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Autopsy: Retired firefighter died of 'homicidal blunt force trauma to head'

The family of a retired Durham firefighter found dead in his home on July 9 says they don't know who might have wanted to kill him and that his death is a mystery.

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Donald Watson
DURHAM, N.C. — A retired firefighter found dead in his Durham home July 9 died of "homicidal blunt force trauma to the head," according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The report, from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill, said Donald Kemp Watson, 74, had multiple cuts to his scalp and face and a large skull fracture to the back right of his head, among other injuries.

Durham police haven't commented on the case, but the autopsy report provides some details.

According to the document, Watson was found in a spare bedroom at his home, at 4424 Regis Ave.

There were no signs of forced entry, and there was a trail of blood from the door through the hallway into the bedroom.

The report also mentions one of two heavy crystal candlesticks being found on the floor and a glass table near the bedroom as being partially shattered.

Relatives told WRAL News on July 19 that they believe Watson, a Durham firefighter for 33 years, was targeted because of large amounts of cash that he often carried.

Investigators have not made any arrests.

Anyone with information is asked to call 919-560-4440, ext. 29341 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.



Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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