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Local News

Body found inside burning car behind Habanero restaurant in Joliet: fire chief

A body was found inside a car that was on fire behind the Habanero restaurant in Joliet, according to the Joliet fire chief.

About 5:20 a.m. Saturday, crews with the Joliet Fire Department were sent to the parking lot behind the Mexican restaurant at 1508 Essington Road and found a car on fire, said Joliet Fire Chief Greg Blaskey.

After the fire crews extinguished the blaze, they found a body inside the car, Blaskey said.

Blaskey referred further questions on the incident to the Joliet Police Department because that agency is investigating the matter.

Joliet police Lt. Christopher Botzum said officers responded around 5:20 a.m. Saturday to the 1500 block of Essington Road in reference to a vehicle on fire.

Botzum said once the fire was put out, a deceased male was located inside. He said “more information will be released when it becomes available.”

When asked about the incident, Will County Chief Deputy Coroner Laurie Summers would only say that information would be posted on the Facebook page for the Will County Coroner’s Office.

“If there’s anything, it will be on the press release Facebook page,” Summers said.

Margarita Banda said it was her son John Banda, 34, of Joliet who was found dead in the burned out car.

Margarita Banda said she was told by police detectives that they believe the car exploded due to the presence of vehicle parts scattered about the scene. She said there might have been an issue with the car.

She said her son was a single father with two daughters, ages 6 and 7.

“He adored the hell out of them,” Margarita Banda said.

She said John Banda was a good man who was loved and adored by his family.

“He was one the guys who had your back,” Margarita Banda said. “If it was something, he had your back.”

When asked about whether the car exploded, Botzum said it was still early in the police investigation.

“The cause of the fire will be thoroughly investigated,” he said.

On Sunday, multiple flowers were laid on the ground of the damaged asphalt behind Habanero.

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