A St. Louis man who visited New Orleans to plan his wedding in the city he loved was found dead in a street early Saturday morning. Police say the body of 25-year-old Thomas Rolfes, who went to a bar with friends on Friday night and was seen on surveillance video buying water at a gas station around 3:30am, was found at 4:30am, the New Orleans Advocate reports. He had been shot in the chest, and police say defensive wounds—and the fact that his wallet was missing—suggest he was the victim of a robbery, possibly as he tried to walk back to the hotel where he was staying with his fiancee. Police have no suspects, and Rolfes' family has pleaded for help finding the killer, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
His father, Ron Rolfes, tells the Times-Picayune that his son fell in love with New Orleans as a high school student, when they visited the city on a post-Hurricane Katrina volunteer trip. He decided to attend Tulane University in the city, where he met his fiancee. They had planned to spend the weekend looking at possible wedding venues. "Right now it's just a horrible, horrible dream," the father says. "We know it's reality, we're just trying to close the loop on that." Rolfes was a 2012 campaign volunteer for Mitt Romney, who called the murder "heartbreaking" in a Facebook post. "A senseless and tragic loss," Romney wrote. "Thomas was a highly valued member of our 2012 campaign team. His warm smile and engaging personality lifted our spirits." (Read more New Orleans stories.)