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Father seeks justice 5 years after son killed in St. Lucie County

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said investigation remains open
Matthew-Hiner.jpg
Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 18:35:22-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — The approaching holidays are a painful time of reflection for James Hiner.

Wednesday marked five years since he lost his son to violence.

In November 2015, there was a fire at his son Matthew Hiner's home, located just north of Port St. Lucie off Beach Avenue.

Matthew Hiner, a jeweler, was incapacitated and couldn't escape the blaze.

Investigators later ruled his death a homicide.

James Hiner made a gruesome discovery in the ashes of the fire.

James Hiner
After his son's home burned down in 2015, James Hiner found his son's skull in the ashes.

"I looked down, and I brushed, and I saw my son's skull," he said.

There was a safe full of firearms and jewelry in the home.

Investigators said the safe was open, but not forcibly, making robbery the likely motive.

"He was always trying to help friends and people who weren't as successful as he was. He had a big heart. I commend him for that, but I believe that in the end was his downfall," James Hiner said.

These days, James Hiner takes care of his grandson, little Matthew, on the weekends.

His grandson's presence is a bittersweet present as he remains hopeful there will be an arrest in his son's homicide.

"We want them to be captured and pay for murdering our son," James Hiner said.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said the investigation is still open, and they continue to follow up on leads.