Missing Del. Man Found Stabbed, Bound in Burning Van

Police identify man found stabbed and bound inside a burning minivan in North Philly as the same man who went missing from Claymont, Del.

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    NBC10 Philadelphia
    Jan. 3, 2012: Investigators try to figure out what led to a man's body being found bound inside a burning minivan.

    A murder mystery and missing man case are connected.

    Philadelphia Police positively identified Friday the body of a man that was found bound inside a minivan in North Philadelphia late Wednesday night as belonging to a Claymont, Del. man who went missing earlier in the night.

    On Thursday, a Claymont, Del. woman told police that her boyfriend James Latham, 49, was missing. He was last seen at The Reef restaurant in Claymont, Del., where he was a regular, eating with a friend around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

    About five hours, Philadelphia firefighters responded to the 3300 block of N 19th Street to put out a Pontiac minivan fire.

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    Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said that after battling back the flames, firefighters found a man’s badly burned body in the backseat and called police. The victim was stabbed multiple times in the back and throat, police said.

    Police said Latham's ankles and wrists were bound with duct tape. On Friday they said that the apparent motive for the attack was robbery.

    On Thursday, detectives investigated a Claymont home and inspected tire tracks in the grass after neighbors say they heard a commotion there Wednesday night.

    Latham's family positively identified him Friday. Police say that the 49-year-old was known to police.

    Anyone with information on his murder should contact Philadelphia Police.


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