Cause of death for murdered Colonial Heights couple released

By Melissa Correa - bio| email

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Colonial Heights police are working with Virginia State Police to track down the person or people who killed an elderly couple in their home Friday.

Around 6:30 Friday night, a family member found Joseph Bland, 84, and Evelyn Bland, 80, dead inside their home in the 100 block of Conduit Road.  Police say the two were found in separate rooms.

Investigators announced Monday that the cause of death for both was blunt force injuries to the head.

Robbie Robertson, a close friend, said Joe Bland told him around 9 a.m. Friday that he and his wife Evelyn were leaving to Lively in the Northern Neck.  The Bland's daughter lives there.  Robertson said the Bland's vehicle was not parked in the drive-way about an hour later, so Robertson assumed they were out of town.

Police say the only thing taken from the home was the couple's brand new 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis.  It was found just after 11 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Cameron and Ivey Avenues, three blocks away from the Bland's home. Police found a suitcase in the trunk of the car.

After interviewing several people and with the help of the Virginia State Police forensic team, police are now looking for the owner of an older model Oldsmobile car, either gold or brown in color.

Police say on Friday the Oldsmobile was seen near the Conduit Road home then later where the Bland's vehicle was found.  Police said they received reports of several unknown people hanging around the car.  Police want to ask the owner of the vehicle some questions.

Police are still searching for a murder weapon.  Investigators say neighbors should not fear for their safety.  The last time Colonial Heights police investigated a murder was in 2003.

Neighbors said Evelyn Bland was a retired Petersburg Sheriff's Department employee.  Joe Bland once worked at a service station.  The couple which was married for more than 50 years leaves behind two adult children, a daughter and son.  The Bland's were members of Highland Methodist Church.

Neighbors will hold a vigil Sunday at 6pm at the Colonial Heights football field.  People are being asked to bring their own candle.

If you have any information, call Colonial Heights police or Crime Solvers at 748-0660.

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