Jose Patricio Hernandez, pictured with his mother. (Courtesy photo)
PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- His family says they cant imagine who would murder Jose Hernandez or why his body was found alongside his running car. The 38-year-old man's body was discovered late Monday night near his residence in the Amberwood Apartments on 152nd Avenue.
Detectives believe Hernandez was ambushed and clubbed to death as he was leaving for his third shift manufacturing job Sunday night. His body was found 24 hours later.
"His body was covered in several inches of snow and was obviously frozen. It had been there for some time," said Captain Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.
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Police say they are investigating some leads, but so far have no suspects in the murder. Friends and relatives say Hernandez was friendly, quiet, kept to himself and was a devout Jehovah's Witness who didn't drink or use drugs.
Police say Hernandez had a 19-year-old roommate, who investigators have spoken with. Hernandez' car had been running for nearly 24 hours and several neighbors noticed it, but because of the cold and snowy conditions, they didn't give it a second thought.
"There are a few people who did notice that car running but thought he may have been inside his apartment, thought maybe he was visiting another apartment, or taking a short walk down the block," said Bennett.
Police do not believe Hernandez was robbed because nothing was missing from his body, car, or apartment. That leads investigators to the possibility that he knew his attacker. They are now looking at phone records of who Hernandez may have spoken to.
"We really haven't uncovered anything that gives us an indication of anyone who may have had an issue or a problem with him," said Bennett. "He was a long term employee at his manufacturing business of about 10 years, a church going individual-- pretty devoted in that regard."
Anyone with information should call the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department at (616) 738-4000.