Burned body found in fmr. Northeast Philadelphia sushi restaurant

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Burned body found in fmr. NE Phila. restaurant. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on April 17. (WPVI)

Contractors made a gruesome discovery Monday afternoon in Northeast Philadelphia.

A body was discovered shortly before 2 p.m. at the former Sushi Kingdom restaurant adjacent to the Philadelphia Mills Mall at 427 Franklin Mills Boulevard.

It had been shut down since late 2015 and a contractor was called to repair some broken windows.

"When they went into the building to see what kind of work they needed to do, they discovered a body in a side room that appeared to be heavily charred and burned," Philadelphia Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum said.

It's unclear how long the body had been there, but the last time a contractor had been sent to the building to board up broken windows was in mid-January.

Police have not ruled out if the victim, said to be a man, may have been a squatter who accidentally set himself on fire while trying to stay warm.

"There were some restaurants that had been vacant and caught fire from squatters; we're not sure if that's what we have here. Or somebody in here trying to get the copper and electrical wires out of it, so that's why PECO is here, trying to determine if that was a factor," Rosenbaum said.

The fire marshal was also called to assist in the investigation.

The medical examiner will make the final determination on the cause and manner of death.

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