VALRICO, Fla. (FOX 13) - An innocent man was carjacked and killed Tuesday by a suspected bank robber, who was recently released from jail.
Tuesday morning, 68-year-old Mathew Korattiyil was in his vehicle in the parking lot of the CenterState Bank, along Highway 60 in Valrico, when a man came out of the bank and carjacked him.
Deputies say that man, 39-year-old James Hanson, was serving a life sentence for a violent crime, but an appeal resulted in his release, only 16 years into his jail time.
An hour and a half after the robbery and carjacking, deputies caught up with Korattiyil's vehicle, but the suspect was the only one inside.
Deputies hoped to find him, but a few hours later, Korattiyil's body was found behind the Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Community Center on Washington Road, just a few minutes away from the carjacking scene.
As the community struggled to understand why an innocent man had to lose his life, FOX 13 learned he donated money to the community center where his body was found.
"We are very saddened," said friend Jomi Joseph. "We have no words to speak."
After learning deputies found Korattiyil's body, Joseph with other friends and family gathered to remember the father of three and grandfather of more.
"They are all devastated," he said. "[He was a] very nice man. He used to contribute a lot of money to this community center. We lost a very good man from this community."
Christina Dimauro has been going to the Marathon and M Convenience Store on Valrico Road since she was a child, a store Mathew owned for 25 years before retiring.
"He was just nice. He was so funny," she said. "He was always talking to you when he came in the store. It wasn't just a pass by. Wasn't like, you were another customer. He knew everybody."
Mathew was known for knowing what his regulars liked to buy. His joyful disposition has so many wondering how the 5-foot-2-inch, 68-year-old was so unlucky as to have wound up carjacked by a getaway robbery suspect. And why did he wind up dead at the place in which he had invested so much?
"You never know what could happen, said DiMauro. "He is a really great guy and he will be missed."
Law enforcement officers say Hanson will face many charges related to Tuesday's events.