Family of murdered Racine man talks exclusively with FOX6

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RACINE -- A day after laying to rest 84-year-old Don Thompson, his family is still trying to piece together the mystery that surrounds his death.

"Everybody was in tears," Ken Tucker, Thompson's nephew told Fox 6. "My sister was kind enough to stand there and [say] 'You know that grufty old coot,' she [said], 'He didn't deserve this.'"

"And I [said], 'Well, I understand he didn't deserve that.It just doesn't make sense.'"

On November 8th, his niece found Thompson in his Racine home dead. Police say he died from traumatic injuries and are now investigating his death as a homicide.

"I just don't understand. I don't know how to explain it. I don't know any words that I can say in public that would allow me to express my thought process. Everyone is in shock," Tucker said. "It's just absolutely senseless to take and do something like that to a person that has no way to defend themselves."

Tucker says that his uncle was already in failing health before he was attacked.

"With all his health issues, the family was pretty much prepared if Uncle Don makes it to the end of the year, that's going to be really interesting," Tucker added. "So nobody really expected him to, on his own accord, make it through the winter.

"Don was very, very very frail. I think that would be, to say in a nutshell. Then for somebody or someone or somehow the circumstances get to this point, geez, I, you know, if you pushed him over with your finger that poor guy couldn't get up off the ground."

Thompson graduated from Racine's Horlick High School in 1947. He then served in the military as a cryptographer and was honored with a full military honor burial Thursday.

He continued to follow his passion of cryptanalysis throughout his life, even sharing it with the love of his life, a woman he met in the 4th grade. But he only reunited with her when he was 67 years old.

"There was a clash between families so he couldn't be with her, she couldn't be with him until their parents actually passed." Tucker said. "So the last 17 years of their lives, they spent together. And it's kind of weird because neither one ever married, kind of cute when you think about it that way. They went to cryptography conventions together and stuff. She passed away a year ago."

Even though the family knew his health might cause him to pass away soon, they're still overwhelmed by the situation they find themselves in now.

"We have no finality at this point. We don't know what to do at this point," Tucker said. "Thank God we have a good police department because we haven't got a clue. Nothing makes sense. It's a big puzzle."

Police are interested in any additional information anyone may have. They ask anyone who does have information to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756 or Crimestoppers at 262-636-9330.