SFPD investigate suspicious death in Mission District

February 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators are looking for clues into the death of a man whose body was found on a sidewalk in the Mission District. It happened on Julian Avenue between 15th and 16th in the Mission District. The question is how long was it there before anyone called for help?

Police say the victim was robbed, but he was not stabbed or shot to death. What's odd is they think he was attacked at 2 or 3 a.m., but they say their first call for help came in about five hours later.

A woman called police at 7:45 a.m. Sunday asking them to do a welfare check on a man she saw lying in front of a home on Julian Avenue. When they arrived, Richard Sprague was already dead.

"It does look suspicious," said San Francisco police Officer Carlos Manfredi.

Police don't know how Sprague died, but they posted flyers in the neighborhood asking for the public's help.

"I didn't hear anything. I was awake at that time and I didn't hear anything," said Todd Eng, a San Francisco resident.

But according to the blog, MissionLoc@l.org, some residents heard Sprague, "Yelling help, help, I can't breathe. Please call the police." Bloggers say no one did.

A man, who did not want to be identified, adamantly denies that claim. "I live upstairs and my neighbor lives downstairs any one of us heard nothing."

"The story going that all the neighbors heard something and nobody bothered to call, can't possibly be true and the neighbors here do call when things happen," said Mark Williams, a resident.

While police check all of their emergency call logs for that morning, just in case, Supervisor David Campos wants people to get curious and get involved.

"If you have any thoughts or any doubts about whether someone did call 911, to air on the side of caution and call 911," said Campos.

Police won't know exactly how Sprague died, until the autopsy is complete. Right now, investigators have no suspects.


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