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Emmett Velten: Yet So Far

Emmett Velten’s Life

Emmett Velten was a 69-year-old psychologist living in Phoenix, Arizona, in April of 2011. He was born on November 10, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. He had his private practice, having fallen in love with psychology in his youthful years when he was closely mentored by Albert Ellis, a powerful psychologist known for his pioneer work in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Both Velten and Ellis continued to work together throughout the years, co-authoring books with one another- one on mental state and aging, and one on recovery. Velten’s work took him all across the country, from Alabama to California, teaching at universities and speaking publically- but for the last 11 years of his life, he found a house in Arizona. He had a private practice located at 2323 North Central Avenue, in Phoenix, at the time of his demise. I believe this also may have been his home.

Velten was openly gay, but he was relatively private about his personal life and friendships, hardly speaking about who he was dating. He gained several friends through local psychology and atheist communities, with many of his friends saying he was an incredible listener, always turning the conversation back on them. His close friend Stacy said:

Pic: Az Central

”I think he had a pretty typical therapist personality. When I think back on my discussions with him, they were mainly about me.”

The Murder

At 8:10 am, on April 24th, 2011, Velten was caught on security footage exiting his vehicle, in his apartment complex, with an anonymous man exiting the passenger side. The two were then noticed taking the elevator to his apartment, located near the 2300 block of Central Avenue, in Phoenix. The anonymous passenger was described as a thin white male, clean cut, and standing about 5’9”. He carried a tan messenger bag and wore a green baseball hat, a white shirt, and dark pants. Despite being caught on camera, the man’s face is blurred by pixels and he never directly faces the camera.

After about 45 minutes inside the apartment (note: another source says up to 2 hours, which I think may be more accurate), the unknown man is noticed leaving, alone, having emerged from the complex’s back stairwell. He walks casually towards Velten’s vehicle, before taking off in it. This vehicle was discovered abandoned three days later, on April 27th.

Soon after, Velten exits his apartment, bleeding from his head, with his pants halfway removed. He crawled his way towards the elevator, before falling to the floor. A neighbor finds him and instantly calls the police for assistance. Once they reached, Velten was still alive and had regained consciousness.

He managed to provide clues about his attacker: he tells them that he picked the man up from CASS, a homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix. He states that the man had bound his legs, and then whip him into unconsciousness. Once Velten was hurried to the hospital, he has declared dead soon after.

With the clues Velten left for the officers, they got to work combing the local homeless shelters looking for anyone who may have fitted the unknown man’s description. They showed the surveillance video to regulars at the shelters, with no one having been able to recognize the man.

They showed a photo line up to the front desk attendant at Velten’s apartment complex, but this also generated no leads. Officers assumed that robbery wasn’t the motive for the assault, as nothing from the apartment was stolen, and the vehicle was ditched soon after, on 35th avenue and Glendale*. The police felt that the killing had sexual undertones, and pursued that as a lead, eventually leading to nothing.

There was some evidence left behind at the scene, nonetheless. A clear, bloody footprint was lifted from the floor of the apartment, and police submitted door handles, an electrical cord, and an empty beer bottle to the lab for testing. These items came back inconclusive for DNA or fingerprints, once tested. Despite this, police would like to further test the beer bottle, in the future.

Closing

Eleven years have passed since Emmett Velten was killed, and the police are no closer to discovering his murderer. Investigators have concluded that the man may have not been a local, as no one was able to recognize him in any of the local shelters, nor identified him from the (albeit grainy) surveillance video.

When typing Emmett name into google, I came across his private practice website, still there, but no data. Sadly, it has a red label that says “permanently closed.” It seems all reviews have been taken down, and it just has a photo of the parking lot of the location his practice once stood.

Emmett cared deeply about the well-being and mental state of others, and that was his driving force in life. He was so excited about psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and contributing to his field, and he made his mark.

As someone who has used CBT to fight my mental health issues, I’m incredibly thankful for the work and efforts he put into promoting it and facilitating the healing of others dealing with the same problems. He will be remembered as being an incredible friend, therapist, professor, and cousin to his remaining family members.

Source: Reddit

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