Police asking for help solving elderly man's murder

January 20, 2011 5:20:06 PM PST
Cumberland County deputies are asking for the public's help in solving the murder of an 83-year-old Spring Lake man.On Thursday, authorities went door-to-door passing out fliers and asking neighbors if they knew anything about the death of Angel Santiago Delacruz.

A family member found the 83-year-old Army veteran dead inside his Spring Lake home on Jan. 2.

At first investigators thought he died from natural causes, but an autopsy revealed he was suffocated.

The sheriff says it's like searching for the proverbial needle in a hay stack, because they have no leads and no suspects.

"And we are going to be out here for a couple of afternoons and asking anyone with any kind of information to come forward and talk with us," Cumberland County Sheriff Earl Moose Butler said.

Deputies are setting up a mobile command center at a Marathon gas station hoping someone will give them information that helps solve the case.

"We are hoping someone can help us establish a time line of what Mr. Delacruz's day was like," Police Spokesperson Debbie Tana said. "Those are things important to us, because it lets us know how long he was alive, and whether he was by himself during that time period."

The victim's son, Juan Delacruz, says the past three weeks have been agonizing.

"I'm imagining the person doing that to my dad, it's so sad, it's terrible," he said.

Investigators and family members have said they suspected robbery was the motive for the murder.

"If someone would have knocked on his door and needed help he would, cause that's the way he was you know trusting and helpful," Delacruz's daughter Evelyn Alicia Aponte said.

Now grieving family members say they just want closure and justice.

"You know, I mean, nobody deserved to die like that especially a man who served his country 21 years," Juan Delacruz said.

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