MORRISANIA, BRONX (PIX11)— Police have a mystery on their hands as they search for whoever beat an elderly man to death and left an obscene message scrawled in lipstick.
Joe Fisher, 75, was last seen alive last Monday. It was the same day that Herminia Acevedo was in her living room directly below Fisher's apartment at 1268 Walker Avenue. She only speaks Spanish, but the sound she made in describing what she heard that day above her head needs no translation. "Boom!" she said, after stomping her feet to show what she also heard before the onomatopoeia.
In retrospect, she told PIX11 News, it appeared that there may have been a struggle and a fall. None of Fisher's neighbors seemed to know it at the time, but after nobody saw seventy-five year-old Joe Fisher for a few days, they went in to his apartment on Wednesday, and in the kitchen right above Ms. Acevedo's kitchen, they made a gruesome discovery.
"It's kind of eerie to know that somebody wrote on his chest," Steven Wright, a father who drops off his daughter at daycare in the building every day, told PIX11 News, referring to the primary reason that detectives have a murder mystery on their hands in this case.
Not only did somebody beat Fisher in the head and neck so severely that he sustained a skull fracture before dying, according to the medical examiner, whoever is behind the murder wrote the words, "Who's the b_____ now?" on Fisher's chest in lipstick.
"Whoever did this was sick," Carmen Velez said. She grew up in the building, and her mother still lives there after more than 30 years. Velez was among many residents who told PIX11 News that Fisher was well-known and well-liked. "He'd never hurt anyone," she said, adding that she couldn't imagine anybody wanting to hurt the man who'd lived in the building for three decades.
Fisher's son, who did not give his first name, visited his father's building Wednesday night. He told PIX11 News that his dad had a roommate, but investigators have not given any indication that whoever that is is a suspect.
Everybody from Fisher's building who spoke with PIX11 News said that Fisher was rarely seen in the company of women, or anyone likely to ever use a lipstick. They said that he was a painter or handyman in the neighborhood, and worked most of the time, sometimes six days a week, despite having suffered three heart attacks in recent years.
The building has a network of at least eight cameras in its lobby and in its outer courtyard and front steps, which see whoever is entering and leaving the building, which should provide clues for NYPD investigators, some of whom are based out of the 44th precinct, which is literally around the corner -- exactly 118 steps away -- from Fisher's building.
In the end, though, good old-fashioned gumshoe work may solve the crime. On Fisher's door, which has been sealed by investigators, are traces of chalk dust, where technicians had brushed extensively for the fingerprints of whoever is behind this mysterious death.