PD: Man found in trunk of Phoenix car was burned alive as car was rolling

Posted at 12:22 PM, Apr 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-18 20:51:08-04

Two men have been arrested for the murder of Dustin Jones who was burned alive in the trunk of his roiling, burning car.

The Maricopa County Attorney has charged 22-year-old Cory Lee Christensen and 26-year-old, Rafael Diego Contreras with kidnapping and first-degree murder.

Phoenix Police report that on March 30, they responded to the area of Cave Creek Road and Union Hills Drive around 3:30 a.m. after receiving reports of a person making threats with a gun.

The person who called 911 also gave police the suspect's vehicle description.

Police soon spotted a similar vehicle at a service station near Cave Creek and Beardsley roads. The plate number for that car returned to a Dustin Jones of Tucson. After following the suspicious car a short distance, police attempted a traffic stop, police said.

The car sped off, and police later discovered the vehicle had pulled off the roadway and was fully engulfed in flames. Witnesses reported to police that the car was still rolling down the street when it burst into flames. Police say they heard a voice screaming for help from the trunk of the car. Officers attempted to get the man out, but the flames were too intense.

Inside the trunk, police say, they found a burnt telephone cord and a belt near the hands of the victim.

Surveillance video from the gas station reportedly shows Christensen holding a small green notebook when buying $2 worth of gas.

The green notebook was later found by police containing the name of Jones’ mother. Fingerprints on the notebook would later be linked to Christensen.

Contreras was arrested on March 31 for an unrelated crime and was walking into the police station when an ‘investigative lead’ recognized him as one of the men who kidnapped Jones. 

Police say Jones was in Phoenix to meet a girl he met on Facebook, her boyfriend got upset over this meeting and reportedly lied to Contreras telling him that Dustin “was a child molester and to handle it.”

Christensen who was just released from jail on March 27, was staying at the same motel and saw Dustin Jones bound and forced into the trunk of his car. Contreras allegedly then hired Christensen to assist him.

Christensen was arrested on April 11 near 19th Avenue and Bell Road. He’s being held on a $1 million bond, while Contreras is being held without bond, since he was already on felony release.