Family of Tacoma homicide victim begs witnesses to come forward

Print
Email
|

by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 11:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 19 at 12:20 AM

He was born and raised in Kalama, but turned up dead nearly two hours away in Tacoma.  Family members say 27-year-old Derek Wagner had zero ties to the city where he lost his life, and they're hoping someone can shed some light on what happened to him.

Wagner was found dead on Sunday morning, in the 4500 block of Asotin Street.  It's believed he attended a house party in the neighborhood on Saturday night.

"None of it makes any sense," said his aunt, Beth Lawlor.

They were told Derek had plans to go to that party with a friend who backed out at the last minute.   The family says that doesn't make sense because he wouldn't show up at a house where he didn't know anyone.

What's worse, is that when Derek's body was found, police told his loved ones he was in bad shape.

"The police officer, when they first called, said it was a horrific death," said Derek's cousin Lindsey Paletta.  "And when they did the autopsy, there were signs of torture and beating, and a gunshot wound to the chest."

Derek's family admits he's had some problems in the past and spent several years behind bars, but when he got out of jail in October, they say he had changed.

"He quit smoking, he quit drinking, he had a job," said Lawlor.  "He had pulled his life together."

Now, they just want to know what happened to him.

"My plea is that somebody help our family find out who did this, who put this hole in our heart," said Paletta.  "Somebody knows something, because it was a party.  There was more than one person there."

Tacoma Police say they have very few leads in the case.  Detectives are interested in talking to anyone who might've been at the party on Asotin Street.

Print
Email
|