On October 10, 2013, at approximately 6:30 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 215 West Belmar Street in reference to a Strong Armed Robbery. The victim, John J. Papay, 83, called the police department from his residence to report the robbery. Papay stated that he went for his morning walk and was struck from behind at least once in the head causing him to fall to the ground. An unknown suspect then took his wallet and Papay stated that he only got a glimpse of the suspect and could not identify him.
Papay was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment due to a severe head injury he received from the robbery. The case was assigned to Violent Crimes Detective Tim McDonald. Detective McDonald worked the case reviewing all potential evidence. On January 29, 2014, Detective McDonald contacted the a family member of Papay to see if there was any improvements in his condition at which time Detective McDonald was informed that Papay had passed away while in care at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center on December 18th, 2013. The hospital advised the detective that Papay had died due to unrelated causes not related to the robbery.
The Medical Examiner was notified and ruled the death of Papay was the result of the injuries he received in the robbery. The Lakeland Police Department then notified the State Attorney’s Office that the robbery had transcended into a homicide.
No other details are being released at this point and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.
• Reported to LPD on 10/10/13
• Papay dies in the care of LRMC on 12/18/13
• LPD Det. McDonald notified of death on 1/29/14