Brutal beating death outside south-side store still unsolved - FOX Carolina 21

Brutal beating death outside south-side store still unsolved

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A plea for help from a southern Arizona family devastated by murder.

53-year-old Robert Pena died in May of 2011, just two weeks after he was brutally beaten outside a Tucson convenience store.

His killers were never caught.

Police say the victim had just left the Circle K near Valencia and Sixth Avenue when he was confronted by at least two people in a vacant lot across the street.

At first it appeared they only wanted to take his money.  But after brutally beating him with a blunt force object -- they ultimately took his life.

That beating occurred in the early morning hours of April 21st, 2011.

So bad, so violent, it left Robert Pena's face unrecognizable to his own family.

"My brother was essentially beaten," says Joseph Savalas.  "He was beaten with a tool that we understood. It was a horrible thing, amongst other things that were done to him."

Despite massive trauma to his face and brain, Pena held on for nearly two weeks before he finally died.

And for what reason?

"I think they just brutally beat him and left him to die for money," says Pena's sister, Irene Zamora.

Probably no more than a few dollars, she says.

When his mangled body was found, Pena's wallet was missing.

Coincidentally enough, two guys walked into that Circle K looking through a wallet that same morning.

"These are the individuals that were detained for whatever reason, let go," Savalas says.  "Probably the closest thing we have to a lead or anything as far as family goes."

Let go, we're told, because Pena's wallet was never found and overall lack of material evidence.

30 months later, he family is hoping somebody out there has heard something about the brutal beating of a 53 year old man near Valencia and South Sixth.

Robert Pena was a small man, his sister says, only about 5-2 and 160 pounds.

But he had a huge heart.

Neither he nor his family deserved anything like this.

"To the person or persons who did it, how could you do something to someone like that?" Irene Zamora says, slowly shaking her head.  "How could you live with yourself and sleep every night...because, to tell you the truth, I don't sleep very much."

If you have any idea who did this to Robert Pena, call 911 or 88-CRIME, the Pima County Attorney's anonymous tip line.

A reward up to $1,000 will go to the person whose tip leads to an arrest in this unsolved case.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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