Murder Charges Filed Against Suspect in Des Moines Killings

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DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa -- A Des Moines man is now charged with murder after he was taken into custody following a nearly four-hour standoff in Dallas County Tuesday night.

Thirty-nine-year-old Michael Wanchanic is charged with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of 36-year-old Bryon Howard and 31-year-old Heather Belieu. Their bodies were found Monday in the home they shared with Wanchanic in the 3900 block of Center Street.

Wanchanic was taken into custody Tuesday night after a standoff with authorities. He was first spotted at a Woodward convenience store and a police officer pursued him down Highway 141 to mile marker 136, where he stopped.

Wanchanic negotiated with a Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy for hours, never mentioning the homicides. Officials say Wanchanic had a gun with him but did not threaten authorities during the standoff. He did threaten suicide.

Police believe Wanchanic got cold and that was a factor in his surrender. The standoff ended just before 10:30 p.m.

Wanchanic was charged early Wednesday morning following interviews with police. He is being transported to the Polk County Jail.