Luna parents wait, hope for word on son's killer

All Paul and Rosezella Luna can do now is wait.

Their son, Jonathan P. Luna, a 38-year-old federal prosecutor in Baltimore, was found stabbed and drowned last week in a rural Pennsylvania creek. Since then, they hardly leave their Columbia apartment, because they don't have a car and their son used to take them places.

Their life has become a succession of daily visits and phone calls from family, investigators and reporters.

They've read about the homicide investigation in the newspapers - subscriptions their son bought for them. They get the latest updates on their new television set - a recent gift from their son, who also helped pay their rent.

To the right of his brown corduroy armchair, Paul Luna keeps a Philippines guidebook, given to him by his son as they prepared for a trip to the father's native land early next year. They were to have visited the Filipino embassy in Washington, D.C., this week to take care of travel paperwork.

"I feel terrible. I can't sleep," Luna said yesterday while sitting in his living room, a wooden cane at his side. "The most I've slept all this week is about three hours. ... It would give me closure if they found and convicted the killer."

Paul Luna, 83, and Rosezella, 72, remember their son as loyal and affectionate, and a loving father and husband. He worked diligently through college and law school, and lifted himself and his parents out of a low-income housing complex in the Bronx.

But now, they're struggling to make sense of all that's been said about their son's life and death, which they read in newspapers and hear on the television news as they cope with their grief.

Yesterday, two FBI agents visited the Lunas, seeking more information about their son's personal life. With the investigation stretching into its seventh day, Paul Luna said the agents told him they had no leads.

Authorities announced no significant developments. At an unrelated news conference in Baltimore, U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio said he would not comment on the Luna case. Larry Foust, a spokesman for the FBI's Baltimore field office, said investigators continued running down all leads in the case.

"Everybody's still working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get this thing resolved," Foust said.

The couple know their son was found stabbed 36 times and lying face down in a creek. Law enforcement sources have told The Sun that investigators think the slaying was the result of a personal relationship turned violent, and was not a random crime or connected to Luna's work.

Paul Luna said he sometimes doesn't know what to believe about his son anymore. "I don't know anything about a love life of Jonathan's outside his marriage," he said.

His wife flat-out dismisses the media reports. "Do I believe it? No, I don't," she said, about reports that investigators are looking into possible relationships her son had with other women.

With their television constantly on during the day, the Lunas click between the news and other programs while their pet birds chirp from their cages in the kitchen. Photos of their son and his family hang on their walls.

On one wall, they've posted brightly colored drawings made by one of their son's two young boys. On the refrigerator, they keep one of their most prized photographs: a picture of their son standing next to President Bush in 2000, before he became president.

The couple answer endless questions from reporters about their son. In one moment, the father recalls how his son had aspired to be a journalist during high school but ultimately chose the legal profession.

Family always seemed to come first for the younger Luna. He left law school at the University of North Carolina during his first year to help care for his father when he was suffering from complications with an ulcer that required an operation.

"I want everybody to know about my son," he said as he leafed through photo albums the day after his son's death. He then broke into tears.

Luna used to visit his parents with his children almost every weekend. He lived with his family in Elkridge, about a 10-minute drive away.

Now his son's wife and other relatives visit the parents, keeping them company and bringing food. When the phone rings, they hope it's the FBI with new information - ideally, word of a promising lead or suspect.

It is usually a reporter seeking comment. They receive phone calls for interviews from scores of media outlets. People magazine and America's Most Wanted, a popular television show about law enforcement and fugitives, have called.

They'd never been quoted before by reporters. But since his son was found dead last Thursday morning, Paul Luna's name and comments have been noted regularly in news reports.

"The reason why I wanted to talk is because I want them to catch the killers," he said. "I'm trying to help. Whatever I can do, I'll do it."

But now, he vows to talk less to the media. One story in another newspaper erroneously quoted him as saying that his son had a daughter. The mistake prompted phone calls to his house from other media outlets to see if it was true, upsetting the couple.

"We want to be left alone for now," said Paul Luna.

Sun staff writer Gail Gibson contributed to this article.