Answers sought in deadly attack on Lakeland man - WFLA News Channel 8

Answers sought in deadly attack on Lakeland man

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John Papay and his nephew John Brown in 2011. John Papay and his nephew John Brown in 2011.
Alley in Lakeland where attack happened Alley in Lakeland where attack happened
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

The nephew of a Lakeland man who died from injuries he sustained in an October attack says he’s devastated by how his uncle had to live his final days.

John Papay, 83, was attacked during his early morning walk October 10th and was hospitalized for two months before he died.

“Here’s a guy that had so much life in him, a senior citizen, someone who was easy prey, and what did they get out of the whole thing?” John Brown said by phone Wednesday. “Taking away his life and all possibilities of his future, all for 10 dollars and doing it in an incredibly vicious act.”

Lakeland Police are asking the community to step in and help provide any leads they may have about the attack that happened in the alley of West Belmar Street in Lakeland on October 10th around 6:20 a.m.

“He was knocked down to the ground,” Sgt. Gary Gross with Lakeland Police Department said. “He saw a silhouette of somebody running away and then he realized his wallet had been taken.”

The biggest reason police say they need outside tips is because before detectives were notified on January 29th of Papay’s December 18th death, he was cremated.

“The body is a piece of evidence,” Gross said. “We would have liked to have had the medical examiner look and examine. It’s just another piece of the puzzle. We’ve lost time. Time between his death and when we were notified that he had passed away, now we have to do the best we can, relook at the evidence and basically start over.”

Lakeland Regional Medical Center will not offer comment on why they did not notify authorities of Papay’s death. A spokesperson referenced a policy of not commenting on open investigations.

Anyone with information on what happened outside Papay’s home October 10th, is asked to call Heartland Crimestoppers at 800-226-8477 and could be eligible for a cash reward.


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