• Wed August 13 2008
  • Posted Aug 13, 2008
By TOM ALEX August 12, 2008 A Des Moines man who was stabbed to death while on an early-morning bicycle ride last month was chosen by four suspects as a part of a game that involved the selection of a random target, police have been told. "I've never heard of this before. The investigation is ongoing, and we have more people to talk to, but we have received word of a game called 'Victim' that may have been going on at the time," said Sgt. Vince Valdez, spokesman for the Des Moines Police Department. Valdez would not elaborate on the alleged game or identify who provided the information. "That's all I can say about it, that they may have been looking for a random victim to assault," he said. The July 26 death of Dean Jay Davis, a 46-year-old father of six, has puzzled investigators since his body was found about 6 a.m. in the 2400 block of Des Moines Street, about a block from his home. A neighbor who called police thought Davis was asleep, but investigators found he had been stabbed at least once in the chest. Police said an anonymous tip led detectives a week later to Ryan Michael Higgins, 19; Roberto Rodriguez, 19; Brian Lee, 21; and Zachary Kern, 18, all of Des Moines. Investigators have not said whether they think one or more of the men stabbed Davis. All are charged with first-degree murder. Lee was on parole after nine months in prison for a felony marijuana possession charge three years ago. His five-year sentence had been suspended, but he was later jailed for a probation violation. None of the other suspects had a criminal record of note, online court records show. Valdez would not say whether the anonymous tip involved information about the "Victim" game, or whether the suspects provided the information. Internet searches of media accounts from similar crimes in Iowa and elsewhere contain no similar references to the game. One of Davis' daughters said earlier she knew three of the men "by face" from high school, but officials said there were no prior relationships among Davis and any of the suspects.

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