A 25-year-old Tulane University grad student’s visit to New Orleans had a tragic ending despite the man’s intentions to wed his college sweetheart, Elisabeth. The police suspect that Thomas Rolfes was killed during an armed robbery.
Investigators said that though the cellphone was still in the man’s pocket, his wallet was missing, and he had marks of struggle on his body. Police officers now believe that robbery was the prime motive for the crime.
The young man’s body was found Saturday morning with gunshot wounds to the chest. The victim’s family said he was scouring the town with his fiancé Elisabeth, 24, in search of wedding venues. The couple met when they were still in college. After five years since Rolfes’ graduation in 2011, they became engaged.
Police reported that the man’s friends last saw him alive at Ms. Mae’s bar early Saturday. Around 3:30 a.m. surveillance cameras at a gas station on S. Claiborne Avenue show the man buying two bottls of water. His body was found around 4:30 a.m. two blocks farther.
Police investigators are now trying to retrace the man’s steps from the bar to the gas station and the location where his body was found. The police department said they don’t know when exactly Rofles was gunned down. They also declined to reveal the identity of the person who contacted 911 to report the body.
Footage taken from Ms. Mae’s shows the young man and his friends having a good time. Rolfes seemed to know a lot of people at the bar. He stayed there from about 12:30 to 2:40 a.m., the police said. At about 2:40 a.m., he left the bar and took a right out of the door.
It is unclear how he reached the gas station. He could have taken a cab or just walked. Police investigators are reportedly working around the clock to solve the mystery. We also learned that the man’s fiancé stayed at a hotel while the man decided to go out with his friends.
Surprisingly, no one reported gunfire in the area where the man’s body was found. Investigators believe that the body might have been moved from another place. On Monday, the NOPD homicide division combed the area with ATF search dogs for clues.
Homicide Det. Andrew Waldron said his team now have a collection of surveillance video that may help them solve the case. Nevertheless, if you have any additional info that may help investigation please call 504-658-5300 or 504-822-1111.
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