A Lincoln man found severely beaten and bleeding in the intersection of 38th and L streets Saturday morning has died, according to family.
Medical staff at Bryan West Campus declared Nathan Walton — Shane to his family, Boomhauer to his friends — brain dead Tuesday night, his aunt Stephanie Walton-Tadlock said during a recent interview with her and her brother Shaun Walton.
“He officially passed away at 8:39 (Tuesday),” Walton-Tadlock said.
Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said Shane Walton suffered extreme head wounds from a blunt, club-like object and was found unconscious. Authorities don't know what he was beaten with. It was not left at the scene, and Walton never woke up.
His attackers fled in a full-sized red pickup with a ladder rack or similar device, Lincoln Police Capt. Danny Reitan said.
A person in the Witherbee neighborhood, just west of Calvary Cemetery, called police at 4:28 after hearing screaming and seeing two to three men beating a man on the ground, authorities said. Police are unsure about the number of attackers.
They are investigating the attack but have no suspects, Flood said.
Family members are asking for anyone with information to contact police.
“Somebody knows something, somewhere,” Walton-Tadlock said.
Neither police nor the family know what provoked the brutal attack, which happened two blocks from Shane Walton's home, or whether he knew his assailants.
But nobody deserves to be beaten to death, Walton-Tadlock said. She wonders whether his attackers knew the man they beat had the mind of a child. While her nephew was 20, she said, he had the mentality of a 13- to 14-year-old.
“Shane was a lower-functioning individual. He did not have a real high IQ,” Shaun Walton said.
He was gullible and impulsive, didn't understand the value of money or have a good grasp of time, they said, and that made him an easy target.
Shane's mother left him when he was about 3, and his father was unable to care for him, they said. He lived with several family members over the years.
“He had a hard life,” Walton-Tadlock said.
Growing up, Shane wanted to be like other children. Learning to be content with his own capabilities was a life lesson with which he struggled, his aunt said.
“All he wanted was to be accepted and loved. He was bullied by other kids because he was low-functioning.”
He suffered from depression and at 18 was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, his family said. When he didn't take his medication, he would hear voices and see things in the shadows, they said.
His moods could shift without warning, but in his good moments, he was sweet, courteous and considerate.
Shane Walton liked to bike, skateboard and play basketball, his relatives said, but his true love was fishing.
He would drop a hook and line about anywhere with deep enough water and was a frequent visitor to Branched Oak and Holmes lakes. He would do research online and then regale family and friends with facts about catfish or bass.
“If he could live on a lake and fish all day, that would be his dream,” Shaun Walton said.
His nephew had had several brushes with law enforcement, but his transgressions generally did not rise above the level of misdemeanor offenses.
Family members don't know what Shane was doing out during the early morning hours but said it's likely he had a destination in mind. While he didn't sleep much due to his mental illness, it wasn't like him to just wander.
The brutality of Shane's death has shocked his family. Their one consolation, Walton-Tadlock said, is that he is in heaven now, beyond the pain he knew in life.
Shane's family is honoring his wishes to be an organ donor and say his organs will save the lives of eight to nine people.
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Lincoln police at 402-441-6000 or Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600.