Police: $10,000 reward for Zabel case

Published 10:12 am Friday, June 20, 2008

Interviews with individuals connected, or believed to be, to the murder of Austin High School graduate Beau Zabel have not resulted in strong leads yet, according to Philadelphia police.

“We’ve run in several people to talk to,” Philadelphia homicide Capt. James Clark said. “Nothing has panned out yet.”

Zabel was killed early Sunday morning about a block from his home as he returned from a Starbuck’s shift around 1:30 a.m. The 23-year-old was an aspiring teacher, having left for Philadelphia May 2 to work for a program with inner-city students.

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Police believe Zabel was the victim of a botched robbery targeting his iPod, which was the only personal item missing from the scene. Zabel’s backpack, which contained his wallet, remained, though one pocket was turned inside out.

“We believe the individual demands a robbery, and at some point the robbery goes wrong and some kind of struggle takes place,” Clark said. “Then the victim was shot a single time in the neck.”

Video surveillance from two nearby businesses captured Zabel purchasing a soda while returning to his home, located on the 800 block of Ellsworth Street in South Philadelphia, as well as a “person of interest” near the scene of the crime.

Clark said the man was taped removing something from his waistband, which the captain said may have been a gun, and placing it in a plant, before leaving. He returned later for the item, tucked it back into his pants, and left.

“We don’t know if he’s the doer, but we’d like to talk to him,” the captain said. He said image did not show the man’s face or other identifiable information.

The crime was not caught on tape.

On Wednesday the Citizens Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Zabel, the second of three children, moved to Philadelphia after he was accepted to the Philadelphia Teaching Fellow program. The graduate of Augustana College, of Rock Island, Ill., also planned on attending Drexel University.

His mother, Lana Zamora, traveled to the region Monday to arrange for her son’s return to Minnesota. Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Worlein Funeral Home, 1801 Fourth St. N.W. in Austin. His funeral is scheduled to take place Saturday.