Graveside Services for Roy Park Saturday, June 2...

     May 26, 2007

     Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 2 at the Rainier Cemetery off Stringtown Road near Eatonville. Pastor Don Litzer of Bethany Lutheran Church will officiate. After the service friends of Roy Park's will gather at the Eatonville Eagles Hall for a reception and to celebrate his unique life. Arrangements by Fir Lane Funeral Home.



Memorial Day Honors for Roy Park - Murdered Veteran


                                                                                                           (photo by Bob Walter)

     Roy Park had been a member of the American Legion Honor Guard for about six years. He was always there during the Memorial Day ceremonies to help fire the twenty-one gun salute to fallen vets. This year Park's place in the firing line-up was taken by the homemade honey sign which used to point to his home. The other members of the honor guard stood beside the sign and the upside down rifle with Park's American Legion hat on the its stock. 
     

Fallen Veterans Were Honored Along With Murder Victim Roy Park...
     

     May 28, 2007 - by Dixie A. Walter: The ten-minute Memorial Day service was held at the Eatonville Cemetery Memorial Day. Veterans of all wars were honored by Jody Johnson, Commander of Post 148 in Eatonville - to see the text of the American Legion's eulogy please go here Legion Honors Veterans .
     A tribute to beekeeper Roy Park, "The Honey Man," was part of the ceremony. He was murdered, beaten
beyond recognition, and his body left on his property near Rapjohn Lake. The tragedy of Roy Park wasn't discovered until May 16 when an alert mail carrier noticed his mail had not been picked up for awhile. 
     Officials estimated he had been killed two or three days earlier, or as some reports state, three to four days earlier. The Sunday before his body was discovered was Mother's Day. Park was a member of the local American Legion. Although Commander Johnson said it wasn't clear yet which branch of the military Park served in. However, another close friend maintains Park was in the Army.
     The 81-year-old murdered man had "no family or children" according to Lloyd Knesal, executor of Park's will. Knesal said Park's bee hives would be sold, and that he had a lot of them around the area, even going up-the-line toward Mount Rainier. On Monday, Knesal didn't know exactly how many hives would be available to sell.
      KIRO-TV also attended the Eatonville Memorial Day ceremonies. When Kevin McCarty, the reporter who has been covering the unsolved murder, told ENN one of the reasons he and his cameraman were there was because of the mystery surrounding his death and the way this community has pulled together to make sure he has a proper burial.
     Several local people had said they would claim his body if no one else did.  In the end John and Tammi Bratholm took the responsibility. John Bratholm said there has been $1,300 donated toward Park's funeral service. He explained that Brad Cole, a fellow beekeeper, was donating a" hand made coffin," Dick Taylor has donated a plot at the small Rainier cemetery off Stringtown Road where the honey man had requested to be buried  and the Eatonville Eagles are donating their hall for a reception following the funeral.
    Bethany Lutheran Pastor Don Litzer will officiate at the graveside services to be held Saturday, June 2.

Honor Guard in 2005...


                                                                                                                                (May 30, 2005 photo by Bob Walter)

     Two years ago patriot Roy Park, second from left, was a member of the Eatonville American Legion's Honor Guard to help honor veterans who had fallen. Park had been participating for six years before his tragic, as yet, unsolved vicious murder.



Community Stunned, and Angered, by Murder of "The Honey Man"

 

Royce Edward Park


    
An account was opened at Key Bank by Susie Robinson for donations to help with a memorial service and reward.

Scene of  a Savage Crime...


                                                                                                                                                              
(photo by Bob Walter)

Roy Park's residence in the 37900 block of 58th Avenue Court East near Rapjohn Lake..

     May 20, 2007 - by Dixie A. Walter: Everyone who knew Roy Park is bewildered and outraged at the death of the 81-year-old beekeeper. According to reports from authorities, the friendly local man had been dead for two to three days before his body was discovered. No official cause of death has been announced yet. His death has been called "brutal, vicious and savage." 
     An alert, and concerned, rural mail carrier noticed Roy's mail had been accumulating for a few days and alerted the police. According to friends of his the elderly man "religiously" picked up his mail. Police searching the property found "drag marks and blood" leading away from the building he lived in. Following this trail they discovered the man's remains in a ditch covered with brush. His body was found Wednesday morning May 16.
     Susie Robinson, owner of Mountain View Cafe said, "They beat him to death and threw him away like garbage." Susie, a cancer survivor, knew the murder victim well and told of his kindness when she was diagnosed with cancer but had no medical insurance. Susie explained how Roy donated six months of his proceeds from honey sales to help her with medical costs. He was a man of meager means and Susie was deeply touched by his gesture.
     "Yes, he was a character," Susie said, "but he was our character." Many residents of this community expressed their affection for the beekeeper and their horror at his death. Lorine Carroll, a neighbor, voiced her feelings, "We don't know who would do such a thing, or what anyone could even have been looking for. He was such a sweet old guy. Never bothered anyone. Always available to catch a swarm of menacing bees. Loved to chat if you had the time. Who wouldn't love a guy like that? I only hope they catch whoever did this and they pay a very high price for it."
     Lorine noted that Roy had come to her property a couple of times to collect bee swarms and he could tell just  by looking they weren't his bees. Roy was the person to call if you found yourself with thousands of bees in your yard.  Recently ENN did a story about a bee swarm. Roy was called by the Eatonville resident who had the swarm in one of his trees. However, the bees had left the property before Roy could get them.
     A close friend of the murder victim said Roy spent a lot of time, hours a day, at his computer and read many newspapers via the Internet. This friend declined to be named only because he said, several times, "I'm scared. The same thing could happen to me." The man had known Roy over twenty-five years and said Roy had lived on the same piece of property (ten acres according the Piece County Assessor Web site) for about twenty-eight years. He didn't have a weapon, although at one time he did have a firearm, but it was stolen a few years ago and not replaced.

