Police in Puerto Rico continue to search for the killer who fatally stabbed a Beavercreek man early Monday while his family vacationed for the Christmas holiday.
Police used divers Tuesday to search the Caribbean Sea coastline along the popular beach town of Rincón for a murder weapon and other evidence stolen from the vacation resort where Brett Walquist, 41, was killed during an apparent burglary, according to the website PrimeraHora.com. They found a baseball cap they believe the killer left and that was being analyzed by the Institute of Forensic Sciences, according to website.
Authorities said residents have come forward with information in the case, while police visited area shops seeking security camera footage that may have captured images of the suspect and retraced possible routes the killer took to escape, according to the website.
Police Lt. Eduardo Rivera, assistant with the Criminal Investigation Corps in Aguadilla, said they have assembled a team of investigators to pursue leads.
“Information has emerged about people of interest, and we hope that in the coming hours to flow more information to help us identify these people,” Rivera told the website elnuevodia.com.
The deadly intrusion was latest in a string of burglaries that have been reported in the area — known as a popular site for surfers and foreign tourists — in recent months, according to police.
“Without a doubt this is a vicious crime, and we will devote all resources to solve it,” Inspector Juan Corchado told PrimeraHora.com.
Police said the suspect entered the first-floor apartment in the Arena y Mar complex through a sliding glass door about 1:45 a.m. Monday. They said Walquist was stabbed at least three times when he came upon the burglar in the kitchen.
Police said Walquist’s wife, Gerry, ran to the kitchen after hearing noises and found her husband on the ground. She allegedly grabbed the intruder from behind, and they both fell to the ground before the suspect fled the scene. She was not injured, according to the report. The couple’s two children were also in the apartment at the time and were not injured.
Corchado told PrimeraHora.com the suspect possibly entered through the children’s room, though he declined to provide specific details.
Walquist, his sister’s family and their father, Carl, arrived in Puerto Rico on Dec. 17, according to police. Carl Walquist told The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press he left Puerto Rico on Saturday.
Police said Brett Walquist and his family were scheduled to leave Monday afternoon.
The family told the Dayton Daily News Tuesday they were not ready to talk.
Brett Walquist’s sister, Brandi Dekok, and her family stayed on the upper level at the resort, according to their father. Carl Walquist told the newspaper the family has been celebrating Christmas away from home since his wife was killed in an auto accident in 2009.
Carl Walquist was also injured in the accident after the couple’s SUV was struck by a truck driven by an 18-year-old man who ran a stop sign, according to media reports at the time.
Brett Walquist was based in Beavercreek and worked as a Midwest representative for national bicycle distributor, J&B Importers, according to BicycleRetailer.com. Friends on the website described him as a generous man who had a dry sense of humor and was always smiling.
He formerly worked for his family’s business, Alger Bikes in Grand Rapids, which is now run by his brother, Brian.
“He was a family man, just absolutely enjoyed life,” Carl Walquist told the Grand Rapids Press. “What can I say? He’s my kid. He was a great guy, but a better family man.”
The Associated Press reported that Puerto Rico will likely see 900 homicides this year, which is 10 percent fewer than in 2012.