PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Phoenix police are investigating a bizarre discovery at an Ahwatukee-area home, and they're treating it like a homicide.

Phoenix police said human remains have been discovered inside the home in a neighborhood near 48th Street and Ray Road.

[WATCH: Neighbors disturbed by discovery]

Police said Friday afternoon that the remains are those of a man who has not been identified.

[PHOTOS: Human remains discovered in burned-out Ahwatukee home]

As our chopper flew over the scene Thursday, you could see a huge, burned-out hole in the roof. Looking down into the home, the fire damage was apparent.

The front of the home was boarded up, but the real damage was apparent from the aerial shots.

[RAW VIDEO: Humans remains found in Ahwatukee home]

We're told the home caught fire on March 19, 2017.

"The neighbor knocked on the door, there's a fire! Get out, get out!" said Peter Maloof, who lives behind the home.  

Shortly after the fire, another neighbor reported the resident, 59-year-old Gary Lee Duffield, missing.

The home was never repaired.

The house had recently been sold, and the new owner had called out a work crew to clean up the house so it could be rebuilt.

[WATCH: Resident vanished after 2017 fire]

"They had orders to tear down and rebuild it and I said, 'Great, it's been an eyesore for the longest time' and then they stopped coming. I couldn't figure out why," said Maloof.  

On April 3, of the crew members discovered bones in the house. At first, the workers thought they were animal bones, but it was later determined that they were human remains, and the workers called police.

It's unknown how long the remains have been in the house.

"It's strange. It's very strange," neighbors say.

Those who live nearby say they can't understand why it took so long for these remains to be found.

"What makes this so strange is that it caught fire so long ago and nobody found anything and now they've found skeletal remains," said neighbor Donna Westermann.

"It just doesn't make sense for the fire department not to go into house and clear it out when it burned down like that," said neighbor Trevor Lewis. "You'd think they would have found the body sooner."

Neighbors say Duffield had lived in the house with his mother since the 1980s. People who live in the area say that his mother died before the fire.  

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner will examine the remains to determine the victim's identity and cause of death.

The Phoenix Police Department says it is investigating the case as a homicide.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(6) comments

Born in AZ

Um... toward the end of the article it read that neighbors say Duffield lived in the house since the 1980's. A simple search reveals the house was built in 1990 and purchased in 1991. How were they there since the 80's???

Dean

Since the owner disappeared after the fire you can bet it is him and the firefighters messed up and did not find the body two years ago. Of course they will never admit it.

WayneS

Can't see how they missed it, I'm sure there were fire investigators and insurance adjusters there too. Body must have came later!

Dean

That is the point - they should not have missed it but did. Now they are trying to find a way to cover it up. Just wait that body is the missing homeowner.

tuazo

Transient/homeless maybe had gotten in there and then there was a structural collapse.

MyOwnMind

such an idiot, disclose your knowledge to know the truth. morons are us is having a meeting tonight.

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