With nothing to lose, they went to Craigslist for clues in their grandfather’s killing in Denver

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There’s an unusual series of posts on Denver’s Craigslist this week among the usual offers of handyman help and prescription medication discounts.

“Help find my gpas killer,” reads one. “Can anyone help me?” states another.

The author was Joshua Graton, 26. He’s looking for the person who killed Lewis Easterday, a 77-year-old resident of Federal Heights.

Crime Stoppers images of Lewis Easterday and the site of his killing.
Crime Stoppers images of Lewis Easterday and the site of his killing.

Police officers found Easterday bleeding from multiple stab wounds at the intersection of East 13th Avenue and North Marion Street, just west of Cheesman Park, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. He died shortly afterward.

Graton, the Craigslist poster, said Easterday raised his wife, Dariann Graton. He was technically her step-grandfather, but he acted every bit like her dad, and he became family to Graton too.

They last heard from Easterday on the day of his death. That night, Graton’s wife had asked Easterday to come help her with a flat tire at the McDonald’s in Bennett where she works. Easterday had gladly started the 45 minute drive from his home in Federal Heights, but Graton’s wife managed to fix the tire herself. That would be their last conversation, Graton said.

They didn’t learn of his death for days afterward, he said. “We were trying to call him all week. My wife was blowing up his phone, and there was no answers, no answers, no answers.”

Eventually, they called Easterday’s boss at the plumbing company where he worked.

He told them Easterday, a veteran of the U.S. Army, had been killed.

“It’s just uneasy — I feel like I can’t rest,” Graton said. Unable to sleep, Graton made the series of posts on Craigslist, encouraging people to call the Denver Police Department with any tips they had. He’s especially hopeful that someone living on the streets saw what happened.

“I grew up on 16th Street Mall when I was younger, because I was homeless. I know homeless people watch things, and I know homeless people talk,” he said.

Dariann Graton meanwhile is blaming herself, thinking that Easterday wouldn’t have been driving that night if she hadn’t asked for help.

Today, the Denver Police Department joined the Gratons in asking for help. A Crime Stoppers alert offers up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the homicide of Lewis Easterday. Anyone with information can anonymously call 720-913-7867.

“He taught me a lot in life. He was funny in a different way – he was always hoping to make people laugh,” Graton said. “I loved him like he was a grandpa of my own.”

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.