Three men and one women have been arrested in connection to the death of a Black man named Michael Williams. The Iowan man's body was found burning in a ditch near Kellogg, Iowa on September 16.
"The investigation has revealed no evidence to show the acts against Michael Williams were motivated by his race nor that his death was the result of a hate crime," the Iowa Department of Public Safety said.
A police investigation found that Williams was killed on September 12 near Grinnell, Iowa. His body was then wrapped in cloth and plastic, secured with tape and then lit on fire in Kellogg.
Initial reports suggest that Steve Vogel, a 31-year-old man, is responsible for Williams death. An affidavit supporting a criminal complaint against Vogel suggests that he told a police officer that he had strangled Williams and showed him the body at his home.
Vogel was in police custody for unrelated charges at the time the body was found in Kellogg. He is now being charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.
Prior to his arrest, Vogel lived with his mother, Julia Cox, and a man named Roy Lee Garner. Both Garner and Cox have been charged with abuse of a corpse, obstructing prosecution and accessory after the fact.
According to an affidavit, Cox says that she helped Vogel take an "object" wrapped in a blanket out of a pickup last Wednesday before he put it in a ditch. Garner adds that he dropped off Vogel in another town. From there, he and Cox took things off the back of the pickup truck and put them into a ditch. Authorities later found bleach bottles, gloves, carpet and a receipt with Vogel's name on it.
The fourth person arrested in connection to the crime is Cody Johnson of Grinnell. Johnson told police that he went to Vogel's home and attempted to help him move the body.
All four are currently in police custody.