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Family, police baffled by mysterious death of Akron man outside Italian restaurant

Johnny fletcher.jpg
Posted at 9:56 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 19:20:02-04

AKRON, Ohio — What caused Johnny Fletcher's death? It's a question that continues to haunt his family.

On March 15, employees at Parasson’s Italian Restaurant, located in the 900 block of East Waterloo Road in Akron, noticed a gray 2006 Saturn Vue parked in their lot near the take-out doors.

The workers, who were closing for the night, then noticed a man leaning against the front of his vehicle.

"There's a man on the passenger side kind of slumped over sitting on the ground. We're not sure what's going on," a restaurant manager told a 911 operator.

EMS responded and discovered 58-year-old Johnny Fletcher, bleeding from the left side of this face and arm. He was unresponsive and appeared disoriented when asked about what had happened to him, police said.

Officers were unable to determine the cause of his injuries.

Doctors at Summa Health Akron City Hospital diagnosed him with various broken bones and facial cuts; all injuries were to the left side of his body including a broken hip and shoulder.

On March18, Fletcher died at the hospital. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death remains unknown and is waiting on the results of microscopic pathology slides. The office hopes to have an answer within a few weeks.

Johnny's older brother, Keith Fletcher, said the family was told by Summa doctors that the injuries were consistent with getting hit by a car.

"My thought is because it was all on one side (of his body) that somebody hit him in the parking lot and drove away," Keith said. "It's sad to think that your brother was kind of left lying there to fend for himself and possibly die like an animal."

According to the family, Johnny called Parasson's at 8:21 p.m on March 15, but didn't get an answer. Relatives believe he didn't realize the restaurant was closed so he drove up there presumably to place an order.

"What happened between 8:21 p.m. and 9 o'clock, we're just hoping that somebody saw something," Keith said.

Keith told News 5 that his brother was happy, enjoyed his circle of friends and retired form the University of Akron after 30 years in the physical facilities department.

"He was a good brother," Keith added. "I'm going to miss him."

The family believes the injuries were too severe to have occurred from a fall. There was no damage to Johnny's car, so police don't believe he was involved in a vehicle crash.

Family members don't think it was a robbery because Johnny's money, wallet and phone were not taken.

"To not know really what happened to him and really what caused his death, it makes the days difficult," his brother said.

Since there were no witnesses, police are asking anyone with information about the incident or anyone who may have been near the restaurant to contact them at 330-375-2490.

Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that solves the mystery.

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