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Homicide suspected in Salt Lake man's death

Body is found in home; robbery may be motive

Salt Lake police are investigating the death of a 70-year-old man as a homicide.

He was discovered in his basement apartment near 1200 East and 1900 South about 3 a.m. Thursday by a friend who went to visit him.

Police have not said how Leo P. Anderson died. "We're prepared to call it a homicide," detective Kevin Joiner said.

But Joiner said it was difficult to determine whether there were signs of struggle because the apartment was so messy.

"The motive appears to be robbery at this point," Joiner said.

Police are looking for Anderson's dark green 2000 Mazda B3000 extra cab pickup. In the rear window is a Utah temporary license sticker of E08641. There may be damage to the driver's-side door mirror, left front driver's door and the left side of the driver's cab. There is a Ken Garff placard in the license plate holder.

It is unknown whether any other possessions were taken, Joiner said.

Anderson was retired from a railroad company and was a veteran of the Korean War, said neighbor Robert Figueroa, who lived next door to the man for five years. His wife died about seven years ago.

Anderson also was a recovering alcoholic and spent his days counseling others at AA.

"He was due for his 10-year sobriety (anniversary) pretty soon," said Cassie Jackson, who lived upstairs from the man since June. Anderson told Jackson he had lived at the house for 30 years.

Both Jackson and Figueroa called the man a pack rat and said the messy condition that police found his apartment in was not unusual.

The man spent pretty much all his days at a local AA center. He sponsored dozens of other alcoholics. It would not be unusual for someone to come to his house at 3 a.m. for help, Jackson said.

In fact, Jackson did not think it was unusual she hadn't seen Anderson's truck since Tuesday afternoon because she thought he was attending an AA conference in Moab.

"He helped a lot of people," Jackson said.

The man was nice enough, Figueroa recalled.

"He was a loner, except with his buddies at AA," Figueroa said.

Although the motive appeared to be robbery, Joiner said, investigators aren't ruling out anything, especially when the man's past is taken into consideration. Anderson was a registered sex offender with previous convictions for sexual exploitation of a minor, dealing in harmful materials to a minor and sexual battery.

Anderson also had about a half-dozen convictions for DUI dating back to 1986.

His body was taken to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office.


Contributing: Pat Reavy.

E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com