigation and an autopsy is scheduled at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We really don’t know yet,” House said. “The medical examiner is going to have to do their autopsy … to find out what the cause of death is.”

Investigators do, however, have an idea how the car came to be in the ditch on Pilgrim Mill Circle, which is off Pilgrim Mill Road and near Lake Lanier and Ga. 400.

“What it appears to be … is that somebody might have backed out of a driveway over here, ran off the roadway [and] got stuck,” House said. “The car set on fire, and for whatever reason, the person is deceased.”

He added that there were signs that someone had tried to move the car after it got stuck. 

“You could see where the car is dug in, where it obviously ran off the road and the front end dug in trying to pull itself out,” he said.

Orlando Garcia, who lives nearby, saw the blaze.

“I saw this car that was actually backwards into the ditch, which seemed kind of strange,” he said.

“I went ahead and called 911. I couldn’t stop and do anything because there was already fire, it was burning pretty good.”


Staff writer Alyssa LaRenzie contributed to this report.