ASHLAND, Ore. – Law enforcement from across the valley continues to investigate the Thursday night homicide of 62-year old Ashland resident Frank Damiano.
As the investigation into his death at the Bear Creek Mobile Home Park continues, friends and community members mourn his passing.
Damiano was known to many in the community as Tony Della Penna. But Christine Leonard, a close friend of Tony’s for the past eight years, said many affectionately referred to him by another nickname – Bear.
“He had a huge collection of teddy bears,” said Leonard. “Bear was part of his identity. Big bear hug, you know.”
Autopsy results reveal Della Penna’s death was a homicide. Now, deputies remain on watch over a crime scene still under investigation.
Leonard says it’s a constant and painful reminder of her friend’s passing, yet somehow reassuring.
“There’s a sense of safety in that,” said Leonard. “They’re just here all the time.”
She says even in death, Della Penna continues to leave his mark. A flamboyant man, his house had been decorated like a Christmas tree the past few days.
Adding in the police lights, Leonard says, would have been just his style.
“At least we’re doing it with flair, I said to myself. And that was his way, flair,” said Leonard.
Now an entire community awaits answers in a murder they say is completely mystifying.
“When we find out answers to our questions, then we can lift this up in a light way the way tony would have wanted us to do.