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'Harmless' Transient Fatally Beaten

March 12, 1985|GEORGE RAMOS | Times Staff Writer

A transient living under a bridge in Boyle Heights, described by area workers as a "harmless man" who shouted biblical passages to himself, was found dead this morning by city maintenance workers as they began to bulldoze his small wooden shack. Police believe he was murdered sometime Monday.

Police Sgt. Robert Suter said the body of the unidentified man was discovered at 8:30 a.m. in the midst of debris scooped up under the First Street bridge near the Los Angeles River. The bearded man, believed to be in his 50s, was apparently beaten to death with a piece of wood, Suter said.

The city crew had gone to bulldoze the man's shack after a notice to demolish the makeshift dwelling was posted, Suter said.

Homicide investigators were searching through the pile of discarded furniture, cardboard boxes and canned food for clues in the slaying. Among the items they found were two wallets, some coins, a pocket knife and a watch, officers said.

A number of wholesale food warehouses are located in the area and several employees described the dead man, who lived under the bridge for several months, as a friendly person who apparently threatened no one.

"You would wave at him and he would wave back," said Carlos Rodarte, 30, a food distributor.

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