The children of John “Jack” Fay Jr. want their father to be remembered as an intelligent, hard-working, active man who was deeply loved, not the person who was murdered during his daily jog at City Park a few months ago.
To honor him, as well as hopefully gain clues as to who is responsible for his untimely death, his family and friends are inviting the community to join them at City Park near the softball fields Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence.
Dan Fay, one of Fay’s four children, said he, along with his two brothers Sean and Pete, and their sister Meaghan, are encouraging anyone with information concerning the crime to share what they know with them and the Warwick Police Department (WPD) to solve the murder.
“We want this to stay alive in the media because that’s going to help break the case,” said Dan, who was raised in Warwick and now lives outside of the city. “Hopefully, someone will come forward. Somebody has to know something.”
Not only are they seeking justice, they also want the people of Warwick to have peace of mind, as they fear a killer may be lurking amongst them. Their father’s slaying came as a big shock.
“It’s affecting our family, but it’s also affecting everyone in the neighborhood,” Dan said.
He also said his dad was a “good citizen” who was friendly but mostly kept to himself and stayed out of trouble.
“He wasn’t mixed up with the wrong people,” Dan said. “He didn’t have a lifestyle that would have made him a target. He hung out with a couple of friends from the VA and us kids. His neighbors said he was the kind of guy who would always wave when he was outside mowing the lawn.”
Aside from being an active jogger, Dan described his father as a math whiz. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and business at Johnson & Wales before earning a Master’s Degree in History from Providence College.
“He always wanted to learn more and more,” Dan said. “He was a very intelligent, smart man. He was like an encyclopedia. Education was really important to him and it always had been. He was going back to get his doctorate in math after he retired.”
John, who was born in Providence and moved to Warwick in 1972, was a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, and retired from the Garden City Post Office. He was also a Vietnam War Army veteran with a purple heart. In addition to being a father, he had two grandchildren.
“I can’t imagine why this happened,” said Dan, noting that he has always considered Warwick a safe place. “All murders are senseless, but this one seems completely senseless. It’s mind-boggling. He didn’t have any enemies or do anything that would make anyone want to do this. It’s total speculation, but we feel it was completely random. And the odds that [the perpetrator] was a transient and just passing through just doesn’t make sense.”
As the Beacon reported in a June 18 article, the WPD has been mum on details concerning the murder. In mid-June, they held a meeting in the community room at headquarters but didn’t say whether the killing was targeted or random.
The WPD found Fay’s body in a barrel along the walking path at approximately 10:25 a.m. on May 18 after a jogger discovered his remains and alerted authorities. They also said that evidence shows that Fay fought for his life but was killed due to blunt force trauma between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m., the typical time he used the path nearly each morning.
“He went to City Park to run for as long as I can remember,” Dan said, pointing out that his father started going running early in the morning or late in the evening after he retired, as there were fewer people there, and the weather is often cooler during those hours.
While Dan said he and his family are grateful that the WPD are following the case as closely as possible, a majority of information they’ve received relative to the murder has been through the local media. He said he and his family used to speak to the police more often, but it’s tapered off in recent weeks.
“They are doing a good job, but we’re not getting a lot of feedback,” he said. “Every time we talk to them, they seem pretty confident, but they are being very vague. They’ve been playing it close to the vest. I understand their angle that they don’t want to put any information out there, but people in the surrounding area are concerned. They are interested in what’s going on and need this to be resolved.”
Col. Stephen McCartney told the assembly in June that staying tight-lipped is important to maintaining the integrity of the crime. Capt. Robert Nelson, who also addressed the crowd at the meeting, agreed, and still says the WPD plans to remain mum for now.
“I am not able to provide any new information as to this investigation, but we continue to work diligently to close out this investigation with a positive outcome for the family,” Nelson said Tuesday in an e-mail to a Beacon reporter.
Despite the lack of information, Dan is optimistic the WPD will prevail.
“I think they are going to get to the bottom of it; maybe not as soon as we want, but I have confidence that they are going to get this issue resolved,” said Dan.
But he also wishes some of the details were released to the public earlier on in the case, whether through the WPD or the media. He believes the information could have helped solve the crime.
“We’re hoping people will remember back. Obviously, if [the killer or killers] sustained injuries, they would be healed up by now,” Dan said. “The spot he was found in was saturated with poison ivy, so they probably also had poison ivy all over them. We’re just trying to keep the story going because the smallest bit of information that doesn’t seem like much could be the missing piece of the puzzle.”
Until the crime is solved, Dan said he and his family are doing their best to keep their lives as normal as possible.
“My sister [Meaghan] says, ‘it’s our new normal,’” he said. “It’s just something we have to live with. It’s anger that will never go away. The investigation is still going on, so it keeps our minds focused on getting this thing solved.”
“We want to honor his memory with the vigil and remind people that his case remains unsolved,” she said. “None of us can imagine why someone would have done this to him. He truly was a quiet man that kept to himself.”
The WPD, along with Fay’s family, encourage anyone with information pertaining to the crime to contact Sgt. Mark Canning immediately at 468-4236, or via the TIPS line at 732-8477 or 468-4233.