HOMICIDE CASE: Police Identify Victim

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Police have released the name of a homicide victim found dead in the back yard of a Des Moines home Thursday night.

Des Moines police were called to 1530 4th Street just before 6:00 p.m. Thursday about an unconscious male. When they arrived they found 48-year-old Larry Western dead.

Police say his death appears suspicious and they are investigating it as a homicide.

“There obviously is some trauma to his body. I don’t want to release where or how that trauma has been inflicted, but needless to say he’s dead and its suspicious enough we are going to look at it and treat it as a homicide for the time being,” Sgt. Jason Halifax says.

Neighbors in the 1500 block of 4th Street say they’re still surprised a man was found dead just a few feet away.

“You don`t expect to see something like this especially around here,” says Robert Overton of Des Moines.

Beverly Stack’s said her street quickly turned into a crime scene shortly after she got home from work.

“Probably about 45 minutes later the whole street was just full of cops,” says Stack of Des Moines.

Police say they found 48 year old Larry Western dead leaning against the garage of an abandoned home.

Ruben Rodriguez was working in his yard next door.  He says he saw western earlier in the day but didn’t think anything of it.

“I saw a guy lying against the garage and I believe many drunk guys pass by in the alley and I believe he was sleeping,” says Rodriguez of Des Moines.

When Western didn’t get up, Rodriguez went to get his neighbor who called 911.

Police say this crime could be connected to one involving Western earlier in the day.

They say Western’s girlfriend called them after a violent argument.

“Their argument had turned physical and during the physical confrontation, she was strangled by Larry and was struck in the head with a hammer,” says Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Department.

A warrant was issued for Western but before it was processed he was found dead.

Now police are trying to piece together exactly what happened in those hours between the two crimes.

While neighbors wonder if something more could have been done.

“It`s terrifying actually, that someone could lay there all day and no one do anything, to me it`s very sad,” says Stack.

Even though police are investigating the death as a homicide it hasn’t been officially called a homicide investigation.  If it is determined that Western was murdered it would be the 4th homicide this year in Des Moines.