Man arrested in Villa Street homicide
A Thunder Bay man has been charged with second-degree murder in last week’s homicide at a Villa Street residence.
Mitchell Adam Soloman Suganaqueb, 20, was arrested and charged on Wednesday, and is in custody at the Thunder Bay District Jail. He made a court appearance on Thursday, and is due back in court Jan. 21.
The charge stems from an incident on Dec. 29 that resulted in the death of Desmond Dennis Mathews, 25.
The arrest comes after a complicated investigation, said Thunder Bay Police acting Det.-Insp. Don Lewis.
“There was a lot of groundwork being done by the community response team and some other units attached to the police service,” Lewis said in an interview Thursday. “It was just a lot of interviews, and a lot of information coming through a number of sources.
“It’s still being actively worked on.”
A 23-year-old man was assaulted in the incident. He is in a Toronto hospital in critical condition.
No charges have been laid in relation to the second victim.
“The investigation is definitely continuing with respect” to the other victim, Lewis said.
A family member of the second victim had spoken to The Chronicle-Journal previously. However, attempts to contact the family member on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Lewis described the residence where the homicide took place as a “flop house,” where people regularly come and go.
The two victims were found at 7:20 p.m. on Dec. 29 by the female homeowner. All three are known to each other.
The homeowner had been at work all day and discovered the victims in the residence when she returned home.
Much of what happened at the residence on Dec. 29 remains unclear, Lewis said. Police still aren’t sure when the two victims arrived at the home, or whether they were there when the homeowner left for work in late morning.
He did say that the assault and murder happened inside the residence.
“It’s hard to say how long they’d been there for, if they were crashing for a week or a day or whatever,” Lewis said.
The second victim’s relative, however, told The Chronicle-Journal earlier that one of the injuries he suffered was a second-degree burn on his back, caused by a heater that he fell on after he was assaulted. The man had been lying on the heater for some time when he was found, the family member said.
The number of people who had been in the residence during the day is unknown. Lewis said in addition to Suganaqueb and the two victims, at least one other male was there, whom police had been searching for after they identified him as a “person of interest” in the case.
That individual was picked up by police Tuesday evening on the city’s north side. He was arrestable, Lewis said, on unrelated matters, but investigators also wanted to speak with him about the Villa Street incident.
Lewis said it was information gleaned from that man, as well as information police gathered from other sources, that led to the arrest of Suganaqueb at a bus stop on Academy Drive at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Lewis said Suganaqueb and the victims likely knew each other “fairly well, from their history. More than casual acquaintances, I would say.”
Lewis said police don’t believe anything was taken from the victims or the residence during the incident.
The Villa Street residence has remained secured by police since Dec. 29.
“It’s not overly common (to hold a scene for that long),” Lewis said. “But it was very involved.”
Officers, Lewis said, examined the inside and outside of the residence. The first couple of days, he added, focused on external locations.
Lewis said the residence was to be released by police on Thursday.
A post-mortem examination has been conducted on Mathews, but the specific cause of death has not been released.