Mick Hughes had run the pub for at least seven years
Police are urging the driver of a cream-coloured van to contact them in connection with the murder of a licensee found dead in his pub.
The body of 59-year-old Michael Hughes was found by cleaners in his bedroom at the Royal Oak pub, in Pelsall, near Walsall on Sunday morning.
A post-mortem examination has shown the divorced father-of-five died from head injuries following an attack.
West Midlands Police are anxious to trace the driver of a small van seen parked in the pub
car park by anglers, fishing in the area, at 0700 BST.
The vehicle is described as about 10 years old, in average condition, with two solid back doors without windows.
Detectives investigating the murder said Mr Hughes had closed the pub at 2300 BST on Saturday and had carried on entertaining four friends until 0200 BST on Sunday.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said the pub had been broken into, several rooms searched and a safe, which may have contained a small amount of cash, was stolen.
Detective Chief Inspector Bob Spencer, from West Midlands Police, said Mr Hughes was a very private man who lived alone.
An incident room has been opened at Bloxwich Police Station.