A man was lying on the sidewalk in the French Quarter of New Orleans. People passed by, and some stopped to check for identification. Another person’s placed a jacket on him. They probably assumed he had passed out drunk, too much fun in the Big Easy.
It turned out he was murdered.
Now, four years later, police have still yet to identify his killer.
On Feb. 5, 2018, New Orleans police responded to a death on Governor Nicholls Street, according to CrimeStoppers. There, they found the body of Russell Teal Jr., who was dead.
Investigators determined Teal had been walking with another man, who hit him in the head, knocking him to the ground. His death was eventually ruled a homicide due to blunt force trauma.
Video surveillance showed the suspect going through Teal’s pockets before leaving him on the sidewalk, according to Fox 8.
Teal remained on the ground for more than seven hours, according to Fox 8. Some people stopped and one placed a jacket on him. Most people just kept walking.
“We interviewed an individual who said they thought he was just a drunk passed out on the side of the street, as it was just Mardi Gras,” New Orleans police cold-case Det. Ryan Aucoin told Fox 8 in 2019.
Eventually, someone called police and then authorities found Teal’s remains. His ID was missing, which meant it took officials five days to contact his family.
Teal moved to New Orleans shortly before his killing and was staying at the Empress Hotel on Ursulines Avenue with a roommate, according to Fox 8. Two men came to the hotel and spoke to Teal. One of the men, a Black man wearing a black and white striped jacked, is the suspect, police said.
Teal left the hotel with the suspect, and they walked the area. Teal ran into his roommate, who was on his way home from work, the TV station noted. Teal said he would return home shortly — he never did.
Shortly after the murder, his sister Tressa Teal Roten told the New Orleans Advocate that her brother moved from Alabama after falling in love with the Big Easy. He was a graduate of Troy University and worked in the restaurant industry.
“He would have given anyone the shirt off his back,” Roten told the Advocate in 2018. “He was very involved ... he just loved his family and friends.”
At that time, Roten said police didn’t say much about the case.
“We pray to find this person soon,” she told the newspaper in 2018.
Four years later, the suspect remains free. Anyone with information is asked to contact (504) 822-1111. A $5,000 reward is being offered in the case.
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