HPD Probes Suspicious Death
Man Found In Harrisonburg Apartment
Posted: November 2, 2012
HARRISONBURG — When Bill Seidle pulled into the Dutch Mill Apartments Thursday morning, he noticed a line of police cars leading to a cordoned-off building in the back of the complex.
He would soon find out that a man had been found dead inside one of the apartments on Dutch Mill Court, located off Reservoir Street.
So far, the Harrisonburg Police Department will only officially call the death “suspicious.”
As of late Thursday, police had not released details about the man, including his name.
Seidle used to live in the complex and said he still comes back to visit friends in the neighborhood, which is home to many immigrants.
“It’s a big concern,” he said. “You wonder how something like this can happen. It’s a good neighborhood. I’ve never feared for my safety.”
The investigation into the death began around 8:30 a.m. when police were called to the complex.
Mary-Hope Vass, the city’s public information officer, declined to say who called police, but neighbors and employees at the apartments say a maintenance man discovered the body after he noticed the door to the dead man’s apartment was open.
As the investigation progressed in the next few hours, more than two dozen police officers swarmed the complex, including nearly every HPD investigator.
Two police dogs searched the complex and a nearby creek for evidence, while two police officers in protective suits were seen combing through a trash bin.
By midafternoon, the Virginia State Police Division of Criminal Investigations evidence collection truck arrived on scene. Investigators also were seen going door-to-door at the apartment complex talking to residents.
Thad Christophel, the complex’s office manager, said he’s shocked.
“We try to pride ourselves on having a family-friendly place to live,” said Christophel, adding that having a crime scene at his complex is surreal. “[Today], it’s a crazy environment.”
If the case is ruled a murder, it would be Harrisonburg’s first in more than 1½ years.
Police say Ali Abid, a Weyers Cave businessman, shot private investigator Greg Brown on March 3, 2011, while Brown tried to serve him with divorce papers.
Police found Brown’s body in the trunk of his 2007 Honda Accord on March 5, 2011. Abid, who was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” in September, remains at large.
Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call the department’s anonymous tip line at 574-5050. Tipsters may also provide information by texting “HPD” to 274637 (CRIMES).
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org