Charred body found in container identified

January 8, 2009 1:01:34 PM PST
A man whose body was found stuffed into a container and set on fire in a park in Berkeley on Dec. 30 has been identified as 48-year-old Richmond resident Peter Whigham, according to East Bay Regional Park District police.

Whigham also had a prior address in San Jose.

His body had been doused with an accelerant and set on fire at the head of a hiking trail in Eastshore State Park, about 30 yards west of Interstate Highway 80 and about a quarter-mile north of University Avenue, police said.

Commuters saw the blaze shortly after 6:30 a.m. and called authorities.

Berkeley firefighters responded first and put out the fire, but called police as soon as they discovered the body.

The Alameda County coroner's bureau used fingerprints and dental records to identify Whigham this morning, police said.

Police haven't yet released information about a possible motive for the killing, but said Whigham's car, a white 2000 Chevrolet van with license plate 6EMB905, and his dog, similar to a yellow Labrador retriever, were missing from his home.

Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Sgt. Tyrone Davis at (510) 881-1833. People who wish to remain anonymous can call the East Bay Regional Park District Confidential Tip line at (510) 690-6521.