Sioux County Sheriff

Sheriff Altena updates death investigation involving body found in burned vehicle

Investigation update from Sheriff Altena

The victim of the vehicle fire on October 2 has been identified as Rudolph Martinez, age 78, from Hawarden, IA.

Upon further investigation the sheriff’s office was able to determine that the victim most likely had a medical incident, which caused him to leave the roadway he was traveling on. His vehicle then came to a stop in a cornfield, which had been chopped. The field and ultimately the vehicle started on fire with the victim inside.

At this time foul play is not suspected.

Initial Press Release

On Friday, October 2, at 8:57 p.m., the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of a vehicle on fire that occurred one-quarter mile into a corn field, one and one-half miles north of Ireton, IA.

Upon further investigation, responders discovered a 2007 Jeep Commander fully engulfed by fire. The body of a person was discovered inside the Jeep. The person was pronounced dead at the scene by the Sioux County Medical Examiner.

The body was transported to the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, IA for an autopsy. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of relatives.

The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Ireton Ambulance and Ireton Fire Department.