That’s quite a change of approach from the days immediately after the May 28 murder of Patrick Boland (photo), when investigators came dangerously close to dismissing the murder as little more than a gay man stabbed to death while out cruising for sex when the park is closed.
Nearly six weeks later, investigators tell Southern Voice that the murder case — and a probe into the stabbing of a second gay man minutes later — is going slow and suggest it could be a hate crime.
“The investigation is going slow. We have few leads and very little evidence to go on,” said Det. Michael Willis, the lead investigator.
Boland’s family confirmed to police that he was gay, Willis said. He said it appears Boland was in the park “cruising for sex, companionship or someone to talk to.”
“That’s what it looks like to me. Either he met someone online or he went out there,” Willis said.
Robbery was not a motive in the crime, he added, because Boland’s vehicle was found a few blocks from the park and his keys were in his pocket.
Willis tells the newspaper that police aren’t certain if the two stabbings are related. But because both victims are gay, the attacks could be the work of someone targeting gay men in the park.
“That is being considered,” he said.
The second victim, who had also visited Piedmont Park that night, told police his attacker came out of the bushes, attacked him, stabbed him in the chest and slashed his arm. The victim was unable to identify or give a good description of the attacker, Willis said.
Police ask that anyone with information about the cases contact Crime Stoppers.