Bell County sheriff’s deputies are continuing to piece together clues in the weekend homicide of an elderly man east of Killeen.
Investigators learned of the death of Jack B. Ray, 83, after Killeen Fire Department medics located a body in the backyard of a home in the 17600 block of Farm-to-Market 439.
The state of Ray’s home, which deputies described as “ransacked,” has led to speculation that Ray was killed during a burglary or a robbery.
Family members have since examined the home to determine what, if anything, was removed from the home.
On Monday, Sheriff Eddy Lange, who described Ray as a longtime friend, said Ray died as the result of blunt-force trauma. Lange said investigators have yet to identify any suspects in the killing but are remaining vigilant.
“We are doing everything we can to solve this heinous crime and bring justice to his family and the community,” Lange said.
Lange knew Ray for about 30 years, he said. Prior to retiring, Ray worked as an engineer at Fort Hood, according to a death notice posted online. He was a lifelong Killeen-area resident who spent his later years farming and ranching, Lange said.
Larry Cole, a former Killeen city councilman, said Ray was “a drawback to old Texas,” who helped lay the foundation for Killeen.
Cole said Ray could be found almost every morning having breakfast at Hallmark Restaurant, and was well known and widely respected throughout Killeen as a generous and trustworthy man.
“He would just do anything for you,” Cole said. “He’d help you if he was there. He’d give you the shirt off his back.”
Cole shared an anecdote of a period of about five to six years ago when Ray let Cole store a number of personal effects in Ray’s home free of charge.
“He never charged me a dime,” Cole said.
Ray was declared legally blind several years ago, and relied on the help of many community members he had formed bonds with to get him around town.
“I’m just heartbroken that he is gone and in particular, the manner,” Cole said.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.