GARY, Ind. (STMW) — A northwest Indiana homicide victim is, for now, “John Doe” — a body found in the trunk of a burned-out car at the dead-end of a block of vacant, burned-out homes and overgrown, weedy lots in Gary.

A police officer patrolling in Midtown on Monday saw the charred, metal shell left on 27th Avenue near Maryland Street, just north of Interstate 94, Gary police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King said.

In the trunk, the officer saw two stiff legs, pointed upright out of the back.

Residents who live one block west on Delaware Street said they’d see the car there last week, but the body was a more recent addition.

Investigators say it appears the victim is male and suffered numerous stab wounds.

Chief Wade Ingram was on the scene and said he intended to ask the FBI-led Gang Response Investigative Team to assist with identifying the victim and to look at any similarities in a string of recent homicides in the Midtown area.

Leviticus Dupree, 62, and his wife, Toshiba, 54, were found stabbed to death Friday in their home, in the 2500 block of Delaware Street, which less than three blocks from the latest slaying. In May, Jovan Jackson, 22, was shot to death in his SUV, which was parked outside the Duprees’ house. Investigators say the Dupree home was a suspected center of drug activity.

Ingram noted the Halloween shooting death of Terence Farmer, 57, on Georgia Street just blocks east and across the Borman Expressway from where the body and car were found on Monday could be tied to drug activity and at least one other may have drug ties as well. He said perhaps GRIT investigators can help his department make those connections.

Sgt. Dan Callahan is leading the investigation into what has been classified as the 48th homicide of the year. Anyone with information about the victim can call Callahan at 545-4952.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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