Beloved veteran dies 3 months after being beaten, robbed and left in ditch

Posted at 11:02 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 23:02:00-04

JACKSONVILLE, FL (WJXT/CNN) - A family on Thursday was grieving the great loss of a beloved grandfather, and friend. 

"He has family. He has grandchildren. He has great grandkids. He has a wife. He had a lot of family. Now that's all taken away from us because of $300 and a stupid ride out of town,” granddaughter Shannon Rivera said of Melvin Clark.

Clark was a Navy and Air Force veteran. His life, family says, was not deserving of the torture he endured before he died. "For him to suffer three months for it to happen anyways. I'm just thankful that he didn't die in that ditch,” Rivera said.

According to arrest warrants, three suspects somehow got Clark's phone number and called him from the Hospitality Inn on 103rd Street. Clark drove there and was later kidnapped, robbed and dropped off at gun point at a ditch. The family says Clark never revealed why he went to the hotel.

"When we would try to ask he would never, change the subject or pretend like he didn't hear us,  'what?' He didn't want to talk about it so you didn't want to push, you didn't want to stress him,” said Nichole Dehn, one of Clark’s granddaughters. 

Although this isn't the way Clark's family expected to lose an otherwise healthy man, they say they'll remember his love for his family, his sense of humor, and his love for the Jaguars.

"I thought he was going to sleep. I didn't know it would be last time I saw him,” Dehn said. 

"He would want to give up in therapy and we were like 'come on grandpa.' We were trying to be like his cheerleaders and he would keep going. He tried, I mean, he tried as hard as he could,” Rivera said.

"There's no amount of justice that could be done, even the highest sentence,” said Tamara Damico, a stepdaughter.

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