Authorities report the man suspected of killing Longview restaurateur Grant Hadler was arrested Friday, almost two weeks after Hadler was found unconscious in a Kelso roadway.
Kelso police say Hadler’s autopsy results Thursday ruled his manner of death a homicide caused by assault, and 42-year-old Kelso resident Ruperto Aguayo was arrested the next day.
Aguayo is facing one count of first-degree manslaughter and was in Cowlitz County Jail as of Friday afternoon.
Hadler, 56, operated Grant’s at the Monticello Hotel in Longview since 2019.
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Police say first responders were initially called to triage a “fall patient” around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 19 in the 1500 block of Ross Avenue in Kelso, a residential street that is a two-minute walk south from Barnes Elementary School. When paramedics arrived, they found Hadler unconscious in the roadway, police report.
Police say they started investigating “due to the nature and extent of Hadler’s injuries,” but did not provide specifics.
Hadler was transported to PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview, then Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. He died Sunday, and his autopsy was performed by the Clark County medical examiner Thursday.
People with information about the incident are asked to call Kelso detectives at 360-423-1270.
Grant Hadler’s wife and restaurant co-owner Sherry Hadler released a statement about the arrest.
“On behalf of the entire Hadler family, we want to thank the Kelso Police Department, the Longview Police Department and everyone involved in this investigation, for their quick and efficient work in arresting one of the people responsible for such a senseless act of sheer violence,” she writes. “We hope that justice will be brought swiftly and appropriately through the legal court system.”
Sherry Hadler said the family is focusing on her husband’s funeral, and will then host a celebration of life.
“We just want to devote all the time we can to make sure he gets the most wonderful celebration that he deserves,” she said.