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Police identify murdered man, but have no leads

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Police have identified a Hampton man found dead in a parking lot on Saturday, but have no witnesses, no explanations, and no leads in the investigation of the murder.

"This is going to be a real who-done-it case," said Clayton County Police Capt. Greg Dickens. "Other than someone hearing a 'pop' when the shot was fired, there are no witnesses, and the initial police report is all we've got."

Responding to reports of a "person down" Saturday at about 5:45 p.m., police found Edilberto Rodriguez-Castro, a 27-year-old from Hampton, in the parking lot at 221 Upper Riverdale Road, outside building 20 of Cantabria Hills Apartments.

Rodriguez-Castro was shot once in the forehead, according to the police report, and died lying face-up in an empty parking space, with his car keys gripped in his right hand.

"A substantial amount of blood was exiting from a hole in his forehead," Officer T. Garret wrote in the police report. "The victim was completely unresponsive."

One of the keys in the man's hand went to the red, 1998 Honda Civic parked next to his body. The Honda is registered to Rodriguez-Castro, at his 940 Cambridge Parkway, Lacosta Mobile Homes residence in the southern end of the county.

The doors of the Honda were unlocked, according to police, the windows were halfway down, and the engine was warm. On the other side of Rodriguez-Castro's body, a car was spattered with blood, according to the report.

Searching the area, the police found one 9 mm shell casing, underneath another car a few spots away from the body.

Canvassing the area, the officer found two people who said they "possibly heard a gunshot," but couldn't find anyone who saw the shooting.

Detectives don't yet know why Rodriguez-Castro was on Upper Riverdale Road, who he was seeing there, or who saw him last before he died.

Dickens said, with so little information to go on, solving the murder may be dependent on cooperation from the community. Those who know something about the murdered man, or the situation surrounding the parking lot shooting, have to overcome their fears and trust police enough to talk, and come forward with that information, he said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Sgt. C.D. Blissitt at (770) 477-3653, or leave an anonymous tip at (770) 473-5400.