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Vigil Planned for Cedar Rapids Homicide Victim

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Family and friends of a Cedar Rapids man who was found unresponsive Tuesday are planning a vigil in his memory for this weekend.

Clifton Diapolis Sparks, 31, was found lying in the street of the 1800 block of B Avenue NE at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and later pronounced dead. Police are investigating the case as a homicide, making it the third homicide in Cedar Rapids this year.

Darlesha Flowers, who knew Sparks because she has a four-year-old daughter with him, said Wednesday morning that she has known him for five years and he was a good father.

"I mean, he had his troubles but with me, he at least made time to see her (his daughter) and he took her every other weekend and he called her a lot," Flowers said. "He loved my daughter to death and he told her that he needed her more than she needed him."

Flowers said Sparks also had a two-year-old son and three-year-old girl.

She is also pleading with the public to speak up if they know something that might help police figure out who is responsible for his death. "I just wish whoever did this would see what they're doing to my daughter," Flowers, 23, of Cedar Rapids, said.

"I just want anybody that knows anything to try to help, because a lot of cases go unsolved because no one wants to say anything. They don't even have to tell who they are, I just want someone to say something so we can try to find out who did this."

Flowers said family and friends plan to hold a candlelight vigil for Sparks on Saturday at the same location where his body was found, at the 1800 block of B Avenue NE. She said the vigil will be at 6 p.m.

Police said Tuesday that Sparks suffered from traumatic injury, but declined to release further details on the injury due to concerns of impeding the investigation. His cause of death has not been released, pending an autopsy.