WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Relatives believe a child custody battle may have led to the death of a young man in Wheat Ridge over the weekend.
Police said the suspect, Nate Vernon Fischer, staked out his victim’s home and hid outside, waiting to attack. Police are investigating the possibility that the victim, Howard Adler, and Fischer knew each other.
Family members said there was an ongoing custody dispute between Adler and his ex-girlfriend over their 3-year-old son.
“I never missed a day of my son’s life. I love him so,” said Howard’s father Bruce Adler. “He got attacked. Stabbed in the neck. Bled to death very quickly.”
Fischer, 25, is the current boyfriend of Howard’s ex-girlfriend. He’s being held at Jefferson County Jail.
Howard’s body was found at about 11 p.m. Saturday in his front yard at 4600 Miller Street in Wheat Ridge. He lived at the home with his roommates.
The roommates reportedly came outside to check on why dogs were barking. It was then that they found the man dead on the ground by a fence with multiple stab wounds.
Howard was Bruce’s only son. On the day he learned his son had died, the two had planned on having lunch with Howard’s son, Winton. Bruce is wondering why someone would want to hurt him.
“I am so empty right now I can’t even be angry at the man who killed my son,” said Bruce.
Howard’s roommates have been so shaken by his murder they haven’t slept at their home since finding Howard’s lifeless body outside.
“At first I thought it was a joke, you know, like it couldn’t be real,” said Howard’s roommate Lee.
“I have never felt such a big hole in my heart in my life,” said Howard’s roommate Frank. “I have no words for that man. No words. Nothing he can do can bring Howie back.”
Family and friends have planned a memorial for Howard Adler on Friday at 7 p.m. in front of Howard’s home at 4600 Miller Street in Wheat Ridge.
The memorial is open to all who knew Howard.