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UPDATE: Woman in custody in connection with Minneapolis death investigation

Updated: February 15, 2020 10:46 PM

Cheerful holiday decorations hanging in the window of a Minneapolis apartment belie the violence that happened here early Saturday in the Como neighborhood, just north of Dinkytown.

Minneapolis Police officers responded to an "unknown trouble" call around 6 a.m. Saturday on the 900 block of 15th Avenue Southeast and found a man with a "wound of an unknown origin."

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“Squads arrived to a chaotic scene,” says John Elder, a Minneapolis Police spokesperson. “They were advised a male and female were involved in some sort of incident.” 

Initially, investigators thought the wound might have been self-inflicted. The man died just hours later at the hospital.  

Officers also discovered 35-year old Zara Jo Case inside the apartment. After she spoke with investigators, Case was transported to a detox facility, then transferred to the Hennepin County Jail, where she was booked on a probable cause murder hold. 

“The cops came over three times,” says a neighbor, who asked that his name be kept confidential. 

He says the male victim had just moved into the apartment days ago, where Case was already living. 

The neighbor says the man arrived home around 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning. 

“They were fighting over there at the time, and then she came over here, banging on the back door, waking the kids up,” he says. 

Another neighbor describes a volatile relationship between the couple. She says at one point, Case broke one of her bathroom windows. 

“They were fighting,” the neighbor recalled. “He loved her, he was crazy about her. She was having trouble with sobriety and stuff. Yeah, it’s very sad.”

Authorities say they continue looking for answers. 

“We’re still trying to iron out what happened, how this injury occurred,”  Elder said. 

Police say there’s no danger to the public, but say officers will be canvassing the neighborhood, trying to gather information.  

They are not commenting on whether a weapon was involved, or who initially contacted 911.

“We have a suspect in custody, and this appears to be a very directed incident,” Elder said. “There’s no danger to the public.”

Public records show Case has been in trouble with the law before; that she was convicted of DWI in November 2015.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office is to release the victim’s name and an official cause of death. 

Meanwhile, one man is expressing sorrow about the loss of his neighbor’s life.

“Just feel bad for him,” he says. “Wish it wouldn’t have happened that way.”

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Richard Reeve

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