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Woman Enters Burning SUV With Small Child, Killing Them Both

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A woman carried a toddler into an SUV that was engulfed in flames Thursday night, killing the child and herself, authorities say.

According to City News Service, a car fire was reported in front of Athens Park in South L.A. around 9:45 p.m., and after L.A. County firefighters put out the blaze, they found the bodies of the woman and child. Witnesses told the L.A. County Sheriff's Department that the woman and the small child, who was between the ages of three or four, were standing near the flaming SUV, and that the woman "kept getting in and out of the flaming vehicle."

Sheriff's officials told the L.A. Times that the woman then placed the toddler into the SUV, and got into the car herself. "People in the park yelled for her to get out of the car, but she ignored them," said officials. "The adult woman and child were quickly overcome by the flames and were pronounced dead at the scene."

According to ABC-7, the coroner's office will be examining the bodies—which were "charred beyond recognition," as the Times notes—in an attempt to determine their identities.

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Witnesses told KTLA that the car had been parked on W. 124th Street for awhile, and Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff's Dept. said, "It does look like she was living out of the car."

While the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Corina said that it began in the SUV's engine compartment, but that the car hadn't been running when the fire started. He also said that it's not yet clear if the fire was started by the woman, or if it was mechanical.