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With his black eye patch and stiff walk, Daniel Brux sometimes frightened people who didn't know him. But he was a friendly man who worked to overcome a disabling brain injury, say people who knew him.
Brux, 36, died as the result of a severe beating over the weekend. His body was found in his apartment downtown on Monday morning by a maintenance worker filling in as manager of the 45-unit building at 127 South Franklin St.
His body was sent to Anchorage and a preliminary autopsy has been completed, although officials have not released the results.
Brux spent a lot of time downtown and was a longtime customer at Heritage Coffee Cafe, said barrister Travis Smith.
``He generally sat by himself. He chatted with the other customers who happened to be in here at the time,'' Smith said. ``He didn't wear a three-piece suit; he wasn't sharply dressed, but he was neat. He was pretty much always in a friendly mood.''
Brux told some people that when he was 18, he fell while climbing a tree. The skull fracture from that fall resulted in a traumatic brain injury, loss of sight in one eye and an altered gait.
``He could be scary if you didn't know him, but once you got to talk to him, he was interesting,'' said a woman who knew him for years who wouldn't give her name. ``He never showed a violent side to me, but he was up against obstacles because of his disability. It was hard for him to have a social life. He always wanted to work but he could be difficult some times; he wanted to do things his way. But I want people to know the truth about him; I really cared about him.''
Brux's work history with the state reveals some of his difficulties. He was hired as a mail clerk carrier by the state to work in the State Office Building in May of 1990, but left the job three months later, state officials said. He was hired as a fish and wildlife technician the following June, but left after less than two weeks. He was hired to a similar job in 1993, but left after three months.
These were all temporary positions, but it is unclear whether he was terminated or the job ended, officials said.
What is surprising, said Lora Mallinger, personnel officer with the Alaska Department of Administration, is that Brux then volunteered as a fish and wildlife technician and served from July to October of 1993. Mallinger is not sure what his duties were during this time.
Brux spent considerable time as a client of the state Vocational Rehabilitation Division, but rules of client privacy allow no details to be revealed, said Director Dwayne French of Anchorage.
``We feel we can't say anything,'' French said.
State and local officials said they are continuing to investigate the murder.
``The gross autopsy has been completed and the results given to the Juneau Police Department,'' said medical examiner Dr. Michael Probst of Anchorage, ``but we will be taking a second look at the remains today for completeness.''