Homicide detectives are searching for clues in the killing of a 31-year-old Howard County man found dead in his own vehicle last week in Northeast Baltimore.

Moon Hea Koo of Ellicott City was found dead April 15 in the 6200 block of Erdman Ave., near an auto salvage yard. The homicide was overshadowed by the killings of three teenagers within a week, which cast fresh attention the city's challenges involving youth violence.


But Hyun Hea Koo wants to make sure his brother's murder doesn't go unnoticed. The family runs a corner store in Northwest Washington D.C., but Moon Hea Koo wanted to strike out on his own. His brother said he made his living attending auctions, looking for undervalued items that he could re-sell.

"He'd wake up at 2 in the morning and make a four-hour drive because he wanted to be there first," Hyun Koo said in a phone interview, describing old photographs, books and jewelry his brother would bring back. "We weren't born rich, so he was trying to make his own money."

Moon Hea Koo once acquired a century-old jewel, and through research determined that it belonged to a Masonic lodge in Delaware. Hyun Koo said the lodge sent his brother a letter thanking him, which is framed in the family home.

"We value this piece of history and feel fortunate in having received it," the letter said.

In addition this to auction hunting, Moon Hea Koo also enjoyed fishing.

The night he was last seen, Koo left the family home around 8 p.m. and said he would return. "He told dad that he'd be a little late. That was the last word he said," Hyun Hea Koo said.

Koo's body was found in the backseat of his own car, his brother said he was told by detectives. Police initially said he had been stabbed, though an autopsy determined his death was ultimately caused by blunt force trauma. Police have not disclosed a possible motive.

"It was brutal," Koo said, becoming emotional. "He was just trying to make a living, day by day. Something like this shouldn't have happened."

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives 410-396-2100, and can remain anonymous.