LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An elderly man’s death, ruled a homicide in May 2016 after he was found dead at a church facility, is one that has gone largely unnoticed for almost a year…
Frank Sinfield, 69, of Little Rock, was new to the area, homeless, and sought shelter at a local church’s homeless center. There, on the morning of May 1, 2016, he was found dead by his roommate who could not wake him.
Little Rock Police say they believe Frank had been living in Little Rock for just about one month before he died.
Authorities first ruled Frank’s cause of death to be complications from pneumonia, meaning it went unreported, as an elderly man who passed away from pneumonia isn’t quick to gain media attention.
That is, until an autopsy was conducted…
The medical examiner found something unexpected — internal trauma that indicated Frank did not die of natural causes.
At that point, Little Rock Police say Frank’s death turned into an open homicide investigation, and Frank had a killer who was roaming free.
Investigators began with the little information they had, mapping out Frank’s final hours…
On the morning of Frank’s death, Authorities were called to the Church of God Homeless Center on Mabelvale Pike in south Little Rock around 7:30 a.m.
When they arrived, they spoke with Wayne Hawkins, 56, of Little Rock, a fellow resident at the homeless center.
Wayne told police that Frank had told him, at around 10 p.m. April 30, that he was not feeling well and went to bed.
The next morning, Wayne said he tried wake Frank but was unsuccessful. That’s when he called 911.
Frank was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
Wayne told police Frank had been sick with pneumonia. And, for a 69-year-old man, it was a plausible cause of death.
But about two days later, the script was flipped when the medical examiner’s results came in.
Police say they are not releasing what exactly led the medical examiner to believe the death was a homicide, but they do admit there was interior trauma not consistent with a natural death. Police add that there were no exterior injuries, such as a stab or gunshot wound, which rules out the possibility that any weapons were used.
The Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) says Wayne was extensively interviewed and eventually cleared as a suspect. They have no other leads or suspects in the case.
Though Frank’s death happened nearly one year ago, the LRPD says it is still an open case.
The police report shows Frank was born in 1946 and has family in the United Kingdom. He is believed to have lived in Florida before moving to Arkansas.
With Frank having so few ties to Little Rock, and family out of the country, police say this has been a difficult case to investigate. They continue to interview homeless people in the area and show Frank’s picture around town, hoping for a shred of recognition into who Frank might have been or who might have wanted to hurt him.
One thing police know for sure — a killer has been walking free for over 11 months now. 11 months too long.
If you have any information on this case, please call the LRPD.