A local community has rallied around the heartbroken family of a man allegedly murdered while walking his dog, by raising more than $25,000.
Paul Grapsas, 40, left his Western Beach Road home in Geelong, Victoria on the night of September 14 with the family pet, but the dog returned without him.
Mr Grapsas’ body was found by his pregnant wife Jessica lying next to his car outside a church in nearby Malone Street about 4am the following morning.
The beloved father-of-two had died from significant head injuries in a case which puzzled detectives, who said there was ‘nothing in his background to indicate any reason he would be a particular victim of something like this’.
But there was a breakthrough on Wednesday when Bailey Clifford, 18, from the Belmont suburb of Geelong, was charged with Ms Grapsas’ alleged murder.
Paul Grapsas (pictured left) was found with a fatal head wound on a street near his Geelong home. His wife Jessica, who found his body, is pictured right
Bailey Clifford, 18, of Belmont, Victoria has been charged with the alleged murder of Paul Grapsas
A GoFundMe started by Mr Grapsas’ sister-in-law Emmily Hunter, described him as a loving family man who had met his wife aged just 16.
‘He was a devoted father of two beautiful young children and excitingly expecting a third baby, on the way,’ she wrote.
‘All those who knew Paul, knows how much he loved his family and adored his girls so very deeply. They were his world.’
By Sunday evening, a day after it was posted, the fundraiser had already than got more than halfway to its $50,000 goal from 300 donors.
The money raised will provide support for Mr Grapsas’ young family now and into the future.
‘No sum can ever replace Paul or take away the pain, however financial support can alleviate the burdens for Jessica and their young children and baby on the way, to help them cope with coming to terms with the tragic heartbreaking loss,’ the fundraiser read.
Two days after she found him dead, Mr Grapsas’ grieving wife posted a photo of the couple on their wedding day almost seven years ago.
‘My love forever and ever,’ she captioned the January 2017 photo.
Mr Grapsas was described as a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend in a statement released by the family.
‘A man of integrity who was happiest when surrounded by his family, friends and church community,’ the statement read.
‘He was a devoted father of two young children expecting a third on the way and had just received a promotion at his workplace.
‘Known and respected in the community, a skilled sportsman who loved golf, fishing and video games.
‘Paul will be dearly and desperately missed by all those he loved and who loved him.’
Mr Grapsas’ death also sparked an outpouring of tributes from shattered friends.
‘It was such an honour to know this gentle honest and great father and family man, Paul was a great Christian man.
‘Paul is now in God’ s care and heaven has gained another beautiful angel. I feel very privileged to have known such a great man,’ one friend wrote.
Paul Graspas and his wife Jessica (pictured on their wedding day) were about to welcome their third child and celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary in January
Mr Grapsas (pictured) left his Western Beach Road home near central Geelong in Victoria last to take his dog for a walk. He never made it home
Another wrote that ‘Paul was such a beautiful and caring man.’
Clifford was remanded in Geelong Magistrates Court and will next appear before the court on January 30.
The court heard that up to 50 exhibits will be analysed by forensic experts to determine Mr Grapsas’ cause of death.
Investigators have asked for anyone with dashcam or CCTV footage from the area from September 15 to contact them.