The death of an elderly man in Cedar Rapids nearly two weeks ago is now being treated as a homicide. Police Chief Wayne Jerman says a resident near Kirkwood Community College called police on January 18 to report the front door to a neighbor’s home at 107 Gas Light Ct. SW was open.
“We received a call to check the welfare (of the homeowner) and the officers found the door open,” Jerman said. Police found 90-year-old Matthew J. Owen dead in his kitchen.
The State Medical Examiner on Wednesday declared Owen’s death a homicide, but his exact cause of death is not being released. Although no one has been arrested in the case, Jerman does not believe it was a random act.
“Nobody’s been charged, but detectives are working very hard on this,” Jerman said. Investigators are not discussing a possible motive in the case, but a couple of Owen’s neighbors told KCRG-TV that officers had been called to the home multiple times for burglary or theft reports in November and December.
One neighbor said Owen was often in the company of people much younger, generally in their twenties. This marks Cedar Rapids’ first homicide of 2013.
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, remains unsolved as police have not announced any arrests.
By Chris Earl, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids