Family Seeks Answers After Loving N.C. Grandfather Found Slain Near Burning Car: 'Why Would Somebody Do That?'

U.S. Marine veteran Wayne Fields, 64, was found dead on the ground next to his burning car in a rural area 8 miles from his home

Wayne Fields
Wayne Fields. Photo: Courtesy Willoughby Funeral Homes

A beloved North Carolina grandfather and father of five was found dead next to his burning car, and now police are searching for his killer.

On Saturday morning, just before 3 a.m., firefighters in Wayne County responded to a call about a car fire along Highway 111 North, according to the Johnston County Report.

Near the burning vehicle they found the body of a man, identified as Wayne Fields, 64, of Goldsboro, lying face down on the ground, WRAL reports.

Authorities are calling his death a homicide, reports.

"I couldn't believe it when I got the news," his sister, Priscilla Fields, 63, tells PEOPLE. "I still can't believe it."

They have not released details about what led to his death or motive.

One of nine children, Wayne was a married father and a grandfather, according to his obituary.

He was on disability from his service in the U.S. Marines, Priscilla says.

He lived about 8 miles from where he and his car were found.

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As police continue to investigate, Wayne's family is searching for answers as to how this could have happened to a man so adored by family and friends.

Priscilla says she and her niece spoke to her brother on Friday at about 5 p.m. and that he was in good spirits.

"We were joking and laughing with our niece," she says, adding that her brother was teasing their niece about her love of french fries. "We were all just laughing."

During the call, her brother told her he'd just dropped off his wife for a gender reveal party at her granddaughter's house and that she was planning on staying there for the night.

Priscilla says Wayne told her he had a quiet night at home planned.

But the next morning, Priscilla got one of the worst calls of her life.

"I was so shocked," she recalls of the moment she heard about his death.

Though Wayne told Priscilla he was staying in for the night, he somehow ended up 8 miles away from his house on a rural road.

"My brother would never go out on a dirt road," she says.

"He would never leave the house with all his lights on and the TV on," she says. "He wouldn't leave his house unlocked, either."

She hopes police find whoever killed her brother.

"He loved his wife and kids and grandchildren," she says. "He always took care of his family. He would go out of his way to help people."

Breaking down in tears, she says, "I don't know why somebody would want to do that," adding, "He was such a good guy."

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office did not respond to PEOPLE's request for information.

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