CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — People in the bar saw the man stumble down the stairs, out the back door, and collapse.
Juan “Carlos” Oquendo was covered in blood.
Central Falls police officers were there in seconds as everyone looked on.
“They were trying to clot and stop the bleeding,” Detective Jeff Araujo recalled. “Putting on shirts, anything they can find.”
Oquendo was bleeding from an artery. It wouldn’t stop.
“He lost so much blood,” Araujo added. “He bled out.”
Oquendo died on June 1, 2006. He was from the Dominican Republic and had been living in Central Falls for more than a decade.
“Regular 9-5, Monday through Friday guy,” Araujo said. “He was a very well-liked person by the people around him. No criminal past. He was a hard-working man who enjoyed himself after doing his hard work.”
“No one deserves this, but he certainly didn’t,” the detective added.
Araujo said they’ve pieced together how the night started. They say Oquendo was having drinks at Hacker’s Pub in Central Falls. After he finished a few drinks, he went to his apartment located upstairs from the bar.
That’s where Oquendo was stabbed and killed.
“It was probably the most blood I’ve ever seen at a crime scene,” Araujo said.
Araujo was one of the first detectives on scene in 2006. It was his first time leading a murder investigation. He said first, they made sure no one left.
“You know we had a lot of bar patrons,” he said. “We don’t know if they’re involved, if they did this murder, so everyone had to be accounted for.”
Oquendo had two roommates. They were immediately suspects but both had strong alibis.
Detectives soon discovered blood spots from the front door, down Pine Street, and across Conant Street. They tested it, but found it was Oquendo’s blood. Araujo believes the suspects must have been covered in it.
Thirteen years have now passed without any arrests.
“It’s sad and frustrating for Carlos,” Araujo said.
Detectives said they have suspects in the case as well as evidence they’re hoping will connect them to the scene.
“To this day, we still believe we have something that will get us there, but we also believe the public can help us with this one too,” Araujo said.
Araujo added the investigation to a deck of playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved murder or missing person case in Rhode Island. Juan “Carlos” Oquendo is the 5 of hearts.
Araujo hopes the publicity will lead to tips and new information so the murderer or murderers can be arrested.
“Since 2006, I am not certain this person has murdered someone else since then, but they’ve definitely still been involved in crime,” he said.
“We didn’t forget,” he continued. “Never think we are not there looking for you.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.