A torched body with a gunshot wound was found behind a Budget rental facility in Fort Myers has been identified by police as Eddie James Owens, 31. The body was so badly burned, witnesses said only a little bit of Owens shoes were recognizable.
NBC affiliate WBBH found Owens' stepmother, Shannon Adams, at the charred wall where the body was found. She said Owens was a cross-dresser who had been in and out of trouble with the law before.
"He's different but you know, everybody deserves to live their life the way they want," Shannon Adams told reporters.
Warehouse workers found Owen's remains on Thursday at 8 a.m. A witness nearby the rental facility said they heard screaming and yelling early that morning. Hank Morroni was returning a vehicle when he said he smelled something and saw the horrific scene.
"I just took one quick glance, there was a charred body. You couldn't recognize if it was male or female or anything and it was still smoldering," Morroni said.
Police believe this was an isolated incident and have opened a homicide investigation. To find more clues, police are looking at surveillance cameras belonging to warehouses surrounding the crime scene.
Owens has been arrested several times in Lee County including two times for prostitution, WBBH reported. Anyone with information is asked to call the Fort Myers Police Department at 239-321-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS or text message C-R-I-M-E-S (274637) Keyword FMPD.