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UPDATED: Authorities rule Sioux City businessman Dave Davenport died of blunt force trauma
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UPDATED: Authorities rule Sioux City businessman Dave Davenport died of blunt force trauma

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Dave Davenport house

Authorities said Wednesday David Davenport's death was the result of blunt force trauma. First responders found him at this house on Thursday, Oct. 24. Unidentified tenants rented the house from Davenport, who lived in a larger home on the same lot at 6533 Morningside Ave.

SIOUX CITY -- Authorities are investigating David Davenport's death as a homicide after the state medical examiner ruled the prominent Sioux City businessman died of blunt-force trauma.

David Davenport

David Davenport

At a news conference Wednesday, officials declined to identify a suspect in the case or where on the body they believe Davenport was struck.

Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew said the public is not in danger.

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Authorities had previously said they were looking into a suspicious death at a home Davenport owned in Morningside, but had not identified his death as the focus of the investigation. 

Separately, the Iowa Fire Marshal is investigating a fire that started Sunday morning in the garage of Davenport's home at 6533 Morningside Ave., Drew said.

Though a report has not been completed, the fire marshal does not believe, at this point, that the fire had anything to do with Davenport's death, Drew told the Journal on Wednesday night.

Davenport also owned a smaller rental home that sits on the same lot as the house where he lived. At around 10:20 a.m. Thursday, occupants of the rental home found Davenport there and called 911 to report a "man down," authorities said.

Initially, first responders had difficulties finding the right location because the rental home and Davenport's home share the same address, Drew said. When the ambulance crew first arrived at Davenport's home, they found no one at home.

After finding the right house, responders treated Davenport and transported him to a local hospital. He died Friday at age 66.

Authorities did not offer an explanation for why Davenport's obituary listed his cause of death as a stroke.

Drew said his office began looking into the death after talking Sunday to a physician who had examined Davenport's body. The fire at his home Sunday morning also raised suspicions, Drew said.

The sheriff's office transported the body to the Iowa Medical Examiner's office in Ankeny, where an autopsy was performed Monday, Drew said. Davenport's body was cremated after the autopsy.

A memorial service for Davenport was held Tuesday at Grace United Methodist Church in Sioux City.

The sheriff's office scheduled Wednesday's news conference after consulting with Woodbury County Attorney P.J. Jennings and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Drew said his office is seeking the public's assistance in the case, and information can be phoned to 712-258-TIPS.

"We want to run down every lead," he told the Journal. "If you think it's insignificant, let us decide."

"We will be very, very thorough," Woodbury County Sheriff's Maj. Todd Wieck said at Wednesday's news conference.

Davenport owned and operated a Sioux City firm for many years, selling and developing residential, commercial and industrial property. His father, Fred Davenport Jr., who died at age 94 in December 2013, was a prominent local real estate official for decades.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the approximate time the 911 call was made on Oct. 24. The earlier version also misidentified why Davenport was in the rental home and the entity that transported his body to the state Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy.   

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Pauling, 35, who previously served as the Journal's retail and digital advertising director, had served as interim publisher since former publisher Ron Peterson retired in June. Pauling joined the Journal in 2008 as an advertising sales executive.

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