By PHILLIP BANTZ
Cape Coral Daily Breeze: June 22, 2007
A Cape Coral man walked into the city’s police department early Friday morning, saying he possibly stabbed another man to death, authorities said.
Ronnie Perez, 26, of 1102 S.W. 41st Terrace is now in custody at the Lee County Jail on a charge of second-degree murder, said Cape Coral Police Department spokeswoman Dyan Lee.
Officers arrived at Tanya Lowell’s home on 2716 N.E. First Ave. after Perez’s reported confession at approximately 7 a.m. and found the victim, whose identity is being withheld pending notification from the medical examiner’s office, inside the garage, according to Lee.
“He was not breathing, had no pulse, and was bloody,” Lee wrote in a prepared statement issued late Friday night. “The victim had suffered extensive stab wounds, some of which appeared to be defensive in nature.”
Perez admitted that he repeatedly stabbed the victim during a fight because the man kept moving his arm as if he was attempting to “grab something,” Lee stated.
During the investigation, a K-9 unit searched the area around Lowell’s home for evidence as city utility workers and detectives pried open two concrete storm drain covers near the front lawn.
Lowell was on the phone with a medical examiner at 5 p.m., more than 10 hours after authorities had a confession in the case, and said she was driving to the Cape Coral Police Department in search of answers. She wanted to know if the body in her garage was her 36-year-old husband William Lowell.
“I’m hoping they’ll finally give me some answers,” she said. “I don’t even know if it’s my husband or not.”
Tanya Lowell, 36, said she had not heard from her husband all day.
She answered a call at 7:30 p.m. after speaking with police, but said she was “overwhelmed” and did not want to talk. Authorities had not publicly identified the body in the Lowells’s garage.
William Lowell was employed as a home re-modeler in Lehigh Acres, according to a co-worker who arrived on scene. The co-worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was there to buy William Lowell’s blue Ford F-150, which sat in the driveway beside a white Ford Mustang, and pick up a generator in the garage. He said he’d known the Lowells for about four months and wasn’t aware of any problems between the couple or possible enemies.
Evidence markers flagging blood splatters began in the driveway between the F-150 pickup and the Mustang and led to the Lowells’s entry door. Detectives and a forensics unit processed the home throughout the day, ordering Pizza Hut delivery as the afternoon wore on.
William Lowell’s co-worker and his neighbors said they’d never seen the Mustang parked in the driveway before Friday. Investigators searched through the car, finding what appeared to be men’s clothing beneath carpeting in the trunk. They also processed the pickup.
The CCPD’s star K-9, “Jey,” led his handler through the vacant fields and streets near the Lowells’s home, but the seasoned German shepherd appeared to find nothing more than sand spurs. Searches of the nearby storm drains also appeared fruitless.
“They better figure something out soon,” said Jerald Koehn, 35, who resides one street West of the Lowells at 2703 N.E. Juanita Place. “I’m almost scared here. If they can’t figure out what happened to this guy, I’ll be freaked out.”
Koehn said he barely knew the Lowells, though his 6-year-old son sometimes played with their two young daughters and son. He said he hadn’t seen or heard anything suspicious before the incident.
Although nearly every neighbor said the Lowells had three young children, authorities had not confirmed the information, said Lee.
“No one in the police force has been able to confirm kids lived there,” she said.
Matthew Kistner, 19, lives two blocks from the Lowells at 2734 N.E. Second Ave. Kistner said he was smoking a cigarette on his lanai around 2 a.m. Friday when he heard “yelling and fighting.”
A detective later interviewed Kistner on scene.
The case marked the Cape’s fifth homicide so far this year. There were six homicides last year and five the year before, according to the city’s Web site.
The Lowells’s small northeast Cape Coral neighborhood was abuzz with media and speculative neighbors as investigators combed the death scene.
Most residents were concerned about the welfare of the Lowells’s children, while others were discussing the mysterious death of a woman who lived on their street just weeks before.
Camille Lawler, 37, said she was renting a home just two doors down from the Lowells at 2702 N.E. First Ave. to 27-year-old Regina Borrow. Lawler said she discovered Borrow’s decomposing body inside the home March 31.
“You could smell the stench,” she said.
Lawler said she found a tooth and a broken window while cleaning the home after Borrow’s death and suspects foul play. The status of the investigation into Borrow’s death was not immediately available.
Koehn’s wife, Kimberly Koehn, 32, said Borrow seemed fearful the night before she died.
“The night of, she came out and asked me if I’d seen anyone outside her house. It was strange the way she approached me that night in a panic,” she said. “She was really scared.”
Another neighbor, Joey Anderson, 26, said he’s lived in the area for about six months and wasn’t too concerned about the deaths, only curious.
“I’m from Boston. I’ve seen worse,” he said. “There we’re people dying right on my street.”