Elderly Oakland man's death appears to be homicide

February 23, 2012 9:17:08 PM PST
Residents of an upscale Oakland Hills neighborhood are in dismay after an elderly man was found dead in his home Thursday.

78-year-old Joseph Robertson lived on Thackery Drive just above the Montclair District. Neighbors there say the only problem they have had in the neighborhood lately has been a rash of burglaries but now, a man who has lived there all his life is dead, a man whose family says he had no enemies.

Robertson's nephew Harry Robertson was stunned. He says the elderly man found dead in the Oakland Hills was his uncle. "He was gentle. He was peaceful. He was nice. He wouldn't hurt a bird. So, I can't say anything except if it was foul play, he didn't deserve it," he told ABC7.

According to police, Robertson was found by friends who came to check on him just after 7:00 Thursday morning. His body had been inside the home for several days. While they are treating his death like a homicide, investigators are looking at all possibilities."Right now, we have our major crimes unit investigators who are here and we're looking into the circumstances behind the death," said OPD Ofc. Johnna Watson.

Neighbors on the secluded street were shocked that the man who lived alone with occasional help from part-time caregivers and family was apparently killed. "I hope that it's not a random incident that we all have to fear around here. It's getting kind of scary because there's been so many break-ins," neighbor Jane English said.

"For God's sake, he was a very gentle soul," Harry said. "If anybody knows anything, please come forward."

Police will not say how the man died or where his body was found inside the home. His body was taken away by the coroner around 2 p.m. Thursday.

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