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St. Petersburg police identify burned body as 31-year-old woman

Investigators were on the scene for hours last week, combing through the area for evidence.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The body of a 31-year-old woman found burned in an alleyway was identified Monday amid an ongoing investigation into a possible homicide.

Police responded during the early morning hours Thursday to assist the fire department in the alley behind Emerson Avenue S near 29th Street S. At the time, officials were not able to identify the person.

In an update, police say she has been identified as 31-year-old Heather Olmstead. Detectives say the woman's body was burned so bad, that she was unrecognizable but a fingerprint helped identify her.

"The call initially came in for the fire department," St. Petersburg Police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said last week. "Once they realized the fire was extinguished, they realized there was a burned body, and that's when they called police in to investigate."

Police say a large city trashcan was burning when first responders arrived. The body was on the ground nearby. Part of the investigation will include determining if an accelerant was used in the fire. 

This will help police determine if this is indeed a homicide case. 

"We're really asking anyone who might have seen or heard anything suspicious in that area last night to please call us so that we can go in the right direction," Fernandez said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780 or text SPPD plus the tip to TIP 411.

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