The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Details sought in man’s death
BY PORTSIA SMITH
Fredericksburg police are looking for two men who they think may have information about the victim in Wednesday’s homicide.
According to Fredericksburg Police Department spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe, police would like to speak to Leonardo Martinez also known as “El Jarocho” and Juan Gonzales.
“They are not suspects,” Bledsoe said. “We’re hoping they can provide us with some information. They may have information that they don’t know is important.”
Both men are in their 50s and are known to reside in “La Montaña,” the name that people in the Hispanic community use to refer to a homeless camp in thewoods where 43-year-old Armando Escobar’s body was found inside of a tent just after 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. (Montaña is Spanish for mountain.)
That makeshift camp is about a three-minute walk from the end of Roffman Road behind the Central Park Townhomes in Fredericksburg.
There were about six abandoned mattresses and tents strewn around Wednesday afternoon, and the area was littered with trash and beer bottles.
Police have not released the manner of death, but have said there was “obvious signs of trauma.”
A twin-size mattress left at the scene appeared to have a fresh bloodstain. No suspects have been taken into custody, Bledsoe said.
Police spent much of Thursday talking to people in and around the townhome community looking for clues.
They spoke to Martinez Wednesday after coming upon him along one of the trails in the woods, but have been unable to locate him since. He is described only as having a thin moustache.
Gonzales is described as a dark-complected with no facial hair. He frequently wears a white button-up collar shirt and khaki pants, Bledsoe said. He also has ties to the Westmoreland County area, she said.
Escobar was known to live in and around the Bragg Hill area since 2008, Bledsoe said. Police do not know how long he had been homeless, but a neighbor said he believes the man has lived in the woods behind the townhomes for more than a year.
Bledsoe said he was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, particularly in the Hispanic community.
“Many tears were shed during the interview process,” Bledsoe said.
Escobar has a wife and two children that live in El Salvador. He also has two brothers—one of them lives in Spotsylvania County, Bledsoe said.
He was a laborer and did odd jobs, such as take out trash and mop the floors at a local store, to get by, Bledsoe said.
She said the homeless people in that particular community are very self-sufficient and wouldn’t necessarily reach out to homeless centers for help.
Bledsoe also said police were familiar with Escobar, who had several arrests for nonviolent crimes such as shoplifting and being drunk in public.
Bledsoe said anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Patrick Lamb at 540/654- 5740.
She said Detective Lamb, who is fluent in Spanish, is concerned only with solving this homicide. The residency status of any individuals who wish to provide information is irrelevant and will not be questioned, she said.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419