4:12 PM
Burned vehicle with body inside found near here

Authorities in Jasper County are conducting a death investigation after a body was found inside a burnt vehicle yesterday morning near the Stones Corner boat access at Highway 43 and County Lane 251.

Sheriff's Captain Derek Walrod says they received a call about a car on fire about 9 a.m. and by the time they got to the scene the car was fully engulfed in flames.  It took firefighters about 10 minutes to extinguish the blaze. 
"They're were no visible wounds to the body.  It appears an accelerant was used, but since we don't know what happened were treating the investigation the same way we would a homicide investigation," said Walrod. 
All physical evidence was destroyed in the blaze and investigators are trying to piece together what happened from the time the vehicle was seen entering the conservation area about 8 a.m. until they received the phone call about the fire.
Walrod says the car was a 90's model Chevy Caprice, "We think we know who it is and who the car belongs to but we're waiting on confirmation from the findings from the autopsy in Columbia tomorrow."

UPDATE 03-04-11:

Andy Mason (left) was a life coach (courtesy Carthage Press)
Sheriff Archie Dunn says investigators believe the body found in a burning car earlier this week is Andrew Donald Mason, 41, 221 S. Pearl Ave., Joplin.

Dunn said investigators have found no evidence of foul play and no evidence of the involvement of anyone else in Mason's death and an autopsy performed in Columbia found no wounds to the body.  "It appears that he was having some personal problems," says Dunn.

Mason's mother, who lives in England, and other family and friends have not heard from Mason since the discovery of the body. 

Dunn says a forensic odontologist will help in the identification.