OC’s Last Homicide Still ‘Open Case’

OCEAN CITY — While a homicide investigation involving the death of a local man and the arrest of another unfolds, the eighth anniversary of Ocean City’s last murder in 2005 quietly arrived this week and remains an unsolved case.

Eight years ago this weekend, a Virginia man was apparently murdered in his family’s Ocean City condominium, and while the suspects have long since been identified, the remains were never found and the case remains open as the perpetrators have likely fled the country. Eduardo Masoller, then 52, of Springfield, Va. was reported missing by his family on Feb. 3, 2005, just three days after he and his crew arrived in the resort area for a contracting job.

Ocean City Police detectives, accompanied by family members, went to Masoller’s condominium on 68th Street and discovered a large knife on the floor as well as a significant amount of blood evidence throughout the unit. In June 2005, five months after the disappearance, a Worcester County Circuit Court judge ruled favorably on a petition to declare Masoller officially deceased, turning the missing persons case into a homicide investigation.

While the case remains open and police detectives still chase leads and other tidbits of information, the trail has run cold and one of the prime suspects, held for nearly five years on a related auto theft conviction, has long since been deported. A second suspect is believed to have returned to his native El Salvador.

“We have identified both suspects and actually had one in custody for several years,” said OCPD public information officer Mike Levy this week. “The Criminal Investigation Division has not given up and continues to follow leads and it remains an open case.”

From the beginning, the investigation centered around two main suspects, both of whom were part of Masoller’s contracting crew and were among the last known to see him alive. One of the suspects, Jose Damian Hernandez, was convicted in September 2005 on a theft charge related to the victim’s stolen vehicle, and served time on Worcester County before being released as no further evidence of his involvement in the homicide evolved.

Meanwhile, the other main suspect, known to OCPD detectives for a long time only as “Beto,” remains at large. In 2006, resort detectives learned the true identity of “Beto” and are actively seeking the suspect. Beto has been identified as Jose Roberto Orellana Romero, 33, who is believed to have returned to El Salvador.

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