Son grapples with 77-year-old father’s fiery murder

Posted at 12:17 AM, Feb 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-03 07:36:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Walter Boone used to sit on his stoop.

He was a friendly, 77-year-old man well-known in this Southside community.

But all that changed last month when his apartment caught fire and the only fire damage was around his body. 

"The burn mark was in shape of his body,” said Boone's son, who didn’t want to show his face on camera.

"It's been real rough,” he said.  “You are talking about someone who was a part of me."

Almost two months later, he continues to struggle with the reality that his father is gone.  This week he got worse news, what he already feared: it was murder.

"When the fire department arrived, the victim was found in his apartment, deceased," said Richmond Police Det. Chris Foultz.

Police say there were signs of trauma and the medical examiner confirmed that.

Boone's son says there's no question whoever killed his father, beat him badly first.

Thursday police released a composite drawing of a woman they want to question.  "I'm hoping someone knows who she is.  She frequents the Jefferson Davis and Jackson Ward areas of town,” said Foultz.  “We are hoping someone recognizes the photo and comes forward."

Boone's son says the woman used to do odd jobs for his dad but he never got a name.  "They would come over and clean his bathroom and kitchen for money,"  he said.

Police can't say if money is the motive but Boone's son is convinced it was.  "I just don't understand why,” he said.  “If it was about the money, she should've just asked Dad.  He would've given it to her, if he had it."

Boone's son says his father had a lot of fight in him.  At 77, he was still cutting grass for extra money, a father who refused to give up right until he took his last dying breath.

"Life is death, you know.  Life will go on and time will heal all wounds,” his son said.  “That's how I do it."

If you recognize the woman in this photo, police say call their anonymous Crimestoppers tip line at 780-1000.