A Detroit man learned of his son’s murder on social media after a photo showing what appeared to be the dead man’s arm dangling from the trunk of a car went viral, the heartbroken father said.
Jeff Hagler, 39, was found beaten and shot three times in the trunk of a white Buick Century in an alley near Hickory and Fairmont at about 10:32 a.m. Monday, according to reports.
Pictures of Hagler’s arm hanging out of the car quickly spread across social media, as Facebook users shared the images thousands of times.
That was how Hagler’s father, Jeff Davis, found out his son had been killed, as relatives immediately recognized the vehicle in the photos to be his. Police confirmed their worst nightmare that Hagler had been killed, family said.
“I couldn’t believe it was him, I couldn’t believe it,” Davis told WJBK-TV. “That’s how I found out, through Facebook.”
Davis said his son spent Father’s Day with him before they parted ways at about 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Hagler, a father of three himself, was found dead less than 12 hours later.
“It’s sad to find out your son you’ve just seen—and the next thing you know he is in the back of a car,” Davis told the TV station.
Hagler served time in jail for drug-related charges when he was in his 20s, but turned his life around and was working as a local auto part supplier when he was killed, family said.
Though relatives said they believe Hagler was targeted at random to be robbed, police reportedly suspect there may be more to the murder.
“We’re following all leads,” DPD Officer Shanelle Williams told the Detroit Free Press. ”We’re doing anything we can as it relates to this and we’re asking for the public’s help.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the homicide unit at 313-596-2260.