Henry Vidal, a popular 32-year-old Wilton Manors bartender, was laid to rest on Monday, June 1, in Pembroke Pines, following a solemn funeral mass and service at St. Edward Catholic Church.

Less than twenty-four hours later, the Broward Sheriff’s Office reported the results of the medical examiner’s autopsy from last Friday. Authorities have now officially classified the death as a homicide, and a criminal investigation has begun.

Vidal, born and raised in Hialeah, had been living in a Wilton Manors apartment at 578 Northeast 20th street, where his body was discovered last Thursday, May 29, by a co-worker. The colleague went to the location after Vidal failed to appear for his shift at B. Bar. He had worked as a pourer there, and previously at the Alibi.

Wilton Manors police officers responded to what was considered a medical call and found Vidal dead. They requested the assistance of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. BSO investigates all homicides in the city, per an agreement between the agencies.

Initial reports published online and in social media had prematurely described his death as a murder, while at the time BSO would only call it a ‘death investigation.’ Nevertheless, community concerns were raised almost immediately as police investigators cordoned off the area with yellow and black crime scene tape, and began questioning neighbors and colleagues.

While some close friends admitted that Vidal had some "past drug and personal issues," they did not interfere with the outpouring of love upon his loss. Born on December 14, 1982, to parents, Enrique Vidal and Caridad Labarta, Vidal had two sisters and a slew of friends who posted loving tributes to him online, along with sharing their feelings to SFGN.

A long time friend, Howard Glantz, a local businessman, first met Vidal over a decade ago, when Henry moved to Chicago to attend the Harrington School of Design. Glantz stated that He was "saddened by Henry's passing... It makes me realize that we, as human beings.. need to share, communicate, and love more than we do. Henry did this more than anyone I have known."

Ron Cox added, "a beautiful angel you have now become... Your love and generosity to your teammates will never be forgotten." A local realtor, Joe Gutierrez, posted a comment online simply stating that Henry "was the kindest person ever."

John Lazar, a dear friend, posted a lengthy and glowing tribute to Vidal on his Facebook page, reading that "I will never forget those beautiful eyes and his fantastic smile ....... Henry is truly the most beautiful man I've ever known In so many ways...his charm, smile and wit illuminated so brightly...."

The only known police incident involving Vidal occurred on March 21 of this year, when he was involved in a domestic disturbance with his former partner. Vidal called the Wilton Manors police to remove his roommate from the household, complaining the relationship had soured. Vidal, however, was told that he would have to start an eviction proceeding. The situation was resolved without further incident, and his former partner eventually moved out.

Anyone with additional information about this homicide can contact Det. Ricky Libman at (954) 321-4210 or report anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS