Man bludgeoned to death in home

An Upper Darby man was "viciously bludgeoned to death" in his own home this weekend and his murder was only discovered this morning when his coworkers went to check on him, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

Michael Fanning, 59, was supposed to report for work as a painter at Haverford College this weekend and when he didn't show and didn't answer his phone, two of his coworkers went to his house on Ruskin Lane near Long around 8:15 a.m. today.

When they found the doors locked they called police, who discovered Fanning dead on his bed in his second floor bedroom. Chitwood declined to say whether police believe Fanning was beaten to death with an object or by someone's bare hands, though he did say officers have found "significant" forensic evidence.

Police believe Fanning was killed sometime on Friday and they are certain they will capture the person or people responsible.

"We will catch those who are responsible for this and they should know that we're coming," Chitwood said.

Fanning did not live alone but Chitwood declined to say with whom he lived or how many people resided in the house. He said police have not been able to speak to the other residents.

"How many people lived there depended on what day of the week it was," he said.

Chitwood said police found drug paraphernalia in the home, including needles and empty bags of heroin, though they have no idea if those items belonged to Fanning or someone else.

What they do know is that Fanning's 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis has been stolen and they believe whoever killed Fanning also took his car. The vehicle is described as silver with a black roadster top and a Pennsylvania license plate that reads RICTER. 

Anyone with information on Fanning's killing is urged to call Upper Darby Police at 610-734-3439.

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