Austin Police investigating homicide in Southeast Austin

The Austin Police Department said they were called to do a welfare check Wednesday evening at a home in the 6300 block of Shadow Bend. When they went into the home, they found the body of Chris Albert Whitmarch, 74. Detectives said Whitmarch had obvious signs of trauma to his body.

“I mean they had the whole area blocked off, it was crazy” said Mary Randall, who was shocked to see so much police activity in the Southeast Austin neighborhood. “How could you, he was an old man. You have to be a psycho to do something like that to somebody, it makes my stomach hurt thinking about it.”

Neighbors told APD that Whitmarch was very active in his church, including doing local mission work, and he was well liked in the neighborhood.  Randall said she was brought to tears when she heard the news of his death “He was a great guy, I cried when I heard about it.”

Lt. Justin Newsom with APD said they are looking for any clues to find out who did this.

“Anyone with information about Mr. Whitmarch that may have known him may have known something about his lifestyle, what he did, who he talked to, who his friends are, if they could come forward and call us.” They are specifically looking for someone who apparently spoke to him hours before his death. “He was observed talking to a Hispanic male, who was several years younger than what he is. A very vague description on him, 5'6" to 5'7. Approximately two hours before he was found deceased,” said Lt. Newsom.

Until someone is behind bars, Mary Randall said she's taking precautions. “I feel unsafe. I make sure every window is locked now. It's really scary.”

This is the 5th homicide investigation for APD in the last two weeks. Lt. Newsom said this isn't normal. But he said they did have the same unexplained spike in the number of murders around this time last year.