Cold case: Retired businessman killed in robbery setup - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: Retired businessman killed in robbery setup

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Joseph Murawski Joseph Murawski
Suspect sketch Suspect sketch
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The apartment building in the 4000 block of Northeast Grand was abandoned in May 1986. The only people who used the rundown building were people who came to use drugs, according to police.

On May 6, 1986, a neighbor saw three people walk into one apartment. Later, only two people walked out.

Police found Joseph Murawski, a retired businessman from Portland, inside. The 79-year-old man had been beaten and robbed.

He was dazed, but was able to speak with investigators. He told them he could identify the man and woman who attacked him.

Eight weeks later, Murawski died of complications from head injuries sustained in the beating.

The two people responsible for his death have never been found.

Cold case investigators exclusively reviewed details of the case with Fox 12.

"Mr. Murawski was a vulnerable man who was targeted and set up for this robbery, based upon his vulnerability that was apparently known to people in the community," said Dick Pashley, a retired FBI agent working in the Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit.

Pashley said Murawski had fallen victim to scammers in the years before his death and word may have spread that he was an easy mark. Several different people had swindled tens of thousands of dollars from him.

"He must have been pretty generous, (a) kindhearted person," said Pashley. "That generosity and kindness probably played into his ultimate serious injury and his death."

In the early months of 1986, Murawski's home on Northeast Monroe was burglarized.

Months later, on May 5, Murawski told police a man and woman approached him, claiming to know where his stolen property was.

The couple said they could take him to the stolen property for $50.

The next day, Murawski drove the man and woman to the apartment building on Northeast Grand.

"Not surprising, there was no property in the apartment unit waiting for Mr. Murawski when he got there," said Pashley.

A witness helped a police artist create a sketch of the female suspect, a black woman in her mid-20s with short black hair. She was about 5'6" with a medium build.

The second suspect is a black man in his late 20s, with a light complexion. He stood about 5'10" with a thin build.

"The two people who robbed Murawski may not share the same degree of culpability or responsibility for his death, based upon the head injury he received," said Pashley. "But detectives won't know for certain, until they've had the opportunity to interview at least one of the suspects."

If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at crimestoppersoforegon.com or call 503-823-HELP (4357).

Visit www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

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