A teenage boy has been charged with murder four days after the body of a Geelong dad was found outside a church.
Paul Grapsas, 40, left his Western Beach Road home near central Geelong south-west of Melbourne last Thursday for a late-night walk with his dog and never made it back home.
The father-of-two’s battered body was tragically discovered by his pregnant wife Jessica early the next morning lying next his car outside a church in nearby Malone Street not far from their home.
He had died from significant head injuries. His wife went out to search for him after his dog returned home without him.
Homicide detectives arrested an 18-year-old man in Ocean Grove on Tuesday and spent hours questioning him.
The Belmont man has since been charged with murder and will appear in Geelong Magistrates Court later on Wednesday afternoon.
Paul Grapsas (pictured left) was found with a fatal head wound on a street near his Geelong home
The homicide investigation into Mr Grapsas’s death continues.
Anyone who saw Mr Grapsas walking his dog or heard anything suspicious between 11pm last Thursday and 4am Friday is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.
‘Investigators are asking anyone who lives in the area or was driving through to please contact police if they have any CCTV or dash cam footage,’ the police statement added.
Prior to the chilling breakthrough, police sources told Daily Mail Australia the gruesome death had puzzled seasoned detectives.
‘There is nothing in his background to indicate any reason he would be a particular victim of something like this,’ a source said on Monday.
The alleged attack sparked cause for concern among detectives, who at this stage of the investigation are treating the case as a seemingly random act of violence.
The fact Mr Grapsas was walking his dog so late at night had armchair detectives on Facebook speculating something more sinister was afoot.
But the police source dismissed such speculation, suggesting Victorians living in well-to-do areas wouldn’t baulk at going out for a late night stroll.
‘If you live in a really well to do area, it never crosses your mind … it’s very normal for people to be out walking dogs at that time,’ the source said.
Police have appealed to anyone who might have witnessed Ms Graspas out on Thursday night near intersection of Mercer and Malone streets, near where St Peter’s and St Paul’s Catholic Church is located (pictured)
Paul Grapsas , 40, left his Western Beach Road home near central Geelong in Victoria last Thursday to take his dog for a walk. He never made it home
Last week, Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Tony Hupfeld said Mr Grapsas had routinely walked at night with his dog.
Forensic police swarmed the area on the weekend dusting vehicles for fingerprints and scouring the area for clues.
Some neighbours claimed Mr Grapsas may have been attacked by someone breaking into vehicles.
Police also scoured CCTV from local businesses and homes in a painstaking search for clues about how – and why – he died.
Locals told the Geelong Advertiser the area had previously been plagued with homelessness and anti-social behaviour.
Some locals suggested an abandoned nursing home next door to the Grapsas’ house was being used by homeless people, the newspaper reported.
‘There used to be a lot more drug-affected and homeless people in the area, but recent tunnel works have pushed them away,’ one business owner claimed.
On Sunday, a small bunch of flowers had been placed by a rock on the street, near where Mr Grapsas was found dead – mere metres away from where the couple and their two girls lived.
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
On Sunday evening, Mr Grapsas’s grieving wife Jessica posted a photo of the happy 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 this week.
‘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.
Another added: ‘Paul was such a beautiful and caring man.’
Jessica and Paul Grapsas recently celebrated Father’s Day with their two daughters