80-year-old veteran found murdered in his Jamaica Bay home

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

A family is grieving the death of their beloved grandfather after his body was found in his home.

The victim’s family says veteran Ron Lagattuta, 80, was murdered. His body was found in the bedroom closet of his Jamaica Bay home, and investigators say the suspect in connection to his killing is sitting locked up in a Georgia jail cell.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has not shared more details from the case. In particular, we still don’t know how deputies came to identify and ensure the arrest of suspect Michael Joseph Wasko, 46.

Lagattuta is described by his family as a man who was kindhearted. His son, Anthony changed his profile picture on social media to honor his dad.

Fellow veterans Cathy Hatch and David drake are saddened by Lagattuta’s murder.

“I’m a veteran, and I’m a grandmother,” Cathy Hatch said. “I just can’t imagine, the poor family.”

“He’s a veteran, so obviously he served his country and would serve people,” Drake said.

In a post on social media, Lagattuta’s son said his father was a person who took people in.

“Oh, it’s heartbreaking,” Drake said. “I have ten grandkids. I’m sure the grandkids would be distraught if something were to happen to grandpa, you know.”

“I send prayers to his family,” Hatch said. “I hope they can get some kind of peace.”

Michael Joseph Wasko (Credit: Chatham County Sheriff’s Office booking photo)

We don’t how Lagattuta died, but we do know Wasko faces second-degree murder charges. Law enforcement found him seven hours away in Port Wentworth, Georgia a day after deputies found Lagattuta.

“I would want to go after the man even though I’m a Christian, and I’m not supposed to do anything,” Drake said. “But it would be hard not to. It would be hard to hold back.”

It’s unclear when Michael Wasko will return to Lee County to face the second-degree murder charges. Detectives will not say what if any connection there was between the suspect and the victim.

“It’s not supposed to end this way,” Hatch said.

Wasko’s first court appearance is Monday, March 8.

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