Stabbing Victim Ignored Family's Warnings to Leave Town

A family opens up about the pain they're feeling, after a loved one is killed.

By Brandi Powell and R. Stickney
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 10:01 AM PDT
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The victim's sister-in-law said the family thinks they know who may have killed Enrique Ricky Atilano. Investigators wouldn't confirm the family's suspicions. NBC 7's Brandi Powell spoke with the victim's sister-in-law Judy Atilano and neighbor Julian Aguon.

The victim's sister-in-law said the family thinks they know who may have killed Enrique Ricky Atilano. Investigators wouldn't confirm the family's suspicions. NBC 7's Brandi Powell spoke with the victim's sister-in-law Judy Atilano and neighbor Julian Aguon.

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The family of a National City apartment manager found dead in the doorway of his home said they believe they know the identity of the killer.

Enrique "Ricky" Atilano, 53, was discovered around 1 a.m. Tuesday face down, naked and stabbed several times in the upper torso.

A tenant recognized the apartment manager laying in the doorway of an apartment on Norton Avenue and called 911.

"It's really devastating,” the victim’s sister-in-law Judy Atilano said through tears.

"It's his last brother," she said referring to her husband, Ignacio "Gordo" Atilano who has already lived through one brother being killed and now, has lost his older brother.

"We knew somebody was going to hurt him. My husband wanted him out of San Diego. He's wanted him out of San Diego since he got off parole," she said.

Enrique Atilano was a registered sex offender and according to the state’s Megan’s Law website, he had been convicted of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.

“The girl was 17, she lied about her age. He did his time. He did 10 years. He came out, and he was trying to live his life,” Judy Atilano said. “He had two jobs, he worked hard, he didn't bother anybody."

A neighbor, whose nephews' friends live in the same four-unit complex as the victim, was shocked by the killing.

"Everything I know and love and is precious to me is right here on this block," Julian Aguon said.

Judy Atilano said the family thinks they know who may have killed Atilano but investigators wouldn't confirm the family's suspicions.

Homicide investigators are saying little about the investigation, but it's believed they'll examine whether the victim's prior conviction played any part in the murder.

They say they're still on a manhunt to identify a suspect.

Officers initially launched a stolen vehicle report for Atilano’s Chevy Suburban. The vehicle was found in Paradise Hills late Tuesday, the interior burned.

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