People with information about the death of Gale Juma Tom Wani , or the movements of people associated with the residence, should call police at 328-6800.
Anonymous calls can be made to 328-6888.
By Janice Gregorson
Rochester police are pursuing an investigative link between a 44-year-old Rochester man found dead in his basement apartment on March 23 and a group of people who were using a vacant apartment upstairs.
The Sudanese native was found dead in the bathroom of the lower level unit at 2323 18th Ave. N.W., by female friend had gone to the apartment after Wani failed to meet her as previously planned. Police Capt. Brian Winters this morning said police continue to investigate the death of Gale Juma Tom Wani as a homicide.
Olmsted County Coroner Dr. Eric Pfeifer said Wani died from blunt force trauma. Winters said further information about the injuries are being withheld to protect the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation.
Winters said investigators have been able to draw a link between Wani and a vacant upstairs apartment where a computer was found. Winters said they have positively identified the computer as being Wani’s, taken from his apartment.
Winters said their investigation shows that a group of people had gained access to the recently-vacated upstairs apartment and were using it as a place to "meet and socialize" on days preceding Wani’s death. Those persons had also established a relationship with Wani, he said.
Investigators also now know that additional personal property was removed from Wani’s apartment. Winters did not say if that property has been recovered.
Police also have identified and interviewed more than a dozen people that were present in the vacated apartment. He said investigators continue to work with these people to identify others who have been present and to try to piece together the movements and actions of the group prior to Wani’s death.
Winters said their investigation now focuses on the identities and movements of the people using the vacant apartment between midnight March 23 and the time police were called at 6 p.m. March 23.
Wani’s death has not been formally ruled a homicide. Pfeifer has ruled out suicide.
Winters said that while there were no signs of forced entry, the presence of broken glass and the missing property indicated to investigators that the death was criminal in nature. Agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension processed the scene for evidence.
Wani was born in Juba, Sudan. He lived in Egypt for six years, moved to the United States about 10 years ago and moved to Rochester in 2005. He was divorced and had two children, one in Coon Rapids and the other in Sudan.