UPDATE: Homicide victim with burned out truck identified

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who was killed in a wooded area behind the Vero Fashion Outlet mall.

The man, whose body was found a quarter-mile from a burned-out pickup truck, has been identified as Gerhard Bruns, 55, of the 300 block of 66th Avenue, Vero Beach.

The Sheriff’s Office is continuing its homicide investigation of Bruns, who was found in a wooded area known to law enforcement as Keg Lake.

The agency was notified at 8:10 Monday morning by utility workers of a smoldering vehicle in the 9800 block of 12th Street, west of Interstate 95 and south of the Vero Fashion Outlet.

The workers also discovered the body, described as a fully clothed, white male in his 50s.

Officials believe Bruns, whose body showed no signs of trauma or of being burned, is the owner of the burned out pickup truck.

An autopsy is expected to be conducted today.

Crime scene investigators are still processing and collecting evidence at the scene.

“They’re working extremely hard,” Loar said, later adding, “You’ve got to be thorough when you deal with any homicide.”

He could not say if the man had been fleeing the site of the truck when he died or what had compelled him to travel so far from the vehicle.

Despite recent calls for service in the neighborhood south of the outlet mall, Sheriff Loar said investigators do not believe this to be connected to any other activity the department is looking into.

The area the man and vehicle were found in is known as Keg Lake for the reason that teens often hang out in the area to drink, according to Loar. Also, many ATVs go off-roading in the area, he said.

He added that this particular case is “nothing that should alarm the public” or the neighbors.

Authorities have identified a person of interest, a male in his 20s, who was arrested in the area wearing only his underwear and wandering in the area disturbing neighbors. Investigators believe that the man might have some information pertaining to the case. He is not a suspect.

The Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information to call the department at (772) 978-6118 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-237-TIPS.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Originally published: Monday at 11:55 a.m.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment