Tuesday, San Antonio Code Compliance personnel responded in force to a dangerous eyesore in northeast San Antonio that played a role in a weekend murder.
San Antonio Police say a 54-year old woman was murdered in the parking lot of Walzem Elementary School Saturday, during a dispute involving a building just 50 feet away.
Witnesses told police the woman argued with the owner of the building at 4534 Walzem Road and tried to get away from the man, but he followed her and ran over her.
Police say 89-year-old John Bogard intentionally hit the woman a number of times. She died on scene and the Medical Examiner has yet to release her identity.
Neighbors said the victim had been living in the building for at least several months and the dispute centered over an effort to get everyone off the property.
Business owners in the area said the woman claimed to be running a resale-type business at various times, but the building had a tar-paper roof and no power or water service. Neighbors said they complained about code compliance violations on the property for months.
They also said they were afraid of transients who appeared to be living in the dilapidated structure.
Neighbors and local parents also expressed concerns for all the children who were forced to walk by the house to get to school.
Tuesday, those concerns were answered when representatives from a number of city departments showed up to clean up the ramshackle mess.
A man who owns a business several doors away said, “Unfortunately, what has happened now is a really sad situation and so we're glad they're removing some of the stuff and getting stuff in order now because we've only been looking at this for months.”
Representatives from the Human Services division found one man inside the home. Offered a chance to relocate to a safer place, the man accepted a ride to Haven for Hope and said he was hopeful that his life would improve.
Animal Care Services removed seven dogs and a tabby cat from the property when no owners could be found on the premises.
With regard to the merchandise piled high in the parking lot, the city hired a contractor to begin hauling away the rain-soaked mess.
Using a chainsaw and hand tools, workers began cutting up and carting off the garbage. In addition to the visible debris in the parking lot, a glimpse inside the building revealed soiled clothes piled knee-high on the floor, lots of garbage strewn throughout, and several portions of the ceiling inside the building had collapsed from rain damage. The smell of rot was obvious as flies flitted about in trashed food and drink containers.
Several neighbors said while they are very sad that a woman lost her life because of an argument related to this mess, they also expressed relief that things are improving. Code officers said the work will continue for some time because, in addition to the refuse in the front parking lot, the inside of the building and the backyard are piled deep with debris.
Meanwhile, a Bexar County Jail spokesman said Bogard is still in custody, with a bond of $100,000. They said if he is able to produce bail money, he would be required to wear an ankle monitor to track his movements.
San Antonio Police have responded to the address on Walzem 17 times in the past 12 months, not counting the murder Saturday. There have been calls for assaults, fights and disturbances. The situation is much the same in Windcrest, at Bogard’s home on Corto Circle where police said they have been called more than 60 times over the past year.