Victim’s brother says lottery winnings might have been linked to death.

Last updated: July 22. 2013 11:50PM - 4394 Views
By SHEENA DELAZIO



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The brother of a man found dead on July 13 inside his Hazleton home told investigators Rafael Lange may have been murdered because he had recently won the Dominican lottery, according to a search warrant.


Lange, 29, was found inside 441 E. 6th St., Hazleton, on July 13. Police have called his death suspicious.


In a search warrant filed Monday in the Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Office in Wilkes-Barre, police said they were searching for evidence relating to Lange’s death, including a notepad, two cellphones, two containers of unknown pills and a bank bag. Police were seeking to search a red Ford Ranger driven by a friend of Lange’s.


According to the search warrant, Lange’s brother, who is not named, spoke with police and identified a possible suspect who may have murdered Lange because Lange won $2,000 or more in the Dominican lottery recently.


The brother indicated to police Lange always carried his money in his front, right pocket, a pocket police say in the search warrant was found turned inside out when officers arrived at Lange’s apartment.


The search warrant says two women, identified as “A” and “C,” spoke with a detective about finding Lange unresponsive in his apartment. The women gave “conflicting information” about how they were notified about Lange, police said, and how they got to Lange’s home.


Woman “A” said she and her boyfriend, “B,” had received a phone call from an unknown source asking them to check on the victim. Woman “C” said she and her boyfriend, “D,” went to Lange’s house because her boyfriend and “Gordo” — Lange — were supposed to go to New York to pick up a package.


Police said the story changed, and that “C” said they were at Lange’s house to accompany him to New York City to pick up Lange’s wife, who was returning from the Dominican Republic.


Police further questioned the women, who said when they arrived at Lange’s, they attempted to give Lange CPR, and that “C” decided to call 911. Police said “D” left the apartment because there was a warrant for his arrest. He fled on foot, leaving the pickup. The vehicle allegedly belongs to “C’s” brother and was being borrowed by “D,” police said.


Lange’s brother identified “D” as the man who might have killed Lange. Police said no money was found on Lange or inside his apartment.


Police said that when they searched Lange’s residence, they found shotgun and handgun ammunition, as well as a semi-automatic handgun magazine inside a bedroom. Police said there were no guns that went along with the ammunition inside.


The warrant says suspected controlled substances were also found in Lange’s apartment, and Lange had been arrested on federal charges of possession with intent to deliver on July 2.


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