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Shocked worker recalls discovering the body of Lily Burk

July 28, 2009 | 12:10 pm

Sergio Reyes took the bus from his home in Koreatown to work Saturday morning near downtown Los Angeles. When he got there around 6 a.m., his boss at Jing San Food Inc. told him to get whoever was in a black car in the customer’s parking lot to move.

When Reyes approached the Volvo, he stumbled into a murder mystery.

Inside the car was Lily Burk. At first, he thought she might be sleeping. He said he didn’t see any blood or signs of trauma. But when he looked closer, he thought maybe something was wrong.

“I looked at her stomach and it wasn’t moving,” Reyes said, noting that he thought Burk was not breathing. He called to a co-worker and said, “Come over here, look at her, maybe she’s dead.”

His friend called the police, who arrived quickly, Reyes said.

Police detectives arrested 50-year-old Charlie Samuel in connection with Burk's death. They allege that he kidnapped her near the Southwestern University College of Law on Friday afternoon and killed her after unsuccessfully trying to withdraw money using her credit card.

Police said today that fingerprints recovered from inside the Volvo match Samuel's.

Samuel was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Friday on suspicion of possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia on 3rd Street in downtown Los Angeles -- at least 12 hours before Reyes discovered Burk's body at 5th and South Alameda streets.

Officials said Tuesday they are not sure if Samuel will be charged in the slaying today.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz