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Flagstaff police and family search for answers in death of Tuba City man on Butler Avenue

Flagstaff police and family search for answers in death of Tuba City man on Butler Avenue

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The Flagstaff Police Department is searching for the person who allegedly killed a Tuba City man in mid-October near the intersection of Butler Avenue and South San Francisco Street.

Officers are still trying to piece together information about what caused the death of 53-year-old Patrick Kerley. The department has not established any suspects at this time. Charles Hernandez, spokesman for the Flagstaff Police Department, said officers are trying to determine how Kerley was injured and determine a motive for his death.

"The detectives assigned to the case are working tirelessly to identify persons of interest, investigative leads, and hopefully identify and arrest a suspect involved in the incident," Hernandez said.

Police knew little about the victim on the day his body was found, and first found an address for him in Flagstaff. Sabrina Hernandez, Kerley's daughter, is now in contact with the police and said he owned a home in Tuba City.

She said his five children and six grandchildren want to know why her father was killed and who killed him.

"We want answers. We would love for someone to come forward, because our kids ask us about it. His grandkids — they miss him," Hernandez said. "We miss him."

She described her father was a religious family man who was a fan of metal music. His grandchildren called him Papa AC/DC, because of his love for his favorite metal band.

"He was the parent we could go to who wouldn't deny us anything," Hernandez said. "He would always give us advice about making a life for ourselves ... He always instilled in our mind that we could do anything we wanted."

Kerley was found on Oct. 20 on the south side of the intersection in the planters near the sidewalk and benches.

Officers who first arrived on the scene pulled Kerley out of the planters and found him without a pulse. They attempted to revive him, but he was later declared dead after medics arrived.

At the scene, detectives noticed a large pool of blood near where Kerley was found and various blood spatters on the concrete in that area. Detectives noted there was dried blood on his lips and nose that also appeared to be swollen as if he had been struck.

Hernandez said her father had been going through a rough patch recently and had become dependent on alcohol. Their family was trying to help him, but the COVID-19 pandemic complicated their ability to care for him.

She wanted to speak to people who might be trying to manage their addiction or similar hardships.

"They're loved. They need to be loved," Hernandez said. "They don't need to be out there."

Officers interviewed several possible witnesses and are searching through the evidence they've found. The department is waiting to get an autopsy from the Coconino County Medical Examiner to determine how Kerley was killed.

"At this point, we are asking the community to come forward with any information they may have related to Mr. Kerley's death investigation," Charles Hernandez said. "Any information at all, no matter how miniscule they may think it is, could help lead to the identification of a suspect."

Police are asking anyone with information to call the Flagstaff Police Department at 928-774-1414 or call Silent Witness at 928-774-611.

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