- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - A former Des Moines police officer and a woman he was involved with whose bodies were found at an apartment complex were strangled in an apparent homicide and suicide, Urbandale police said Monday.

Sgt. Gary Lang confirmed the bodies were those of former officer Mersed Dautovic, 32, and Mevlida Dzananovic, 24. An autopsy determined Dzananovic had been strangled and Dautovic died of self-inflicted strangulation, authorities said.

Officers checked on the couple Sunday morning at St. Andrews Apartments in Urbandale and found their bodies in a garage at the complex. Lang said it wasn’t immediately clear how long the pair had been there.

Lang said the two had been in a relationship and that there were domestic issues between the two.

Dautovic was charged in March with domestic abuse assault causing bodily injury or mental illness. “I know under Iowa law it’s automatic to have a restraining order with a domestic abuse arrest, but I don’t know that there was one in effect (Sunday) with this couple,” Lang said.

Des Moines police fired Dautovic in June 2009 following an incident in which he and his police partner John Mailander, 50, beat a man during a traffic stop in September 2008. He was convicted in 2012 of obstructing justice and using excessive force on Octavius Bonds, who was pepper-sprayed, repeatedly beaten and at one point knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of his head from Dautovic’s baton. The beating continued after Bonds had been handcuffed and placed face-down in the street, resulting in a broken right forearm and left hand.

A judge gave Dautovic a 20-month sentence after deciding he had little risk of committing further crimes. But a federal appeals court panel in August decided the sentence was too lenient due to the extent of Bonds’ injuries. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the appellate court’s ruling.

Dautovic was scheduled to be resentenced Monday. His attorney, J. Keith Rigg, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the situation.

The investigation into Dautovic and Dzananovic’s deaths is continuing.

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