CEDAR RAPIDS — A 38-year-old Cedar Rapids man faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Gina Frederiksen, who was pulled from a burning garage following an explosion Sunday.
Cedar Rapids police arrested Timothy Wesley Evans on Tuesday afternoon.
He is accused of breaking into Frederiksen’s detached garage at 1814 I St. SW and then assaulting and killing the 38-year-old mother of three before setting the garage on fire, police said.
“Based on the evidence, this is a random act,” meaning Evans didn’t know Frederiksen, Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said Tuesday.
He had no further details on Frederiksen’s cause of death.
Evans also faces charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and first-degree arson in the 7:34 a.m. Sunday fire and explosion, according to police and the Linn County Attorney’s Office.
“Our thoughts are with the family of Gina Frederiksen during this difficult time,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said in a statement. “The Police Department worked tirelessly with cooperative neighbors and other individuals to gather information and collect evidence so that we could find the person responsible for this horrible crime.
“Our patrol and investigative divisions canvassed the neighborhood and have been diligently working with our partners in the Cedar Rapids Fire Department and Linn County Attorney’s Office to get a dangerous individual off the streets of our community.”
Karen Thomas, a friend of Frederiksen, said Tuesday she was relieved with the arrest but still is in “complete shock.”
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“My heart breaks for her family and her children,” Thomas said. “She was an amazing mom. She loved her kids deeply. She was a kind and caring friend — beautiful inside and out. I miss her deeply.”
Kathy Johnson, officer manager of Terry Lockridge & Dunn, an accounting and business consulting firm in Cedar Rapids, said Frederiksen was an “awesome person.”
Frederiksen began working there in 2014 as an administrative assistant and receptionist and had just left the firm in February.
“This is such a tragic thing,” Johnson said.
Evans is in the Linn County Jail. His initial appearance is scheduled for today Wed in Linn County District Court.
A judge released Evans on his own recognizance April 27, pending trial on a third-degree burglary charge. In that case, Evans is accused of entering another person’s vehicle and stealing less than $200 in property on April 15, according to a criminal complaint.
Evans also has several convictions for burglary and drugs, court records show.
According to a search warrant filed in February, Evans was a suspect in a 2017 house fire in northwest Cedar Rapids but was never arrested. His DNA was found on a cigarette butt found in the house. That case remains open, police said.
In the Sunday fire, a police officer pulled Frederiksen from the burning garage. She died a short time later at the hospital.
Police said Monday the Iowa State Medical Examiner had completed an autopsy and ruled Frederiksen’s death a homicide.
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