A mysterious death in northwest Rochester has been ruled a homicide.
Rochester Police this morning identified the victim as 27-year-old April Jean Sorensen. Sorensen was found dead at her home on Tuesday. The house, at 4809 22nd Ave. N.W., had been set on fire. A visiting repairman discovered the fire and called 911.
Police today ruled out Sorensen’s husband, 26-year-old Joshua J. Sorensen, as a suspect. He was at work at the time of the incident and has been cooperative in the investigation, said Police Capt. Brian Winters.
There are no suspects at this time, police said.
April Sorensen died as a result of injuries suffered in an assault before the fire was set, Winters said.
"It is apparent that the fire was deliberately set in an attempt to hide or mask the crime," he said.
Police described the sequence of events preceding the crime. April Sorensen left her home early Tuesday morning to go to work at UPS. After her work shift, she drove to attend a class at Rochester Community and Technical College, where she was a part-time student. She drove a white 2001 four-door Buick Regal.
She left the campus at about 10:50 a.m. Police do not yet know what happened between that time and 12:30 p.m., when the fire was discovered.
The fire was limited to an upstairs bedroom, officials said. April Sorensen’s body was found on the bedroom floor, badly burned and in the epicenter of the fire.
Police have not yet been able to determine whether Sorensen was targeted for murder, or randomly chosen, said Chief Roger Peterson.
April Sorensen, whose maiden name was April Larson, grew up in the Albert Lea area, and attended area schools.
She was a prominent high school athlete, one season her volleyball team’s captain and winner of the basketball team’s "Hustle Award" in 1997.
Several members of her family still live in the Albert Lea area.
"You couldn’t meet a friendlier person in this world," said April Sorensen’s father, Jon Larson of Hayward.
Joshua and April Sorensen bought their house in November 2003. Since then, there have been no police calls to that address prior to Tuesday’s fire. Neither member of the couple had a criminal record in Olmsted County.
Joshua Sorensen works at IBM Rochester. April Sorensen was studying to be a dental hygienist. She had declared her major but not yet been accepted to the program, said David Weber, an RCTC spokesman.
You can help
If you have information to help the investigation, please call the Rochester Police Department at 328-6800, or call the Safe City Tip Line at 328-6888.
The Albert Lea Tribune contributed.