LaConte Mitchell, who worked security at Spring Grove Hospital Center, had never been arrested and "was always on the straight and narrow," said Tyronea Williams, 37, a close cousin.
Mitchell was found suffering from stab wounds about 6 a.m. Friday at the end of the 600 block of S. Fulton Ave. in a grassy field near an idled set of railroad cars.
Since then, Williams said relatives have been searching for answers as to why Mitchell would have been in that area, or who might have wanted him dead. "He had no reason to be in that area at all," she said.
But an aunt said that she saw him speaking to someone she wasn't familiar with the night before he was killed, and woke up at 3 a.m. that morning and realized he was gone. "She knew something was wrong; she prayed," Williams said.
He had worked for the state since 2011, according to records. In addition, Williams said Mitchell attended TESST College of Technology and was certified to do heating, ventilation and air conditioning work. He had lived with his mother and was in the process of moving into a new apartment, she said.
Police did not respond to request for comment about whether they know of a motive or suspects in the case. Anyone with information was asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100.