The man found dead in a burning car west of Carthage was identified on Wednesday by the Jasper County Coroner as Billy D. Stevens, 34, Webb City.

The man found dead in a burning car west of Carthage was identified on Wednesday by the Jasper County Coroner as Billy D. Stevens, 34, Webb City.

The Jasper County Sheriff's Office said in a Friday written release that the cause of Steven' death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The Sheriff's Office referred all questions about the July 23 homicide investigation, believed to be related to Stevens' death and the burning car.

CPL Paul Rowe, with the Joplin Police Department, confirmed that Stevens was the suspect investigators were looking for in the death on Monday of Webb City resident Monte L. Little, 19, at a residential care home in Joplin.

The Sheriff's Office release said a witness at the scene of the fire said he heard a single gunshot, then heard the engine of the car rev loudly.

In a few minutes, flames started to emerge from the vehicle.

JPD's Rowe said Stevens and Little were involved in a relationship with the same person. Little died from a gunshot wound and blunt-force trauma. A baseball bat, believed to be one of the weapons used in the attack on Little, has been recovered.

On Tuesday, Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser said the description of the car matches the description of the a vehicle Joplin police were searching for in connection to a homicide in Joplin earlier Monday evening, July 23.

A written release from the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday said the Carthage Fire Department responded to put out the fire.

Joplin Police Capt. Trevor Duncan said in a written release that Joplin officers were called to a home at 2809 Santa Fe, in Joplin for a call of an assault with an injured person. Duncan said officers arrived and found a male dead at the scene and detectives were called in to investigate.

On Tuesday, Duncan identified the victim as Monte. L. Little, 19, Webb City, an employee working in an in-home residential care facility at the address.

Duncan said detectives identified a suspect and suspect vehicle, and police started working to find both.

Duncan said the Jasper County Sheriff's Office was called later in the evening to a report of a vehicle fire on Elm Road near County Road 170.

“The suspect vehicle in our homicide was located on scene on fire,” Duncan said in his release late Monday. “The Jasper County Sheriff's Department is handling that scene but it is believed the suspect is no longer a threat. The investigation is still on-going in this case. We aren't seeking any other suspects at this time.”

Kaiser confirmed that one person was found dead in the car by investigators.