Body found in woods identified

Police hope witnesses, family members have clues in man's beating

April 23, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Annapolis police released yesterday the name of the man found beaten to death in the woods off West Street last week, in the hope that his relatives - and witnesses who could help solve the crime - will come forward.

Alfonso Serrano, 55, was a legal, documented Mexican national who had lived in Annapolis, with no fixed address, for at least five years, police said. Detectives have been unable to locate anyone other than a distant nephew to notify about the death, but they believe he may have a son in the Annapolis area.

Serrano is the second homeless man in the past six months to be fatally beaten on the streets of Annapolis. In October, Joseph Alexander Tasker, 40, was found dead in the side yard of a home in the first block of Stewart Ave. Police acknowledge that their investigation of that case has stalled.

Officer Hal Dalton, a city police spokesman, said crimes against the homeless are among the most difficult to solve.

"They have their own community," Dalton said. "They're difficult to talk to, and they don't trust police."

When police locate a homeless person with information about a case, it can be difficult to track down the person for follow-up interviews and court appearances.

"We're limited to looking for them in their known hangouts," Dalton said.

Although Dalton said the Tasker case has been difficult, he said the investigation into Serrano's death continues to develop.

Police believe that Serrano went into the woods near Lighthouse Wine and Spirits with several other men for a drinking party, Dalton said. That area - a cut-through between the liquor store and Admiral Drive - is a known gathering place where people use drugs and drink alcohol.

Dalton said witnesses have given information about the men with whom Serrano was spotted April 16, the night before his body was found.

Serrano was found Thursday morning by liquor store patrons. He was covered by a rug with his head exposed. Police said he died of a massive head injury. Broken bottles covered with blood were found at the scene.

Anyone with information in the Tasker or Serrano cases can call detectives at 410-268-4141.

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