The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Police seek more information on homicide at homeless camp
By Portsia Smith
Fredericksburg police are still interested in talking with people who may have known the city’s latest homicide victim Armando Escobar.
According to Fredericksburg Police Department spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe, they are particularly interested in finding a man named Juan Gonzales, who was known to frequent the heavily wooded area where Escobar’s body was found Wednesday morning.
He was found in a homeless camp known as “La Montaña” in the Hispanic community. It is about a three-minute walk from the end of Roffman Road behind the Central Park Townhomes in Fredericksburg. (Montaña is Spanish for mountain.)
Police did locate another man they were looking for to help get some information, but are actively pursuing Gonzales for questioning, Bledsoe said.
She said he has ties to the Westmoreland County area, but sometimes visits Fredericksburg.
Bledsoe said he is not a suspect, but may have information that may help police.
Gonzales is described as dark-complected with no facial hair. He frequently wears a white button-up collar shirt and khaki pants, Bledsoe said.
Police spent the past few days talking to people in and around the town home community looking for clues.
Escobar, 43, 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 had lived in the woods behind the town homes for more than a year.
Bledsoe said he was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, particularly in the Hispanic community.
Escobar has a wife and two children who 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 taking out trash and mopping 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 should 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