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Coroner IDs Peoria man who was found on fire on the South Side

Authorities are investigating the suspicious death of a 56-year-old Peoria man who was found on fire early Friday morning on the city’s South Side.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood identified the victim as Clarence Crooks in a social media post Friday afternoon. Harwood said Crooks did not have any ID with him and was identified through fingerprints.

Peoria police and firefighters responded to the 1900 block of W. Wiswall Street shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday for a report of a person on fire.

According to a police department news release, officers found the man unresponsive and not breathing after the fire was extinguished. Crooks was pronounced dead on the scene.

Harwood said an autopsy showed Crooks died as a result of smoke and soot inhalation, but what caused him to be set on fire remains under investigation. Foul play has not been ruled out.

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Updated: May 5, 2023 at 4:51 PM CDT
On Friday afternoon, Peoria County Coroner identified the victim as 56-year-old Clarence Crooks of Peoria.
Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.