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Car fire kills man in Colonie, ruled suicide (UPDATED)

A man was found dead after a car burst into flames at 7:12 a.m. Colonie Police ruled the incident a suicide on Thursday, Nov. 26, and identified the victim as Gary VanNess, 42, of Latham.

Lt. Rob Winn of the Colonie Police Department said the incident occurred at 24 Garling Drive in Latham and while some reported an explosion, there is no indication one occurred.

There was no evidence of an explosion or an explosive device, Winn said. "There was no indication of criminal activity or foul play."

VanNess was the target of a manhunt when he left Four Winds mental wellness hospital in January, Winn said.

"Four Winds Hospitals provide the highest quality inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment services for children, adolescents and adults. Four Winds Hospitals are the leading specialized providers of inpatient psychiatric treatment for children and adolescents," according to its Web site.

A female resident at the address attempted to remove VanNess from the drivers seat during the incident but was unable to do so and was eventually sent to Albany Medical Center for smoke inhalation, Winn said.

An 8-year-old girl also lives at the address, police said.

"Anytime that you have a death like this it's tragic," Winn said. "Especially around Thanksgiving."

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