Emma Hernandez was scouring her usual spot near the dead end of Scranton Street looking for cans and scrap metal Wednesday, but her routine was interrupted by a police investigation.
"A body over there," she said in shock.
HPD homicide investigators say the partially burned body of the unidentified woman was found in a vacant field Thursday night. Workers at a nearby business say it was a small fire captured on surveillance cameras that first caught the eye of an outside security company. A guard there called 911. But it wasn't until firefighters arrived that authorities realized it was a woman's body on fire.
One neighbor says she didn't see anything but won't forget the smell.
"I couldn't figure out what the smell was. I've never smelled that before," she said.
"This is a dead end street so no one comes up and down this street," said nearby resident Albert Reyna.
Right now, police say they don't have much to go on but they do believe someone may have dumped the woman's body then set it on fire. For neighbors on this dead end street, it is unimaginable.
"I pray to God to get it out of my head because I am hurting for her," said one neighbor.
"I am scared," said Hernandez.
Investigators say they believe the woman was clothed and they also believe she was not homeless. So far, they say they do not know who she is or how she died. They are asking anyone with any information to give authorities a call.