Two Vancouver seniors have been murdered in their downtown apartments, police said yesterday, becoming the first and second homicides of 2009.

Police said the murders are not connected.

The first occurred Thursday evening at a single-room occupancy hotel in the Downtown Eastside.

A friend discovered Carmelo DiBella, 77, dead in his room at 16 East Hastings St.

The death was deemed suspicious, but was upgraded to a homicide following an autopsy, Vancouver Const. Tim Fanning said yesterday. Police would not say how DiBella died.

Fanning added that by all accounts, the 77-year-old was a “very pleasant man.”

About 9:30 p.m. Sunday, a 65-year-old man was discovered by acquaintances dead in his apartment in the 900 block of Richards Street.

Fanning said the murder appeared “targeted” but would not say how the man died.
The man, whose identity has not been released, did have a criminal record, Fanning said yesterday.

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