Burnt body found in building's basement

July 30, 2008 3:17:12 PM PDT
Police launched a murder investigation after a man's body was found inside a store-front church on the city's West Side.The charred body was found in the basement of the building, which houses three churches and seven apartments, on Tuesday night. The Medical Examiner said the 69-year-old Caucasian male suffered blunt trauma to his head and neck. The victim has not been identified, but neighbors said he was the landlord of the building at 5350 W. Division.

"Kind of a cruel manner to die. And I wouldn't wish that upon no one," said Jamal Randolph, neighbor.

"It was sad. Something that happens. That's common. It's really sad. It's sad that nobody knows, nobody's seen anything," said Phalair Carter, merchant.

One tenant told police she smelled smoke and gas on Monday and called the landlord, who didn't answer.

"He never did answer. He always answered. And he always called back if he didn't answer. I never got either/or from him. I called him again and still didn't get an answer. And then last night when the police come up to talk to me, they told me it was your landlord," said Tuesday Baker, tenant.

"He never messed with nobody. He was just always coming into the neighborhood and taking care of business. And that's it. A nice guy. So we don't know why it happened to him like that," said Quincy Mathis, neighbor.

"It's bad. It's just bad. He was a nice person," said Sandra Randolph, neighbor.

Tenants said the landlord worked with them if they fell behind on rent and he was seen at the building as recently as Friday helping tenants make repairs.

Police have no suspect nor motive in the case.


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