A popular island businessman and sailor was killed and his teenage son severely wounded in an apparent arson and attack at their Grunwald home early Saturday morning, October 29.
David Geiger, a painting contractor, was found dead in his bed severely burned and his son, Nathan, was found suffering from a head wound and multiple lacerations when the V.I. Fire Service responded to a report of a fire in the working-class neighborhood off Centerline Road above Cruz Bay.
The incident is being investigated as a homicide, V.I. Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Thomas Hannah said Saturday afternoon. The cause of death is unknown at this time. There are no suspects and description.
On Saturday, the VIPD was not releasing the names of the victims until the next of kin or the family could be notified.
Nathan Geiger was reportedly transferred to San Juan Saturday for further treatment due to the severity of his injuries.
Geigers ex-wife Lisa Geiger was reported to be reaching Puerto Rico to join their son Saturday night, October 29, returning early from a vacation. The couple shared custody of their son, who was born and raised on St. John and is an eighth grade student at The St. John School on Gifft Hill.
David Geiger, a well-liked sailor, had returned from an extended down-island sailing trip just days before his death.
News of the crime spread rapidly around the island, with many questioning the connection between the attack on Geigers and community unrest over incidents of arson related to allegations of hate crimes.
VIPD officials, who have been criticized for not updating the public on on-going investigations of serious crimes that have been reported on the island this year, were quick to say the attack on the Geigers was not related to other incidents or allegations.
In order to curtail rumors that are spreading, the preliminary investigation indicates very strongly that this crime is not related to the Esther Frett situation, Sgt. Hannah said in a follow-up telephone call to St. John Tradewinds to provide an update on the murder investigation.
Its an isolated incident that took place in a two-story home in Grunwald, said Sgt. Hannah.
At 4:45 a.m., Saturday, October 29, a resident in Grunwald called reporting a fire, according to Sgt. Hannah. The downstairs tenant in the home owned by Geiger discovered the fire and got Nathan out of the upstairs apartment.
Badly Burned Victim
When the Fire Service arrived on scene, they discovered a badly burned body in the bed who was found dead, said Sgt. Hannah. The Fire Service also removed a second victim who had an open laceration to the forehead.
The surviving victim was the teenage son of the man found dead in the home, the VIPD spokesperson added. The surviving victim was transported to Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center and later transported to Roy Lester Schneider Hospital in St. Thomas, said Sgt. Hannah. He suffered multiple lacerations about the body, including an open laceration on the forehead.
The father and his son lived upstairs, he said. The neighbors living downstairs indicated they heard some sort of altercation earlier Friday evening but then everyone went to bed.
Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the neighbors heard more unusual noise and then it stopped, Sgt. Hannah continued. At 4:45 a.m. the same morning, the neighbors smelled smoke.
Anyone with information on the crime should call the VIPD at 693-8880 or 774-1111