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Bodies of Paul Walker, Roger Rodas too badly burned to be visually identified

Hundreds visit roadside memorial for Hollywood action star, Valencia business owner

Posted: December 1, 2013 3:00 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2013 3:00 p.m.

Children write messages on a canvas set against a burned tree trunk at the roadside memorial for actor Paul Walker in Valencia on Sunday. Walker is believed to have been a passenger in the car that crashed and burned on Saturday, Nov. 30 as a charity event at a nearby car shop was winding down. Photo by Ryan Fonseca/The Signal.

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Official identification of the bodies believed to be actor Paul Walker and Valencia business owner Roger Rodas could take days, an investigator from the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said Sunday.

The men are believed to be the victims of a fiery crash in Valencia’s Rye Canyon Business Park on Saturday afternoon.

“Due to the condition of the bodies from the fire ... they are not visually identifiable or identifiable by fingerprints,” said investigator Jerry McKibben.

This means the coroner's office will need to get dental or body X-rays to confirm the burned remains are those of Walker and Rodas.

“It’ll be a couple days,” McKibben said. “We have an idea of who it is, which should make it that much easier.”

In the meantime, flowers, candles and toy race cars continue to pile up at a roadside memorial at the scene of Saturday's crash on Hercules Street.

Parked cars lined the hill heading up the street in the industrial park and a long line of cars moved slowly uphill, looking for a place to park along the same route the Porsche Carrera GT was said to be travelling when it crashed.

Actor Tyrese Gibson, who starred alongside Walker in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, came to the memorial in Valencia on Sunday and was in tears, mourning the loss of his friend.

Santa Clarita resident Jian Pishehvar, 23, walked up to the snapped tree trunk the Porsche hit during the crash and laid flowers next to a paper cross and photo of Walker.

“I thought it would be the right thing to do,” Pishehvar said. “I knew (Walker) was from 'Fast and Furious' and I liked those movies. There must be a lot of people wanting to come see this.”

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s officials could not confirm it was Walker who died in the accident on Sunday, nor did they confirm the identity of Rodas as the other victim.

However Walker’s publicist confirmed Saturday that the 40-year-old actor did die in the crash.

Friends of Rodas told The Signal he died in the crash also. Social media postings also acknowledge Rodas as the other victim.

Rodas owns Valencia-based Always Evolving, a high-performance vehicle shop located a block away from the accident.

The business was holding a charitable function on Saturday to gather toys for children in the Philippines.

Jim Torp, an electrician from the Santa Clarita Valley, was at Saturday’s event with his son — who knew Rodas — when the accident happened.

“I heard the crash and I asked my son to get there because I knew these guys were in a car accident,” Torp said.

According to Torp, some of Rodas’ employees raced to the wreckage to try to extinguish it, but the flames were too massive.

“There was nothing they could do,” Torp said.

Ryan@SignalSCV.com
661-287-5539

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