HAYWARD -- Marcus Antonio Brown's trip to California this month was supposed to be a quick, overnight stint -- in and out, then back to home to Hawaii.

But the 29-year-old never made it back to the island.

During the early morning hours of Sept. 5, Brown's lifeless body was found behind an abandoned Hayward home -- the victim of an apparent brutal beating.

With no arrest made or a motive yet known in his death, police on Wednesday continued to hunt for not only his killer but the answer to this question: Just what was he doing in the Bay Area?

Born in Virginia, Brown was a United States Army veteran who at the time of his death lived in Lihue, Kauai.

Hayward homicide victim Marcus Antonio Brown, age 29, of Hawaii.
Hayward homicide victim Marcus Antonio Brown, age 29, of Hawaii. (Cedell Brooks Funeral Home)

"To our knowledge he never lived here so we don't know if he was here on business or pleasure," said Hayward police Sgt. Mark Ormsby, who added the killing remained under investigation.

Brown, who police said does not have a local criminal record, was most recently employed as a vacuum salesman in Hawaii. At the time of his death he was married, Ormsby said, but separated from his wife.

On Sept. 4, the day before he was found dead, Brown hopped a flight to San Jose, police said. Flight records show he was slated to return to Kauai one day later, police said, on Sept. 5.

At some point after landing at Mineta San Jose International Airport he made the 28-mile trek north to Hayward.

Police said they're not sure what Brown did in the hours that followed, but they do know that about 2:15 a.m., a passer-by found him dead on the back patio of a vacant home in the 1400 block of B Street. He was lying face down suffering from major head trauma, police said.

Brown had no identification on him when his body was discovered outside the boarded home in an area police and neighbors say transients are known to frequent.

An autopsy conducted Sept. 6 by the Alameda County coroner's office revealed that he had been dead for less than 24 hours when he was discovered, police said.

Police at first believed Brown was a vagrant who frequented the downtown area but learned his true identity after a female friend in Hawaii reported him missing to San Jose police on Sept. 7.

Brown was born in Fredericksburg, Va. and graduated from King George High School, in Virginia's King George County. He was an Army veteran and served in Afghanistan, according to his obituary, and after serving four years in the Army he worked as a salesman.

He was a bike enthusiast who belonged to a motorcycle club called "Ganggreen," owned a 2000 Kawasaki ZX-9R and loved race cars and drag racing, according to his online profile.

His survived by family including his wife, Christine Brown, of Honolulu; son Marquise Crawley of King George, Va.; and daughter Selah Brown of Honolulu.

A funeral is set Thursday at Cedell Brooks Funeral Home in Port Royal, Va.

Anyone with information on the killing is asked to contact Hayward police at 510-293-7034.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.