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Seeking Closure, Family of Late Metro Architect Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The family of Des Moines architect Kirk Blunck has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Zachary Gaskill, the man they think killed him.

Polk County attorney John Sarcone said there was enough evidence to put Gaskill in the vicinity when Blunck died, but not enough to charge him in the death. This is what sparked Blunck's family to file the civil suit.

Blunck died in a fall at one of his East Village properties in the Teachout Building in 2016. Two years later, with no arrests made in connection to his death, attorney Steve Wandro said the family wants answers and justice.

"What the family is struggling with is why did this happen, how could this have happened," Wandro said.

Blunck was found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell and later died at Mercy Medical Center. Now, his family wants $6.1 million in damages from Gaskill.

The lawsuit alleges Gaskill committed battery on Blunck, which caused his death.

“It’s an opportunity for the survivors of Kirk Blunck--his wife and his three children-- to talk about what their father and husband meant to them," Wandro said.

Gaskill was not in court to defend himself, but investigators can place him at the scene at the time Blunck died. Wandro said Blunck meant a lot not only to his family, but also to the community.

“He was important for the renaissance we’ve seen in the west sculpture area,” Wandro said.

It is unclear whether Gaskill and Blunck knew each other. Channel 13 reached out to Gaskill for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.

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