- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A teenager has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in connection with the death of a 97-year-old Des Moines man after a home invasion in which the man’s wife was seriously injured, authorities said Thursday.

Ngor Peter Makuey, 19, was taken into custody several hours after the Wednesday night incident on the city’s east side, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1lBbBNd ). He was booked into the Polk County Jail on the murder and attempted murder charges. He was arraigned Thursday at Polk County District Court, where bail was set at $1 million.

Harriet Anderson, 94, called police shortly before 8 p.m. and said a person had entered the home she shared with her husband, Rupert Anderson. She told authorities the suspect assaulted them.

The Andersons, longtime owners of an animal kennel business, were found injured and bleeding inside the home, Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax said. Authorities believe a metal object was used in the attack.

The two were taken to the hospital, where Rupert Anderson died of head injuries. Harriet Anderson, who also sustained head injuries, was in critical but stable condition.

Makuey, who lives across the street from the home, had no previous history with the department, according to police. Online court records do not indicate whether he has an attorney. At his court appearance Thursday, he told the judge he was from Ethiopia, and requested assistance from the country’s consulate.

“There is no known connection,” Halifax said of the Andersons and Makuey. “It has the appearance of being totally random. It’s concerning.”

A police officer’s in-car video camera helped the department find Makuey, the newspaper reported. Officers pulled a photo of the suspect from the footage and interviewed neighbors. Makuey was found in his home with blood on him and his clothes, according to Halifax.

Authorities are still investigating around the crime scene to determine if anything was taken from the home. They spent Thursday searching through tall grass and manholes to determine if a weapon or other evidence was discarded.

“Without having a motive or a connection that we know of, this does seem like a random act,” Halifax said. “We don’t know if he knew they were elderly. They were not targeted for a specific item or cash.”

The kennel business, which the couple runs from their home, was not affected. No animals were injured.

“They were the nicest people that I think you’d ever meet,” said Betty Stradley, 84, a long-time customer of the business.

Halifax said Anderson’s death is the sixth homicide in Des Moines this year.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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