The killers of an elderly East Side man may have taken his automobile south of the city in an effort to sell it or strip it of parts, Buffalo police investigators said Monday.
Although the fatal attack could have come during a planned robbery, investigators are currently treating it as a "burglary that went wrong" with the bandits unexpectingly finding Houston at home, Donovan said.
Homicide Chief Richard Donovan said Buffalo police and the State Police checked a reliable report that murder victim Ocie Houston's 1984 Ford LTD was briefly parked along the side of the road on Brown Hill Road near Zimmerman Road in the Town of Boston Sunday afternoon.
Area residents who had become aware of the stolen car through news media accounts telephoned police and gave what authorities consider to be a "pretty confirmed report" on the victim's car, which is black and has a red vinyl top and license plate number ECG 953, Donovan said.
The car spotted on Brown Hill Road was gone by the time investigators arrived, Donovan said.
Buffalo police evidence officers are still processing fingerprints found at the victim's Northland Avenue home, Donovan said.
The Erie County medical examiner's office Sunday reported that Houston, 80, a widower who lived alone, died of a severe beating. The victim was last seen alive about 3 p.m. Friday. His body was found in his ransacked home Saturday morning.