A man injured in a home invasion and assault earlier this month has died, becoming the third homicide victim in Columbia this year.
Columbia resident Fernando Santlian Olivares, 48, died at 2:55 a.m. Saturday from head injuries he suffered during a Jan. 8 robbery at his home on Monroe Street.
Olivares was conscious and able to talk to police immediately after the robbery and assault. But his condition deteriorated rapidly afterward, according to Capt. Mike Martin of the Columbia Police Department.
Police are searching for one woman and three men.
Martin said the four suspects didn’t choose the Olivares home at random. “They had information of some type of money inside the residence,” Martin said Saturday. “We think the victims were targeted.”
He described the location, just south of Business Loop 70 between Old 63 and Paris Road, as a quiet neighborhood.
Olivares and his wife told police they answered the door to a woman who asked to use the phone when three masked men with handguns entered.
Martin said Olivares’ wife was ordered to get the money. While she was gone from the room, Olivares was beaten in the face.
“He was struck with fists, for sure,” Martin said. “He may have also been struck with a gun.”
Investigators don’t know why Olivares was beaten so severely, Martin said, because it appears he and his wife were cooperating.
Martin said there was a significant amount of cash in the house, but he would not disclose why.
“It would not be the amount of money they would normally have in the house,” Martin said.
Martin said the police did not know how the suspects learned about the money.
Police do not believe this home invasion is related to one that occurred in an apartment on the 200 block of West Ash Street on Jan. 6.
Police continue to seek information about the woman involved in the Olivares case. She is described as 25 to 30 and heavyset with light brown hair and fair skin. The other suspects are men, but descriptions are sketchy.
Anyone with information can call the Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit at 874-7414 or CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS.