By Margie Wuebker
COLDWATER -- The Coldwater Police Department continues to investigate the suspicious death of a 51-year-old Kentucky man found lying in an alley behind the United Steel Workers Hall, 216 W. Main St.
The man has been identified as Felipe Apoliuar Sequeda, of Mammoth Cave. He arrived in Coldwater on July 19 to work at a local construction site and had been scheduled to leave today.
"We are still following up on leads," Coldwater Police Chief Gery Thobe told The Daily Standard this morning. "At this point we still consider this a suspicious death."
Sequeda went out drinking with co-workers Friday night, according to Thobe. They returned and reportedly helped him into the back of the crew's large white truck parked behind the union hall. They wanted him to sleep there so he wouldn't get sick in their sleeping accommodations on the second floor of a building housing the Main Street Cafe, Thobe said.
Doris Goettemoeller, owner of Hair Expressions, 209 W. North St., Coldwater, spotted Sequeda's body in the alley while en route to open her shop around 6:15 a.m. Saturday. The man, whom she initially thought might have passed out, was lying face down in the east-west alley with his head resting on an outstretched arm.
"I was coming up the alley and drove through an empty lot to get around," she told The Daily Standard. "I called 911 and the police were here in less than five minutes."
The body was initially taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and then transported to the Montgomery County Crime Lab in Dayton, where an autopsy was performed later Saturday.
Preliminary results confirmed a severe injury to the back of the head. While the medical examiner noted the injury could have been consistent with a fall, he indicated it would have had to come from considerable distance in order to cause such an injury.
Police did not find Sequeda's wallet or a large amount of cash he reportedly had been carrying at the scene or had in the parked truck located nearby.
"We know his employer in Kentucky gave him $1,077 on July 18 before he headed here," Thobe said. "His acquaintances indicated he had at least $700 in cash Friday night."
Thobe indicated police have discounted a number of rumors thus far. A bartender at a local establishment confirmed there had been no altercation as was initially reported. Reports of a Hispanic man being chased along village streets by a crowd of people also proved unfounded.
Fellow crew members walked to the scene around noon Saturday after talking with authorities. They still appeared shaken in the hours since the discovery and notification by a police officer.
"My friend," Omar Hernandez said pointing to the stain on the alley surface. "My friend ... bad, bad," he added in broken English.
Hernandez and a companion squatted nearby talking in Spanish. The pair then grew silent shaking their heads in disbelief.
"He was a hard worker," said the work crew supervisor, who would only identify himself as Robert. "He and many of the others come here from Mexico trying to make money to send to family back home."
The supervisor would neither confirm nor deny the men were in Coldwater working at Dollar General currently under construction.
Police have been in contact with Kentucky authorities in hopes of locating an address book that would reveal the names and locations of survivors. It is believed he has a sister in Mexico.
"This is a pretty quiet neighborhood," Goettemoeller said. "You don't expect something like this in Coldwater."
Detectives from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office are assisting with the investigation.