By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – An immigrant family is publicly asking the Arapahoe County Sheriff to dig deeper into the death of a young man who was burned to death.

(credit: CBS)

Makhmud Chariev was a 19-year-old college student who came here from Kyrgyzstan. His family is of the Uyghur ethnicity, a minority in the former Soviet Republic.

(credit: CBS)

It was Aug. 23 when Chariev’s body was discovered in Bennett along Tom Bay Road near Quincy Road.

Makhmud Chariev (credit: CBS)

At a news conference Farid Amin of the Colorado Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations described the manner in which Chariev died.

“He was found doused in gasoline and burned to death in Bennett, Colorado,” he said.

Chariev disappeared for a time last year. A police report was filed. He dropped out of Metropolitan State University of Denver then this semester had just started at the University of Colorado Denver. His mother, Naila Dautova, feels his death is connected to what happened previously.

“Last year he was bullied someone was bullying him and he was complaining about someone bullying him,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

The sheriff’s office says it’s too soon to say if the young man died as a result of an accident, a suicide or a murder.

“Do you feel someone killed him?” CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked Chariev’s aunt Anisa Tanaka.

“It’s a possibility, and to us it’s a big possibility, yes,” she said.

“Could he have taken his own life?”

“Let’s prove it, otherwise. … If it has really happened we want to know it happened for sure.”

The family says they have been provided pictures of a gas can found near the car Chariev had been driving. His body was located nearby. The Arapahoe County Coroner’s office says an autopsy has been done, but it is still waiting on information from the sheriff’s department before issuing a ruling on the young man’s death.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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