A Week Later, Few New Details on Homicide Investigation

By Lee Hermiston, Reporter

Police investigate at the scene of a suspected homicide in southwest Cedar Rapids Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (image taken from KCRG-TV9 video)

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By Dave Franzman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A week after Cedar Rapids police said they were investigating a suspicious death on the southwest side as a homicide; no new details about the crime have emerged.

“It’s an active investigation,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said Thursday. “It’s being vigorously worked on by investigators. I can’t discuss any of the details because it is an active investigation; no one is under arrest yet.”

Officers responded to 5668 Kirkwood Blvd. at 3:37 p.m. on June 10. Inside, they found 22-year-old Ronald Kunkle, of Cedar Rapids, dead. Police initially said they were investigating the incident as an unattended death, but later shifted it to a homicide investigation.

Police have not said specifically what led the shift in their approach.

“That’s what the medical examiner provided us,” said Jerman, who added he couldn't elaborate on the medical examiner’s findings.

Kunkle did have obvious injuries when police arrived, but investigators don’t know what caused those injuries. Jerman said he could not say whether there were any signs of a break-in or struggle inside the residence without compromising the investigation.

Jerman said police have finished processing the scene. Now that all of the physical evidence has been collected, investigators have moved into the next phase of their investigation.

“Every case is unique,” Jerman said. “They do a work up on the victim. You go where the evidence and the facts take you.”

At this point, police know little about Kunkle. According to a Facebook page that appears to belong to him, Kunkle is from Detroit, Mich., but studied at Manson Northwest Webster High in Manson. Jerman said he didn’t know what Kunkle was doing in Cedar Rapids.

No suspect has been developed in the case. Last week, Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said, statistically, most victims know each other.

“It is a very high percentage – 85 or 99 percent of the time – that the victim and the defendant know each other,” she said. “We don’t know, for sure, at this point who it was, but that’s how it is traditionally.”

Kunkle died about one mile from where M. John Owen, 90, was found dead on the kitchen floor of his home at 107 Gas Light Ct. SW in January. That case, also ruled a homicide, has not yet resulted in any arrests.

Hamblin said last week police would likely investigate any possible connections between the two deaths.
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