Family of St. Louis man beaten to death with hammer hopes reward helps case

2011-11-07T17:09:00Z 2011-11-08T14:36:24Z Family of St. Louis man beaten to death with hammer hopes reward helps caseBY DENISE HOLLINSHED • dhollinshed@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8319 stltoday.com

ST. LOUIS • Three years after a man was beaten to death with a hammer, his family hopes a reward will bring new information in the case.

Craig Stephen Frentzel was found beaten behind the Neptune Apartments at 2140 Hampton Avenue on Nov. 7, 2008. He never regained consciousness and died 20 days later, on Thanksgiving.

The person or people who subdued the 6-foot 7-inch Frentzel left the bloody hammer next to Frentzel's body, about a half mile from where he had lived in the 5700 bock of Arsenal Avenue.

Police say they've exhausted all leads in the case. They and family members are hoping a $6,000 reward from the family and CrimeStoppers will bring new attention to the case.

Frentzel's organs were donated to help others, according to  his mother, Linda Frentzel, 69, of California. She has received letters from at least two of his donors thanking her.

"They used his skin and bones for people who were burn victims," she said. "I remember when he wrote on his state ID that he wanted to be an organ donor."

Frentzel's father, Robert Frentzel, 70, of St. Louis, has divorced and remarried, but still has a shrine to his son in his home along with his ashes.

Frentzel had been in some trouble with the law and was sentenced to three years in jail in May 2005 for multiple DWI's and driving without a valid license in Jefferson County.

(He later sued Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, a jail nurse and doctor alleging he received inadequate medical care while in jail, including being denied prescription medication. Frentzel lost the suit, and a month before his death, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis upheld a lower court's ruling against him.)

Robert Frentzel said his son had some trouble with drinking and drugs, but said Craig Frentzel, 41, was a good person when sober. Linda Frentzel said her son was bipolar and had a tough time finding a job after he was released from prison. When he wasn't struggling with his bipolar, she said, "he was the nicest, kindest person you ever want to meet."

He had gone into business with his father for five years selling cars then pursued carpentry. He built his father's deck.

Frentzel never married and had no children. He is also survived by his brother, Eric Frentzel, an actor whose credits include a part in the upcoming film "J. Edgar."

St. Louis Police were left with few clues in Frentzel's death, his family said. His family is offering a $5,000 reward that will hopefully lead to an arrest and conviction. In addition, CrimeStoppers, is offering a reward up to $1,000.

His mother doesn't want her son's death to be locked away with countless other unsolved cases.

Anyone with information in Frentzel's murder is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 or leave an anonymous tip on the organization's website.

Joel Currier of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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