A local community has rallied around the heartbroken family of a man who was allegedly murdered while walking his dog, raising more than $25,000.
Paul Grapsas, 40, left his home on Western Beach Road in Geelong, Victoria on the night of September 14 with the family pet, but the dog returned without him.
Mr Grapsas’ body was found by his pregnant wife, Jessica, lying next to their car outside a church in nearby Malone Street at around 4am the following morning.
The beloved father of two had died from serious head injuries in a case that intrigued detectives, who said there was “nothing in his background to indicate a reason why he would be a particular victim of something like that.”
But there was a breakthrough on Wednesday when Bailey Clifford, 18, from the Geelong suburb of Belmont, was charged with the alleged murder of Ms Grapsas.
Paul Grapsas (pictured left) was found with a fatal head injury on a street near his home in Geelong. His wife Jessica, who found his body, is in the photo on the right.
Bailey Clifford, 18, of Belmont, Victoria, has been charged with the alleged murder of Paul Grapsas.
A GoFundMe launched by Mr. Grapsas’ sister-in-law Emmily Hunter described him as a loving family man who met his wife when he was just 16 years old.
“He was a devoted father of two beautiful young children and was eagerly awaiting a third baby on the way,” she wrote.
“Everyone who knew Paul knows how much he loved his family and deeply adored his daughters. They were his world.
As of Sunday evening, a day after it was posted, the fundraiser had already reached more than half of its $50,000 goal from 300 donors.
The money raised will help support Mr Grapsas’ young family now and in the future.
“No amount of money can ever replace Paul or ease the pain, but financial support can ease the burden on Jessica, their young children and their baby on the way, to help them cope with this tragic and heartbreaking loss,” can -we read in the fundraising. .
Two days after finding him dead, Mr Grapsas’ grieving wife posted a photo of the couple on their wedding day almost seven years ago.
“My love forever and ever,” she captioned the January 2017 photo.
Mr Grapsas was described as a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend in a statement released by the family.
“A man of integrity who was happiest when surrounded by family, friends and his church community,” the statement said.
“He was a devoted father of two young children, expecting a third on the way, and who had just received a promotion at his workplace.
“Known and respected in the community, a seasoned sportsman who loved golf, fishing and video games.
“Paul will be greatly missed by all those he loved and who loved him.”
Mr Grapsas’ death also sparked an outpouring of tributes from broken friends.
“It was such an honor to know this sweet, honest, wonderful father and family man. Paul was a great Christian.
“Paul is now in God’s care and heaven has gained another beautiful angel. I feel very privileged to have known such a great man,” a friend wrote.
Paul Graspas and his wife Jessica (pictured on their wedding day) were set to welcome their third child and celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary in January
Mr Grapsas (pictured) last left his home on Western Beach Road, near central Geelong, Victoria, to walk his dog. He never came home
Another wrote that “Paul was such a beautiful and caring man.”
Clifford was remanded in custody in the Geelong Magistrates Court and will next appear in court on January 30.
The court heard that up to 50 pieces of evidence would be analyzed by forensic experts to determine the cause of Mr Grapsas’ death.
Investigators have asked anyone with dashcam or CCTV footage from the area from September 15 to contact them.