Elderly Cedar Rapids man found dead was a recent victim of theft, burglary

Police conducting "thorough" investigation

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Questions remain about the way a 90-year-old man died last week in Cedar Rapids.

Police found Matthew J. Owen dead Friday morning in his home at 107 Gas Light Ct. SW during a welfare check after a call from a concerned neighbor. The neighbor reported that the door appeared open at the residence, which is located in a newer subdivision near Kirkwood Community College.

Owen, who went by the name M. John Owen, lived alone, police said.

Investigators are treating the case as an undetermined death, but were not willing to call the death suspicious on Wednesday. Autopsy results are still pending.

“We deal in facts and circumstances, and we’re being thorough,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said. “It’s an undetermined death, and we’re proceeding as we need to.”

According to property records, Owen purchased the quarter-million dollar house in early November 2012. Since the purchase, police responded to the house seven times before the call Friday. Officers investigated reports of two burglaries, two thefts, and a suspicious person, and also made two welfare checks.

Cedar Rapids police investigators determined Owen to be the victim of burglary and theft in December 2012. He was a victim of forgery in September, police said.

Police have declined to answer most questions about Owen's death, only saying that the case is still under investigation.

Owen’s grandson, Brandon Owen, declined to comment about the case Wednesday. He said police have asked him not to speak publicly about the case.

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