Yakima real estate broker in serious condition after assault

Yakima Herald-RepublicMay 27, 2013 

— A 78-year-old real estate broker was listed in serious condition at a Seattle hospital Sunday after being assaulted at a home west of Yakima on Saturday, according to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

Vernon Holbrook, who is listed as the designated broker and owner of Aspen Real Estate in Yakima, had shown homes in the Cowiche-Tieton area late Saturday morning when co-workers became concerned that he failed to keep later appointments, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Worried co-workers searching for Holbrook found him around 7:30 or 8 p.m. in a home in the 17000 block of Summitview Avenue, the release said. He had suffered head trauma.

He was initially taken by ambulance to Yakima Valley Memorial, and was later transferred to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. Holbrook was listed in serious condition late Sunday morning but hospital officials later in the day said they had no information on Holbrook.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said Sunday afternoon that no further information was available about the assault and no suspects have been identified.

Holbrook has been a licensed real estate agent in Yakima since 1965, according to the Aspen Real Estate website. Known among his friends as “Vern,” he is also a member of the board of directors for The Seasons Performance Hall.

Rich Culver, a real estate broker who has worked with Holbrook for almost three years, said he was stunned when he learned of the incident Sunday afternoon.

“It makes me really upset that here’s a man in his late 70s and someone assaults him,” Culver said in a telephone interview Sunday. “I can’t believe it.”

Culver said Holbrook is a respected and hard-working businessman.

“He’s one of the hardest working men, at that age, I’ve ever known in my life,” Culver said.

Fellow Seasons board member Pat Strosahl said Holbrook has been a “terrific” member of the organization for the past three years.

“I think he’s just been a really fine contributor, and I don’t mean just financially,” Strosahl said. “He’s done what he can to help us through some difficult situations.”

Strosahl, as vice president of the local homebuilding company United Builders, said he also had business dealings with Holbrook for more than a decade.

“He’s a prodigious producer when it comes to real estate sales because he likes it and is able to put together deals a lot of other people can’t,” Strosahl said.

Kathie Fitzpatrick, also a broker with Aspen Real Estate, said Holbrook is a man without enemies.

“It’s hard to believe anyone would have anything against Vern,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a very benevolent person.”

Deputies urged anyone with information on the case to call their office at 509-574-2500 or Crime Stoppers Yakima County at 800-222-TIPS. Text messages can be sent to 274637 plus YAKCO.


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