VIRGINIA

Bharat Patel found dead in Reston

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ABC7 has learned that Bharat P. Patel who police say was murdered early Saturday morning in Reston, had just opened a Dunkin' Donuts franchise four days earlier.

Fairfax County police have released a suspect sketch and wanted poster in connection with the homicide in Reston.

The suspect is described as an Indian male, 25-35 years old; approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall with a thin build. The suspect was wearing a gray long sleeve shirt with a thin orange stripe down the sleeves and blue jeans.

The call reporting Patel missing came from the shopping center where the store is located.

“All of us at Dunkin’ Donuts are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bharat Patel, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in Reston," a company spokesperson said. "We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Bharat.

"This tragedy impacts all of us at Dunkin’ Donuts, especially those who had the pleasure to work with him on a daily basis."

Workers say Patel and his wife left the donut shop just after midnight Saturday morning, driving the quarter mile or so to their apartment.

Officers were called to the complex's parking lot, located in the 11900 block of Winterthur Lane, around 12:45 a.m. for a fight, but no fight was found at the scene.

About an hour later, a missing person report was filed at Hunter Woods Plaza. Workers says Patel's wife called the store and asked them to make the report, because she was afraid the police wouldn't understand her English. Officers returned to Winterthur Lane and found 40-year-old Patel behind some bushes. Police say there was trauma to his upper body.

Officer Eddy Azcarate with Fairfax County Police said, "We were not provided information about whether any weapon was used...so we don't know if it was hands as a weapon or some other instrument."

An autopsy determined Patel died from blunt force injuries.

A cause of death has not been released.

A 911 caller provided police with a description of the suspect.

If you have any information that can help police, call 1-866-411-TIPS.

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