Coroner: death of man whose body was found burning on Altadena sidewalk ruled a suicide

ALTADENA — The previously mysterious death of a man found bound and on fire on an Altadena sidewalk in April has been ruled a suicide, coroner’s officials said Friday.
A passer-by first reported seeing the body of a man — later identified as 70-year-old transient Emmitt Lee Zinn — engulfed in flames on a sidewalk in the 2600 block of North Windsor Avenue about 6 a.m. April 15, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators.
Zinn’s legs were bound, and a ligature was found around one of his wrists, according to coroner’s officials.
An investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner determined Zinn’s death was a “suicide by thermal burns,” coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said.
After an autopsy failed to determine how Zinn died, further forensic tests on the body were ordered, a process that generally takes six to eight weeks. But it was more than five months before an official cause of death was determined.
Homicide detectives previously said their investigation hinged on the coroner’s findings. The detective working the case could not be reached for comment Friday.
Authorities described Zinn as a transient with ties to Pasadena. A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records indicated he had no criminal convictions other than driving without a license and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Residents of the neighborhood where the burning body was found did not report seeing or hearing anything unusual prior to the discovery.
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