A South Lake Tahoe man has been identified as the victim of a suspected homicide in Phoenix, Ariz., that took place late last month.
About 6 a.m. July 28, firefighters battling a brush fire near the intersection of Interstate 17 and Dixileta Drive in Phoenix discovered a badly burned body, said Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Tommy Thompson.
The body has been identified as that of Matthew McMaster, 24, Thompson said. The investigation into the death is ongoing. It is being treated as a homicide. No arrests have been made in the case, Thompson said.
Police said they have received reports that a dark colored, possibly black, four-door SUV may have left the scene of the fire with its lights off.
McMaster was born and raised at the South Shore. He moved to Arizona in April to attend motorcycle mechanic's school, said his father, South Shore resident Barry McMaster.
McMaster planned on returning to the Tahoe area after finishing his education, according to his father. Matthew McMaster grew up playing sports and he loved animals, the outdoors and living at the lake, Barry McMaster said.
The avid skier and snowboarder, who would have turned 25 this month, was also very good at making friends, according to his father.
"When he met a stranger, he saw a potential friend," McMaster said.
"He was a real Tahoe local," McMaster added. "Everybody knew him."
Toby Sharp, Mathew McMaster's half brother, said the same.
"He was a friend to everybody," Sharp said. "Just a fun-loving kid."
McMaster was trying to better himself when tragedy struck, Sharp added.
"He was literally doing the best of his entire life at the end," McMaster added.
Family members do not have all of the details of the investigation and are waiting for an arrest in the case, Sharp said.
"There's still a lot of information we don't really know yet," Sharp said. "We're still kind of waiting on it."
- The Associated Press contributed to this story.