Friends Remember Carl Diener As Police Seek Tips

by ARLnow.com December 30, 2010 at 9:22 am 4,011 7 Comments

To those who knew him best, Carl Diener was a gentle giant. He was a tall, athletic, 57-year-old man who didn’t have an angry or selfish bone in his body.

What Diener was not was a likely crime victim. After all, he lived within the safe confines of Lyon Village and, if worse came to worse, he was one of the fastest runners of all his sporty friends.

Nonetheless, early in the morning on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009, Diener was beaten and stabbed to death near the intersection of 13th and Irving Streets in Arlington. The shocking crime has remained Arlington’s only unsolved murder since 2006.

Last night, about two dozen friends of Diener showed up at the intersection for a candlelight vigil. Many of those in attendance said they counted Carl as a close friend, speaking to his instantly likable, outgoing personality.

“There isn’t a kinder, gentler person on the planet,” said Tom Hostetler, who used to ride bikes and play racquetball with Diener.

“He was a guy who loved his friends and enjoyed life,” said Ed Hall, who knew Diener through his gym (Carl was a constant fixture at Arlington Sport & Health Club). “A lot of times when you hear about a murder on TV, people always say, ‘Oh he was a nice person.’ Carl really was.”

Diener, 57, lived alone in an apartment he first moved into 20 years prior. He had recently retired from a government job, and was on his way to his other job — opening Arlington Sport & Health in the pre-dawn hours — when he was attacked. Police say it was a random act of violence.

“He was a random victim, there’s no doubt,” said Det. Rosa Ortiz, the lead investigator in the case.

Friends say there must have been multiple assailants to overpower a man as in-shape as Diener.

“It was probably more than one, because Carl was a big guy,” said Michael Byrnes, who said he had played racquetball with Diener four time per week for the last 30 years. “It was a senseless, brutal act… in what we consider a safe neighborhood.”

Hall said Arlington’s relatively low homicide rate — there were two murders last year, and only one so far this year — is little consolation.

“They talk about, ‘Oh there were only two murders in Arlington County last year,” said Hall, his voice cracking with emotion. “Well, when it’s your friend, two is too many.”

Det. Ortiz was one of nearly a dozen officers and investigators who canvased the area around the crime scene last night, handing out about 500 fliers advertising a $25,000 reward in the Diener case.

Despite the fact that it has been one year since the crime with no apparent suspects, Ortiz says she’s hoping this latest push helps produce a breakthrough.

“What we’re trying to do tonight is trying to seek out information from people that perhaps saw what happened… to get people to call,” she said. “This is a whodunit, this is a stranger homicide and those are the most difficult to work. So we have to be very patient, and hopefully everything will fall into place soon.”

“I won’t rest until my guy, or my guys,” she added.

  • CrystalMikey

    Such a shame…hope they were able to develop some new leads in the case.

  • I find it unlikely that this was a “random act”, especially in that neighborhood.

  • LaceyForest

    What about the guy who was shot in the Pentagon Row/Pentagon City area a few years ago? Has that been solved? Seems like that was only about 3 years ago.

    • That’s the unsolved murder from 2006 referenced in the article.

  • John Fontain

    I wish the police would release more information about this case.

    If I have my facts straight, I believe he was killed much earlier in the morning than when he would normally be on the way to open up the gym (unless he was going extra early to work out prior to the gym opening). If this is true, do we know why he was out and about so much earlier?

    My guess is that he came upon something that someone didn’t want him to see – a burglary of an auto, a domestic violence incident between two people who had been out partying in Clarendon – and he intervened and was killed as a result.

  • NoVA

    Have the police investigated whether Elias Abuelazam was in the area at the time of the murder? Although many of his stabbings appear to be racial motivated, the guy is a nut. Stabbing victim and nut who randomly stabs people — seems like an avenue that requires investigation. If the police have investigated Abuelazam, then they should so indicate, if they have not, why not?

    “Police and prosecutors claim Abuelazam would drive around late at night, approach men who were walking alone, ask for directions or help fixing his vehicle, and then stab them”

  • Ralph

    The trial for the second killer is scheduled on 1/28 at 9:30 am in Arlington County Courthouse.


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