Small Remembrances of Lilacs...


                                                                                                                                           
(photo by Bob Walter)

     On Saturday someone who cared had put two nosegays of white lilacs by Roy Park's honey farm sign. The crime tapes were gone except for a scrap left by the trailer hitch. Authorities estimated he had been dead two or three days when his remains were found Wednesday morning. If that is the case, he may have been murdered on Mother's Day.
     Several people have been concerned about the fate of Roy's bees. One former beekeeper who talked to ENN said they would take care of themselves. Friends said he had no other animals.

He Never Married...

     Roy's close friends said he had never married. The victim's old friend, who doesn't want to be identified, told ENN Roy had come to the Eatonville area from Michigan and thought there might be a few family members still living there. He said Roy had served in the Army, and at one time he had worked for the railroad in Michigan loading ties onto railroad cars.. Roy told his Eatonville friend he liked that job.   
     Loading rail road ties requires strength and Roy appeared to be a robust man. Susie Robinson said he had big hands and she didn't believe he would "go down without a fight." This case seems to typify the quintessential "senseless murder."
     There are conflicting stories about his nationality. Some said he was Native American, but his close friend said that wasn't true. Roy did wear his gray hair in a ponytail and often wore a bandanna.
     The aged victim canned a lot of his own food,  and even made his own ketchup, in an effort to make ends meet. He used the food bank when necessary and tended to his bees. Several sources have said that Roy didn't have as many bees as he used to and bought honey by bulk from another keeper. According to some of those who knew him, Roy would then sell it under his label. He sold honey in a number of Eatonville businesses including the Mountain Community Co-op, where it was said he came in twice a month on Thursdays, like clockwork, to deliver his wares. But last Thursday The Honey Man did  not arrive; Channel 13 came to cover the story of his killing instead.
      There are many theories floating about the area as to how, and why, this terrible crime was committed and upon such an elderly person. A year or so ago Roy told friends he thought someone was snooping around his property when he was gone, and thought he knew who it might be. At that time he installed surveillance cameras. Law enforcement officials have said nothing was recorded on the cameras. 
      Some conjecture The Honey Man may have come home from one of his trips to town and caught someone on his place. Others have wondered if a person or person(s) may have taken a wrong turn looking for a meth seller. There are meth labs out in the woods around the Eatonville area. Another theory concerns a land dispute from long, long ago when a man allegedly threatened to kill Roy. This theory accounts for the story circulating that the man who allegedly threatened Roy's life had just been released from prison a week or so prior to his death.
      Another story, which has some  basis in fact, is that Roy was threatening to file a lawsuit against Dr. Tom Van Eaton. Roy showed the legal documents to friends. Dr. Van Eaton had befriended Roy a long time ago, helped him out medically and assisted Roy in getting benefits due him. Many years ago Dr. Van Eaton agreed to pay off Roy's debts in exchange for his land, with the provision he could stay there the rest of his life.. This was all done legally and sources say the lawsuit was pointless. It's doubtful the suit was ever filed, as nothing shows up on the Pierce County Superior Court Website.
      No one can understand what possible motive could prompt someone to beat to death an old man with very little to his name. Robbery was ruled out as a motive; he really had nothing of value to steal. Everyone who knew him was very fond of the beekeeper, saying he was gentle and kind, so they can't conceive of him having an enemy who wanted him dead.
      Homicide Detective Bruce Larson with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department interviewed some local residents searching for answers. According to Susie Robinson, Detective Larson told her the "case is solvable." Meanwhile friends of The Honey Man are organizing to work out details of a memorial service. Presently no firm plans have yet been made
      No one is sure, at this time, who will receive his remains or if a funeral will be held here. Evidently, in the past, Roy had told some friends he wished to be buried in the old pioneer cemetery off Stringtown Road. All of Roy's friends echo Lorine Carroll when she says, "I hope Roy gets a nice memorial."    

 

The Road to a Malevolent Murder...


                                                                                                                                               (photo by Bob Walter)

     Someone turned down this country road and drove about a third of a mile until they came to Roy Park's cluttered residence. Whether the killer intended to find The Honey Man, or whether it was just a tragic mistaken wrong turn, we don't yet know. It is impossible for Roy's local friends to imagine how anyone could have such malice toward an old man with very little material wealth. Many repeated the same phrase, "No one should die like that." Friends are waiting for the results of an autopsy. So far all that is known for certain is that the elderly victim died as a result of "homicidal violence."
      
     There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his killer. KIRO TV Crime Stoppers listed Roy's murder as the Crime of the Week: Tacoma/Pierce County Crime Stoppers Online 

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