Firefighters made a grisly discovery while putting out a brush fire near the Plaza Bonita Mall Wednesday afternoon.
As crews were battling the flames, they discovered a charred body in the brush.
National City Police say the body was so badly burned, they can’t tell if the victim was male or female.
The two-alarm fire started around 12:30 p.m. in the 3000 block of Plaza Bonita Road along the riverbed. The body was found around 2 p.m. about 100 yards west of the command post, according to police.
At this point, it is unknown if the victim died after getting caught in the fire, or if the person died under suspicious circumstances and the fire was set to cover up the crime.
Officials have not released the cause of the fire. However, there is a homeless encampment in the riverbed where the fire could have accidentally sparked.
No evacuations were issued. The mall remained open during the incident, except for a parking lot above the fire.
Firefighters from San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Bonita and San Miguel all responded.
Check back for updates on this developing story.