Thomas Rolfes was ready to enter the next chapter of his life. The 25-year-old spent the weekend in New Orleans visiting wedding venues with his new fiancée Liz Fried, when his life was unexpectedly cut short.
After a night out celebrating their recent engagement with friend Stephen Grantham, Rolfes suddenly disappeared.
“When I came out, he had vanished. He was gone,” Grantham, 27, told the New Orleans Advocate Monday. “And that’s the last time that anybody else of our friends saw him.”
Police believe the Tulane grad was a victim of robbery based on the fact that he had injuries on his hands consistent with a struggle. His wallet was also missing.
Initially, Grantham didn’t think much of it. “I just wasn’t worried about it. I thought it was no big deal that he went missing. Like an Irish goodbye,” Grantham said.
Little did he or Fried know, however, that their happy celebration would turn to murder. Rolfes was shot in the chest around 4 a.m Saturday, and as of Tuesday evening, police have no suspects.
Surveillance footage was uncovered of Rolfes an hour before his body was found at a nearby gas station. The owner of the station said there was nothing suspicious about his visit other than that he bought two water bottles, leading police to believe Rolfes may have been forced into the purchase by someone who stayed outside and out of the surveillance camera’s view.
Eyewitness News reporter Paul Murphy tweeted footage of a man discovering Rolfes’s body on Amelia Street:
Here is some surveillance video of a man discovering the body of Tulane grad Thomas Rolfes at Amelia & S.Claiborne pic.twitter.com/B8lYywi6ID
— Paul Murphy (@PMurphyWWL) May 10, 2016
Rolfes worked on the 2012 Romney campaign, and the governor posted his condolences:
Heartbreaking to hear that Thomas Rolfes was killed this weekend while in New Orleans looking for a wedding venue with…
“He was here to start the next chapter of his life,” his mother Julia told WDSU. “It was the next chapter; our firstborn was marrying this beautiful girl.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Grantham, Fried, and Rolfes’ friends and family during this tragic time.