EL PASO, Texas — One year and five months ago—on Fathers Day—Heinz Duerkop was riding his bike on George Dieter and Pocahontas in El Paso, Texas.
He was struck from behind and killed.
The police conducted an investigation, but to this point no arrest has been made.
According to the police report, white paint chips were recovered from the scene.
One witness, Nora Hodges was about to drink her morning cup of coffee when she heard a loud thump and, out her window, saw dust swirling in the air.
Hodges insists, “I heard no screeching of tires to swerve or miss him.”
Throughout his life, according to family and friends, Duerkop, 67, touched many lives in the El Paso area.
“Heinz was just the kindest person. He filled our neighborhood with happiness,” Arlene Pauciello, a neighbor, says.
“Taking one person out of somebody’s life has affected the lives of dozens and dozens of people.”
Throughout the final nine years of his life Duerkop inspired many tourists visiting Hueco Tanks, where he volunteered.
Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is named for the natural rock basins in its granite outcroppings that capture rainwater, a precious resource in the Chihuahuan Desert.
“Even the kids out in Hueco Tanks are never going to be able to hear Heinz. He’s never going to be able to teach them and show them the respect for the land,” Pauciello, says.
Duerkop became a U.S. citizen 12 years after he came into the United States with the German Air force.
“He was very happy and very proud to be an American,” Margot Duerkop, his wife, says.
Family and friends believe they know who the suspect is in Duerkop’s death.
They also believe that the vehicle that caused Duerkop’s death was a white Ford Expedition.
Officer Charles Harmon of the El Paso Police Special Traffic Investigations acknowledges they have a “person of interest.” Additionally, there is a $4,000 reward available to anyone with information leading to an arrest in the crime.
Anyone with information regarding Heinz Duerkop’s death should call Crime Stoppers at (915) 564-7086 or Officer Harmon at (915) 564-7140.