UPDATE: Columbia police investigating Old Hawthorne incident as homicide

Columbia police close off scene near Old Hawthorne

Columbia mayor discusses homicide...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - UPDATE 5:35 pm: ABC 17 spoke with Mike Hill, owner of Silver Leaf Holdings and the home on Lasso Circle.

Hill said he rented that home to a female tenant for a year and a half and never had any problems with her. Hill, who said he was out of the country on Monday, said he was surprised to hear what happened there. While Silver Leaf Holdings does screen its tenants before offering them a lease, Hill said he has no control over who those people might invite into their home.

ABC 17 asked Hill if he knew any details about the homicide but Hill said he did not know any information.

The homicide on Lasso Circle is at least the city's ninth in 2017, tying the 20-year high set in 2000. Several deaths remain under investigation by CPD, and are not classified as homicides, despite some arrests being made.

Mayor Brian Treece said many cases this year, without specifying which ones, stemmed from drug issues. The city's efforts to curb the opioid epidemic and addressing gun violence were steps toward making a dent in the number, but Treece said the police department's staffing issues stop them from quickly solving cases.

"We need to make sure that when bad things happen, and bad things will happen, that we have experienced officers with the tools and the training they need to do their job, and to be effective in their job," Treece told ABC 17 News.

The police department plans to add two detectives to its Criminal Investigation Division with money from the new year's budget. One of those two will be assigned to older homicide cases. Of the city's 9 open homicide cases since 1997, 6 of them occurred since 2016.

UPDATE 9:55 A.M.: The incident is being investigated as a homicide, according to CPD.

CPD was dispatched to the scene at 3:37 a.m. and found a man who was unconscious and not breathing. The responders gave him aid, and medical personnel arrived on scene. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

UPDATE 8 A.M.: A public information officer with the Columbia Police Department told ABC 17 News that officers were called to the 1900 block of Lasso Circle for reports of a suspicious person just after 3:30 a.m. Monday.

The PIO said she has not yet received any information from the officers at the scene of Lasso Circle.

UPDATE 7:15 A.M.: Columbia Police Crime Scene/Forensic unit arrived at the scene.

Investigators were seen taking photos of a blue tarp and areas around the tarp. Shortly after, police vehicles blocked the view of the tarp.

Residents in the area told ABC 17 News crews that police told residents on Lasso Circle that they couldn't leave for a few hours.



UPDATE - 6:15 A.M.: Investigators with the Columbia Police Department have widened the closed-off area of Old Hawthorne Drive, which now extends to Murano Way. 

The tape used to close the area reads, "Police Line Do Not Cross," however, officers have not yet disclosed the reason for the closure. 



 ABC 17 News will continue to gather information and update this article throughout the morning.

UPDATE - 5:45 A.M.: Crews from the Columbia Fire Department arrived on scene of Old Hawthorne Drive and Lasso Circle.



Officers have still not released any information as to the nature of their investigation which began just after 4 a.m. Monday.

ABC 17 News will continue to gather information and update this article throughout the morning.

ORIGINAL: Columbia police officers marked off an area near Old Hawthorne Drive and Shallow River Drive early Monday morning.



More than a half-dozen units were on scene as of 5:00 a.m. 

ABC 17 News has crews at the location working to gather more information which will be posted to this article.

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