Police: Man found dead in Downtown Yakima was beaten

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A murder in Downtown Yakima seems to have police puzzled. They have not been able to identify the man who was killed or find whoever did it. Action News learned the man was beaten and had puncture wounds.

The body went undiscovered for hours in one of the busiest parts of the city.

A body found near some of the most upscale restaurants in the city is not something Jose Buno ever expected.

"I've lived here for 15 years and never seen this happen before," Buno said. "Especially this area in Yakima, so it's scary for all the people."

"Are you scared to walk around?" KIMA asked.

"Not really, occasionally," said Jaime Maldonado who lives in Yakima. "I used to be a little looking behind my back every once in awhile but not really."

Investigators find themselves looking for a killer.

Police said the man died Monday night, but it took hours until they got word of his body laying on a planter along Front Street.

They aren't indicating how he was killed other than there are signs of trauma to his face.

"The fact that he was murdered right off the street, off the sidewalk on a planter in plain view - I might say that's a little odd," said Rod Light, Yakima police captain.

Yakima police thought they identified the victim by matching him with someone in the department's database. A fingerprint check later ruled out the match.

Police are not yet saying whether this was an isolated attack and don't have a motive.

So far, investigators say gangs were not behind the murder.

That's not enough to make people around here feel any better.

"It kinda makes you think, I don't want my kids walking down these alleys and all that," Maldonado said.

For now, police try to follow whatever trail there is in order to track down whoever was behind this murder on Front Street.

An autopsy on the victim is expected Thursday. His identity may be released before then.

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