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Police have revealed that they believe an 83-year-old pensioner found dead in his Essex home yesterday may have been killed for his car, which is still missing.
Tributes have poured in for Donald 'Don' Ralph, who was described as a unique character with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Don was sadly found deceased at his home in Halstead Road, Aldham, shortly after 1pm on Tuesday 29 December.
His niece Tina Ralph said: "Don was a very young at heart, fit 83-year-old, with boundless energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment of life.
"He was a man who loved all things countryside, particularly fishing and the Norfolk Broads, as well as being an avid bird lover."
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She went on: "He loved horse racing and spent many a happy Saturday having a little flutter.
"Don was a unique character, who will much missed by his wide circle of friends, and all his family."
In a statement, Essex Police said: "We are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death and ask anyone with information that could help with our enquiries to submit this online at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4201020120P56-PO1.
"Information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org."
Police were called to the house not far from Colchester shortly after 1pm on Tuesday, December 29, following reports that a man had been found dead inside.
Don's cause of death isn't yet known and the force are awaiting results of a post mortem examination.
Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "We are supporting Mr Ralph's family at this distressing time and would like to thank residents for the support they have given his family, as well as the help they have given our officers.
"We are progressing our enquiries and from the information we have gained so far, we believe this was a targeted incident.
"It has been established that Mr Ralph's car, a blue Volvo V50 registration plate HD08 YFV, is missing and we are continuing enquiries to locate it. We are also checking if anything else is missing from his property.
"We'd like to speak to anyone who has seen Mr Ralph's car, or was in the Aldham area between about 3pm on Monday, December 28 and 1pm on Tuesday, December 29, and saw anyone acting suspiciously, or has dashcam or CCTV footage."
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