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Late homicide ruling makes ’13 worst-ever


– With a long-awaited email from the Allen County Coroner’s Office, 2013 became the deadliest year since homicides have been tallied.

After more than five months of waiting for test results, the coroner’s office declared the Aug. 7 death of Steven Duane Turner, 51, a homicide.

That ruling brought the total of homicides for 2013 to 45, surpassing the 1997 record of 44.

While the ruling came in 2014, the date of Turner’s death is what determines the date of homicide for purposes of recordkeeping.

Turner was found inside a burning car in southern Allen County, near the intersection of Branstrator and Ferguson roads. Turner’s daughter, Danisha Warren-Baker, told The Journal Gazette at the time that his body was found inside the car’s trunk.

In the coroner’s ruling, Turner’s death was caused by blunt-force trauma to the head.

Allen County police have said little about the case and did so again Tuesday, saying only that it remained under investigation.

The ruling had been held up by discussions between pathologists working on the investigation, officials said this year.

Firefighters were called the scene about 6 a.m. Aug. 7 and found the vehicle engulfed in flames near a line of trees off the road.

The vehicle in which Turner’s badly burned body was found had been shared between him and his fiancée, Warren-Baker said in August.

Warren-Baker did not know why her father would have been in that area of the county, which is a few miles from Fort Wayne International Airport.

An attempt to reach Warren-Baker on Tuesday for comment was unsuccessful.