Man Charged with Murder After Body Found Along Trail in Clive

CLIVE, Iowa – A man has been arrested and charged with murder after a body was discovered along a Clive trail on Saturday.

Steven Jonas, 49, of Clive, was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of killing 21-year-old Zachary Michael Paulsen.

Paulsen’s body was found at about 10 a.m. Saturday in the 7900 block of University Boulevard. Volunteers cleaning the Greenbelt Recreational Trail found the body along a fence near the trail, behind his family business, Paulsen and Sons Contractors.

According to police, Jonas and Paulsen were “casual acquaintances”. Both were seen at Tapz Pub in Clive late Friday night into Saturday morning. After the bar closed, Paulsen went to his family’s business and Jonas showed up uninvited.

“We don’t know exactly what caused him to go there, but he was no an invited guest,” said Clive Police Chief Michael Venema.

When first questioned, Jonas told investigators that he had no knowledge of Paulsen’s death. Detectives didn’t believe the explanation for the obvious wound to his face. It was during a second interview with police that Jonas admitted to the crime.

Zachary-Paulsen“He said the two of them became involved in a physical altercation near the fence in the south portion of the property. Jonas admitted that he caused the death of Zachary Paulsen,” said Venema.

Investigators are not releasing a cause of death or motive in the case. They described Paulsen’s injuries as “traumatic”, but would not comment on the likely murder weapon.

“Our hearts go out to the family,” said Venema.

Jonas made an initial court hearing Monday morning where he pleaded not guilty to the charge. He is being held in the Polk County Jail on $500,000.

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