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Gerald Schwartzman: Dumpster homicide victim allegedly slain by William Lornes (71)

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Update: In our last post about the murder of Gerald Schwartzman, 73, on view below, we pointed out that we didn't know much about the victim other than the most basic information. We now have a much better-rounded view thanks to a heartfelt statement released by his family -- and we also know that the Denver Police believe he was killed by William Lornes, the same man suspected of a high-profile kidnapping at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

According to the DPD, Schwartzman was last seen at the King Soopers at 13th and Krameria -- and his car was later found abandoned on the 5600 block of Leetsdale. The implication: Schwartzman was car-jacked before he was slain.

Prior to Schwartzman's death, there wasn't much information about him online aside from his signature on a Greenpeace petition. Turns out his was, indeed, a fervent environmentalist -- but that only scratches the surface of the portrait provided by his grieving family. Read it below, followed by the booking photo of Lornes, the man accused of ending his life, and our previous coverage.

Schwartzman family release:

Gerald 'Gerry' Schwartzman was born to Morris and Rose Schwartzman on March 18, 1938 in New York City. He attended City College of New York before his service in the US Army from 1960-1962 in Frankfurt, Germany as an administrative clerk. He was a Laboratory Technician with Kraft Foods Maxwell House Division where he spent his career improving the flavor of coffee. He retired from General Foods (who purchased Kraft/Maxwell House) in the mid 1990's. After the death of his brother David in 2001, and 9/11 he moved to Denver, Colorado to be closer to his family.

Gerry enjoyed hiking and camping in both his native Adirondacks and the mountains of his new home in Colorado. He was an avid birdwatcher and animal lover. In quieter times he was a prolific reader with a love of poetry and a special interest in science, astronomy and physics. He was a great believer in Natural Medicine and Sports as a way to maintain good health. He spent his free time during his retirement playing basketball with neighborhood kids at both his local Recreation Center and nearby parks.

He also enjoyed swimming and golf.

He had a brilliant mind. Gerry was an insightful student of history and current events, participating as a Democratic Party Volunteer during elections. His love of nature and the outdoors made him an ardent environmentalist as well as an advocate for civil rights, equality and "Fairness for Everyone." He was a determined fighter for every person's right to be an equal participant in our society.

He was a wonderful brother, uncle, cousin, husband and caring human being.

He was a self-less human being... who when you needed him was always there no questions asked. He loved a good laugh and was constantly brightening everyone's day with his comments and laughter.

Gerry was murdered on April 13, 2011. It is our expectation that there will be justice for Gerry and all of the other victims of the horrible series of crimes that included his murder. We would like to thank all of the Law Enforcement Officers whose diligence led to an arrest. We hope the Prosecutor and the Courts will fulfill our wish that the murderer of our beloved brother and uncle be punished appropriately.

He is survived by his sister, Phyllis, and his nephews Larry and Ian, all of Denver, Colorado and a former wife who still lives in upstate New York. His death is a profound loss to his family, friends and his community. He will be dearly missed.

Update, 11:13 a.m. April 15: The Denver Police Department has identified the man found in a dumpster in the 1200 block alley between Hudson and Grape as Gerald Schwartzman. At age 73, he was considerably older than the forty-ish estimate offered by the former Denver Post staffer who initially spotted the body. As for what killed Schwartzman, the autopsy results are in. He died of a gunshot wound to the head.

At this point, there's no word about potential suspects -- just evidence of a sad end to a seven-decades-plus life. Schwartzman reportedly lived a few blocks away from where his body was found, on the 600 block of Clermont. And aside from his name popping up on a Greenpeace petition from 2005 pledging to fight global warming, that's all we know about him thus far.

See our earlier coverage below.

Original item, 12:43 p.m. April 14: Since April 5, the bodies of at least five homicide victims have been found in the Denver-metro area -- a shocking total given that Denver proper saw eight homicides in the first three months of 2011.

The latest involves a corpse found in a dumpster in an alley between the 1200 blocks of Hudson and Grape.

Former Denver Post staffer Cindy Enright made the grisly discovery; she told her old employer the body appeared to be that of a man in his forties, with blood on his right shoulder and forehead.

Denver Police reps originally described the death as merely suspicious, but they've changed their collective mind, even though the autopsy results are pending and a cause of death has yet to be firmly established.

Look below to see an interactive graphic of the area near the scene; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map." In addition, information about those other four homicides since April 5 can be found here, here, here and here.

View Larger Map

More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Peter Bellar to be tried again after hung jury for Douglass Singleton murder: Marijuana related?"

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