The cries for help echoed on Julian Avenue in San Francisco's Mission District beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday. Five hours later, police and neighbors discovered a body.
Richard Sprague, 47, was found dead on the 100 block of Julian between 15th and 16th streets, according to police, who have posted fliers throughout the neighborhood asking for witnesses' help in identifying the killers.
The police fliers say that Sprague was robbed and murdered, but spokesmen for SFPD told local media that the cause of death is still being investigated.
What's less clear is how and why Sprague lay in the street for five hours, according to the San Francisco Appeal online newspaper. Neighbors reported hearing cries for help between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., but police did not arrive on-scene until 7:42 a.m., according to the San Francisco Examiner.
A neighbor reported seeing Sprague lying in the street at 6:30 a.m., but she thought he was "sleeping it off," the newspaper reported. An hour later, he still had not moved, and she phoned police.
Sprague could be the eighth homicide of 2012, and the first in the Mission.
He may have been stabbed or hurt elsewhere and dumped off in the Mission, neighbors said. Police ask the public to call SFPD's tip line at (415) 575-4444 or homicide Inspector John Cagney at (415) 553-1145.