Police don’t know why a Melbourne father of five was murdered and put into the boot of his car before it was set alight.
Kenan Balikel, 42, was found in the burnt out Peugeot at Diggers Rest on Friday, just two days after his wife gave birth to their fifth child.
The Footscray man, who bought the vehicle as part of his used car business, had to be identified using his fingerprints.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said Mr Balikel was known to police, but had no serious history.
“We don’t know the motive for this crime,” he told reporters on Monday.
“He has had a couple of offences in relation to his car dealing.
“I think they’re handling stolen goods. Nothing too serious.”
Homicide squad detectives say Mr Balikel was last seen about 3pm (AEDT) on Thursday, having driven his white Mercedes Sprinter to Freight Road, Tullamarine.
The unregistered grey 2006 Peugeot 407 he bought as a wreck and restored was being fixed by a mechanic associate in the same street, and was last seen about 9.30pm.
Mr Balikel’s body was found in the vehicle about 12.20am on Friday.
Det Sen Sgt Bailey said Mr Balikel is believed to have died before the fire, but would not go into detail on his injuries.
“The forensic testing and pathology show no carbon monoxide in his system and no sooting in his lungs which would strongly tend to indicate that he was dead before the fire,” he said.
Police believe more than one person may have been involved in the murder, given the remote location where Mr Balikel’s body was found.
“Once the car was set on fire (the offender) had to get out of that secluded area,” Det Sen Sgt Bailey said.
“For him to do that you would think that he had an accomplice who may have driven him out of the area.”
Det Sen Sgt Bailey said none of Mr Balikel’s family, including his wife, children and parents who all lived together, had reported any issues or concerns with Mr Balikel in the lead up to his death.
“This has come totally out of the blue and they’re absolutely devastated as a result of his death,” he said.