CRPD Investigates First Homicide of the Year

by Chris Earl, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Less than two weeks after a 90-year-old man was found dead in his south Cedar Rapids home, police are calling his death the first homicide of 2013 as no arrests have been made in the case.

"It's very important to get it out and make sure the community is not alarmed and that our investigators believe this is not a random act," said Jerman on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the department called the death of Matthew J. Owen a "homicide".

A neighbor called police on January 18th, reporting that the front door at Owen's home at 107 Gas Light Ct. SW was open. Police executed a welfare check on the house and found Owen dead inside the home.

This week, the State Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on Owen. Investigators did not release a cause of death. KCRG-TV 9 contacted the SME on Wednesday afternoon to obtain more specific information.

Piecing together why a man of his advanced years would be a homicide victim has been difficult as the critical facts in the case, such as a cause of death or a motive, have not been made public.

Property records show that Owen purchased the house in November 2012 but, in the following weeks, police were called out to the home on at least seven occasions. A check of police records shows that police investigated records of burglaries and thefts, among other complaints.

One neighbor said there was plenty of activity at Owen's residence, unusual for a quiet neighborhood consisting of upscale, single-family homes.

"They had all sorts of people coming in and out, all times of the day," said Brennan Hammer. "You don't really see that out here."

Another neighbor, who spoke off-camera, said Owen was often in the company of people much younger, generally in their twenties. Last week, police said Owen lived alone.

In both 2011 and 2012, three homicides were recorded in Cedar Rapids. One from last year, the September shooting death of 19-year-old Latasha Roundtree on the city's southwest side, remains unsolved as police have not announced any arrests.
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