Friends mourn death of ad man

April 4, 2009 4:42:47 PM PDT
A man well-known in advertising was murdered in his own home and police say it looks like his killer tried to burn the place down to cover his tracks. As the victim's friends and family say goodbye, they want the murder mystery solved.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Investigators tell us they have a few leads they're checking, but the victim's friends want to know why someone would have killed him.

The victim, Brett Elliott, was well-loved in the community as evident by the scores of people who showed up for his memorial service Saturday. Each one of them is still struggling to understand why anyone would kill such a gentle man.

"To know Brett Elliott was to love him. And for someone to do this is unfathomable," said his friend, Lou Congelio.

Saying goodbye to a friend is never easy, but when the circumstances are as tragic as those surrounding Brett Elliott, it's that much harder.

"I could not have gone up on that stage and said all of the things that needed to be said about Brett," said Congelio.

Elliott, 54, was a beloved ad man, a wordsmith who could build an entire campaign off one phrase. He spent years cultivating that career working for numerous ad agencies as well as volunteering tirelessly for the Houston Advertising Federation.

"We feel like we have a huge loss and we just don't understand why," said Jay Hagins of the American Advertising Federation in Houston.

On Monday, Elliott's body was found inside his burned-out townhome. He had been murdered. An autopsy revealed blunt and sharp force injuries to his neck and head. Authorities believe whoever killed Elliott burned his home in order to cover up the crime. It's a shocking death for someone as loved as Elliott.

"He truly, truly had no enemies. He'd be the last person in the world and that's why we're struggling so hard with this whole thing," said his friend, Scott Black.

Elliott is survived by his mother, sister, and countless friends who all attended Saturday's memorial service. Each one committed to seeking justice for Elliott's death and to keep his memory alive.

"You've having a bad day, you talk to Brett and all of a sudden, all your troubles go away. That's a wonderful thing to have. I'm blessed to call him a friend," said Congelio.

Elliott's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, monetary donations be made to a special advertising scholarship fund set up in his name. Donations can be mailed to:

Advertising Education Foundation of Houston

In Memory of Brett Elliott

P.O. Box 27592

Houston, TX 77227

Police have not made any arrests and are still looking for suspects in the case. If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers. The number is 713--222-TIPS. You don't have to give your name and you could earn a cash reward.

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