OCEAN CITY — Ten years ago this week, a Virginia man was apparently murdered in his family’s uptown Ocean City condominium, but the victim’s remains have never been found and the case is still an open investigation.
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 Ocean City for a contracting job. Ocean City Police, accompanied by family members, went to Masoller’s condominium on 68th Street and found a large knife on the floor as well as a large amount of blood evidence throughout the unit, the most significant of which was a large pool in one of the unit’s bedrooms.
In June 2005, 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. The judge essentially agreed the evidence presented suggested the victim could not have survived the injuries indicated by the amount of blood discovered in the unit.
One decade later, the case remains active and open, and OCPD detectives still chase leads and other tidbits of information, but the victim’s remains have never been found and the two main suspects identified early in the investigation have likely fled the country. In every year since the incident, OCPD detectives have urged hunters and hikers across the Eastern Shore and beyond to keep an eye out for the victim’s remains.
“This case remains open and our detectives continue to follow up on any possible leads that surface,” said Ocean City Police Public Information Officer Lindsay Richard this week. “We encourage any citizen with information regarding Mr. Masoller’s disappearance to contact our detectives.”
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, which was later recovered in Columbus, Ohio. Hernandez was sentenced to five years in jail, but he has long since been released and deported to his native El Salvador.
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.” Beto has been identified as Jose Roberto Orellana Romero, 34, with no fixed address. Romero’s most recent address available is in Columbus, Ohio, where Hernandez was ultimately arrested on the theft charges, but resort detectives believe he could have fled to his native El Salvador.
After determining Romero’s identity, OCPD detectives were able to secure a warrant for his arrest, charging him with multiple counts of felony theft for his role in the incident. However, an arrest warrant for Romero remains active in Worcester County.
Anyone with information on the case or the whereabouts of the main suspects is urged to contact OCPD Detective Brett Case at 410-723-6632. Citizens who wish to remain anonymous can also contact the OCPD Crime Tops Hotline at 410-520-5136.