Death at Hampton beach house under investigation; police secure room at nearby motel
HAMPTON - Authorities are investigating the suspicious death of a man found dead inside a beach house early Friday morning.
Hampton police and investigators from the State Police Major Crime Unit responded to the rental home at 19 M St. around 12:30 a.m. after the man's body was discovered.
The Attorney General's Office labeled the death suspicious, but has not provided details.
Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley declined to comment on the details of the investigation, saying only that more information would become available following an autopsy that was planned for Friday.
Hinkley also would not confirm whether police activity at the Westport Motel was related to the death investigation. The motel is located next to the Hampton police station on Ashworth Avenue a short distance away from the crime scene.
A worker from the motel said police arrived Friday morning to secure a room booked by a guest Thursday night.
Authorities have not released the identity of the deceased man, but several friends who gathered outside the residence identified him as Robert Roderick.
Roderick has rented the house for about a year, but has lived in the area for many years, friends said.
Yellow police tape remained around the property throughout Friday as police investigators wearing biohazard entered and exited the residence, carrying evidence and snapping photographs.
Neighbor Nicole Belanger said she and her boyfriend, Scott Anderson, who was rooming with Roderick, found him dead on the couch in the living room.
Friends said another man also moved into the residence in recent months, but he was not seen at the residence during the day Friday.
Anderson stayed with Roderick for the past few days and said he came home around 9:30 p.m. Thursday and found the door locked. He said he didn't have a key to get inside because the house was usually unlocked, so he climbed in through a window.
Anderson said he noticed Roderick on the couch with a shirt over his face, but he thought he was just asleep.
"He was the type of guy that if he was sleeping, you didn't wake him up. He was like a grouchy bear," Belanger said.
As the night went on, Anderson said he became concerned because Roderick hadn't woken up. He eventually checked on him and discovered that the white shirt over his face was stained with blood.
Belanger also rushed over to check on him.
"I noticed that he was pale and I just dropped and said, 'Oh my God, he's dead,'" she said.
They immediately called 911.
"I was just talking to him yesterday afternoon at 3 and we were laughing. We were close. He was like a dad to me, and then to find out this happened, I don't think it's really hit me yet," Belanger said.
Roderick's friend, Maggie Gauron, said she was with him for part of the day Thursday before she dropped him back off at the house in the early afternoon. There was no sign of trouble at the time, she said.
"He was the best person you would ever want to meet. He would take anyone into his house," said a distraught Gauron, who lives nearby.
Eric Sheldon, another friend who lives next door, said Roderick was the type of guy who was always willing to help out.
"He would take his shirt off his back for someone," he said.
Ron Koney, who also lives in the neighborhood, said he was shocked to hear about the death.
"Everybody knew Bob. He was a very nice guy. He didn't deserve this at all. I just don't understand how it would happen to such a nice guy," he said.