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'He was just such a good man': Longtime neighbor and friend remembers Wildwood man beaten to death

Police say 73-year-old David Sorenson was killed by 29-year-old Martin Hurtado at the Avenue Plaza hotel in New Orleans.

WILDWOOD, Mo. — New and horrific details paint the picture of a deadly attack involving a Wildwood man on vacation in New Orleans.

David Sorenson, 73, was beaten to death and his wife saw the tragedy unfold. Now, days later, 5 On Your Side learned that the suspect told police he doesn't remember a thing.

It happened at the Avenue Plaza hotel in New Orleans on Thursday night. 

The suspect, 29-year-old Martin Hurtado, was arrested inside the victims' hotel bathroom and is now charged with second-degree murder. 

New details from police documents state that Hurtado was knocking on hotel room doors and roaming the hallways. 

Hurtado told detectives all he can remember from that night is "drinking at work, tacos and beer."

Those who knew Sorenson are still trying to wrap their head around what happened to this man, who was loved by so many.

A lover of the blues, a talented musician and a man of faith. That's how Mary Kirberg is remembering her longtime neighbor and friend, David Sorenson.

"When I first heard that, I started crying because it was like I'd lost my own husband. Just sad," she said.

Police said the 73-year-old man was beaten to death by 29-year-old Martin Hurtado inside a New Orleans hotel room Thursday night.

Kirberg went on several trips with Sorenson and his wife, from the family's lake house to Memphis to Las Vegas.

Sorenson was a financial advisor and lived in Wildwood for nearly three decades.

"Just the fact to die so violently like this was horrible, and then to know that he was just such a good man," she said.

According to Kirberg, Sorenson and his wife, Barb, had a timeshare at the Avenue Plaza and were in the room they stay in every year when Sorenson was killed. 

An affidavit for Hurtado's arrest gives more detail about what led up to the horrific and random act of violence. 

Hurtado told police he went to the hotel after working his shift at a restaurant about five blocks away. 

Somebody pulled a fire alarm while Hurtado was roaming the halls of the hotel. 

Sorenson's wife told police that the alarm woke her up and then she heard knocking at their door.

"Barb thought that security was at the door saying, 'Let's go down,' and when she opened it up, he forced himself in, pushed her back and she ran out," Kirberg said.

Nervous for her own safety, Sorenson's wife told police she ran toward the hotel bathroom, but before shutting the door, she saw Hurtado punching her husband in the face. 

Now, family and friends are mourning the loss of a husband, father and grandfather that was taken from them in a senseless way.

"He was here the day before Thanksgiving helping me with some stuff inside, and they just are very nice people," Kirberg said.

Hurtado's bail is set at $350,000. Other than where he lives and where he has worked, not much is known about Hurtado. 

Sorenson leaves behind his wife of more than 50 years, four children and several grandchildren. 

Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin told 5 On Your Side, "It is always sad to lose anyone who's part of our Wildwood community, particularly in circumstances like this. My thoughts and prayers are with the Sorenson family."

The funeral for Sorenson will be Saturday, Dec. 10, at Living Word Methodist Church in Wildwood.

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