Police visited home over 90 times before 22-year-old was beaten to death, authorities say

A home where police say a 22-year-old woman was murdered early last month was well known to law enforcement.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 8:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 8:52 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - A home where police say a 22-year-old woman was murdered in April was well known to law enforcement.

Officers were called to the house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, more than 90 times in five years leading up to the death of Emily Leonard.

Prosecutors said a man named Arthur Flowers beat her to death with a wooden board inside the home.

“I know different women that have been injured over there. I told Emily, ‘Don’t ever go around the guy alone,’” John Leonard told KCRG shortly after his daughter died.

John Leonard said his daughter had been to Arthur Flowers’ home before, but he said he doesn’t know why she was there the day she died.

“I have no idea why, but I think they got her over there to do drugs,” Leonard said.

Emily Leonard’s boyfriend sent a letter from jail saying they both were “addicts.” The boyfriend went on to say the “police department has known for years Arthur Flowers’ residence has been a known drug house.”

Officers report they were called to the property 94 times in five years, with calls ranging from burglary to weapons and other disturbances. Although 15 of the calls resulted in cases, none flagged the home as a nuisance.

“The calls for service that we’ve reviewed within the past year have been things that SAFE-CR (Secure And Friendly Environments in Cedar Rapids) would not issue a notice of violation or a founded call for service for,” said SAFE-CR Program Manager Amanda Grieder.

The SAFE-CR program addresses conditions including but not limited to junked vehicles, building code violations and conduct that is detrimental to the “quiet enjoyment of neighbors.”

The city of Cedar Rapids has the ability to revoke a landlord’s business permit or rental unit registration to lease a property through the Housing Board of Appeals.

That did not happen with Flowers’ home as it wasn’t even considered a nuisance until March. That had nothing to do with police calls; it was for a trash violation, according to KCRG.

“If anyone is ever calling the police for any reason, even if there is a crime occurring there, if they need assistance, we never want to deter anyone from calling, so we have never made those nuisance violations,” Grieder said.

She also said SAFE-CR does not penalize people for calling the police.

KCRG reached out to the home’s landlord but has not immediately heard back.

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