Published: Jan 03, 2011 4:49 AM EST
Updated: Jan 03, 2011 12:09 AM EST

LABELLE, Fla.- A Labelle man is found shot and left to die in a ditch, prompting Hendry County Sheriff deputies to start their second death investigation in just a week.

23-year old Nate Francis was shot around 7:30 Friday night, while walking in a residential area close to Davis Pratt Park. Today, family members tell me they're devastated after their loved one was taken away far too soon.

"He was only 23-years old. He has two children, who are now without their father because of a senseless act that could've been avoided," Francis's sister, Tracy Barrett said Sunday.

Francis was shot Saturday night, and found left to die in a ditch on the corner of Orange Avenue and Lillian Street in Labelle. Neighbors say they're shocked by the news.

"The first time I've seen something like this here, around here," said Juan Jaure, who's lived in the neighborhood for 17 years.

Family believes Francis was trying to get help after being shot. He was found just a few blocks away from home.

"My mom doesn't live far from here. For him to die right here, there are just no words for that," Barrett said.

Saturday's murder marks the second death investigation in Labelle in a single week. Last Sunday, deputies found 44-year old Pearl Smith, dead, inside a vacant home off Seminole Avenue. They're still awaiting toxicology results to determine a cause of death. But today, family and friends of Nate Francis are mourning and begging for justice.

"He took a son, a brother, a father from us. And we can't get that back," Barrett said Sunday.

Hendry County Sheriff deputies are still investigating both cases. No suspects have been named at this point in time, but anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.