Public Safety

4 arrested in death of Iowa man whose body was burning in ditch

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KELLOGG, Iowa — Police have arrested four people in the death of a man whose body was found burning last week in rural central Iowa ditch.

Steven Vogel, 31, of Grinnell, was arrested Tuesday morning in the death of Michael Williams, 44, of Grinnell, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

Police acknowledged that the killing of Williams, who is Black, led to fears in the community that he may have been targeted because of his race. Grinnell College canceled classes Monday based on that fear. But police said Williams and Vogel were well acquainted.

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KELLOGG, Iowa - Authorities have identified a man whose body was found last week in a burning ditch in rural central Iowa.

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“The investigation has revealed no evidence to show the acts against Michael Williams were motivated by his race nor that his death was the result of a hate crime,” the release said.

Williams’ body was found ablaze in a ditch near Kellogg after authorities were called around 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16 about the fire. Investigators said Tuesday they believe Vogel strangled Williams on Sept. 12. Williams’ body was wrapped and bound and dumped in the ditch Sept. 16, where it was set ablaze, police said.

Vogel has been charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.

Others arrested were Julia Cox, 55; Roy Lee Garner, 57; and Cody Johnson, 29. All are from Grinnell. Each is charged with abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence and accessory after the fact.

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