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Man found near running car was murdered

10:45 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Jose Patricio Hernandez, pictured with his mother. (Courtesy photo)

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Ottawa County Sheriff's investigators say a man found lifeless in the snow near his running vehicle was murdered.

The body of Jose Patricio Hernandez, 38, of Park Township was discovered late Monday night near Amber Trace Apartments. An autopsy by the Ottawa County Medical Examiner found he died of multiple blows to the head with a blunt object.

Hernandez' murder sent chills through those closest to him, like Elizabeth Rosales. "He was nice, very nice, my best friend, and I'll miss him." She told WZZM 13 he lived just steps away from the crime scene, where investigators were collecting evidence for hours Tuesday morning.

"There was significant amount of trauma, it looked like, to the head area," says Captain Mark Bennett. "He was laying next to his car covered in snow, he was dead and had been there for sometime."

Deputies say Hernandez didn't make it to work on Sunday night, and when they found him, his car was still running and may have been running since Sunday.

"It is somewhat suspicious in that the injuries at this point are unexplained, we're waiting to get a determination from the medical examiner's office as for the probable source of those injuries," said Captain Bennett.

Rosales says she worked with Hernandez at Royal Technologies in Hudsonville for 11 years. WZZM 13 asked her if he had any enemies she knew about. "No, not that I know. He was the cleanest guy that I knew, a good worker; a very, very good worker," said Rosales.

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