The son of an 87-year-old minister beaten to death in a Columbia home invasion said he is glad city police have released a picture showing a weapon similar to the one the killer used.
"This person could strike again," said Evans Eichelberger, 67, who hopes airing the clue will result in a suspect's arrest in the deadly attack of his father, the Rev. Tryon Eichelberger.
Wednesday, Columbia police released a picture of a Kinedyne Model 10033 Flatbed Combination Winch Bar, a tool they said is associated with flatbed trucks and rail cars.
That's the type of tool used in May to smash Eichelberger's head in, police said. It was found on his property, a one-story house at 119 Isaac St., in Columbia's Greenview community.
At 39.5 inches long and weighing 6 pounds, the chrome-plated tool is about 6 pounds heavier and 7 inches longer than an average baseball bat.
Until now, police have just described the weapon as "a metal pipe."
Late on the evening of May 3, an intruder broke down the front door of Eichelberger's home and beat him about the head and shoulders with the winch bar.
Eichelberger lingered in a coma at Palmetto Health Richland until late July, when he died without regaining consciousness.
Eichelberger's son said Wednesday he thinks others besides the killer have information about the crime and their consciences may be troubling them.
"I think some people are afraid to come forward," he said. "But I think God is going to intervene and release the information we need."
The family is trying to get some money together to offer a reward, Evans Eichelberger said.
It is unclear what the motive might have been. No items were believed to have been taken from the house.
The pastor, a widower, had lived in his home for 50 years. An avid gardener and talented singer, he was known as a multitalented man with a wide circle of friends.
Police earlier developed a composite sketch of a suspect, describing him as a heavyset male with a pot belly and a receding hairline.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (888) CRIME-SC.