‘Charlie didn’t deserve this’: Family speaks about homeless man found dead outside of SC restaurant

‘Charlie didn’t deserve this’: Family speaks about man found dead outside of Columbia restaurant

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Police are continuing to investigate the death of 35-year-old Charles Crane after the man’s body was found outside of a restaurant on Forest Drive.

Investigators said the Milton, Florida, man was found shortly after 9 a.m. on April 5 and died of blunt force trauma injuries.

WIS spoke with Charles’ parents, Jud and Betsy Crane, on Sunday. They said 35-year-old Charles Crane, known as Charlie, had a great heart and was very happy-go-lucky. Jud Crane said his son has had a difficult life and at the time of his death was homeless. He adds Crane had been to places all over the United States, staying in Columbia for a little more than a year before his death.

Jud Crane said Wednesday was the last time they spoke to their son, saying that he would call every now and then to speak to them. Two days later, Jud Crane was told his son was dead.

“My wife and I were celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary,” Jud Crane said. “We got the call from the coroner’s office. The news we got was devastating.”

He said he was thankful for the compassion shown to them from the people in Columbia and at the Richland County Coroner’s Office.

The Cranes said they last spoke to police on Saturday and since then have not learned much about the circumstances surrounding their son’s death, adding they do not know how why this happened.

“Charlie didn’t deserve this,” Jud Crane said. “We don’t know who did it, whether it was somebody that knew him. I don’t know why anybody would be going after Charlie.”

They said they are currently trying to get his body back home to Milton.

An autopsy indicated that Crane died from blunt force trauma injuries. Columbia Police are still investigating, but have not released any information about who might be responsible.

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