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John A. Byrd

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A 41-year-old Collinsville man found stabbed to death in his home Monday morning was described by neighbors as a quiet man who kept to himself.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis asked for the public's help in the investigation. O'Fallon Police Lt. Eric Van Hook, deputy commander of the squad, said police want to talk with "anybody who saw anything." He said even old information about the victim could be helpful.

"At this time, we're continuing to follow up on multiple leads that have come in," he said. "This is a very crucial time in the investigation."

John A. Byrd, of 103 Emilie St., was discovered by his mother about 6:30 a.m. He had been stabbed multiple times. Van Hook would not disclose the number of times Byrd had been stabbed.

Neighbor Tracy "Animal" Everright said Byrd kept to himself.

"You wouldn't ever know he was back there," Everright said. "Real quiet guy. Never seen much of him. He didn't even turn on a light ever."

Everright said he learned of Byrd's death Monday morning when Byrd's mother ran crying from the house and asked Everright whether he'd seen anything. Everright said Byrd had health problems and was on disability.

Another neighbor, Beth Hawkes, also described Byrd as quiet. She said her husband has lived next to Byrd for 13 years, but had never spoken with him.

"He just kind of kept to himself," Hawkes said. "He just stayed in his house and didn't really come out."

Police, who arrived at the scene at 6:44 a.m. Monday, said Byrd was last seen Sunday.

"We know that he was OK last evening (Sunday)," Van Hook said.

Funeral arrangements for Byrd were pending Monday.

Published in Belleville News-Democrat on June 12, 2007
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