Zachary Gaskill des moines dead and obituary, charges filed in the 2016 death

Des Moines police have made an arrest in the death of renowned local architect Kirk Blunck, who was nearly seven years old.

Zachary Allen Gaskill, 32, was charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday. The investigation began on Jan. 24, 2016, when Blunck, 62, was found with serious injuries in the stairwell of the Teachout building at 500 E. Locust St., where he had an office.

The Polk County medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be blunt trauma from a fall from a height.

Blunck’s father, Darrel Blunck, told the Des Moines Register in 2016 that his son was on his way to raise “a lot of money” from someone hours before he died.

In 2016, surveillance photos taken near crime scenes were shared with the public in hopes of identifying people in the photos as potential witnesses. The pair, one of whom was Gaskill, contacted police shortly after to answer questions.

“Over the past six years, detectives have been following investigative leads, interviewing potential witnesses and examining evidence,” Sgt. Paul Parisek said at a news conference Wednesday. “These efforts have identified facts that support the elements of Gaskill’s alleged crimes.”

Gaskill is being held in the Polk County Jail without bond.

In 2018, a judge ordered Gaskill’s family to pay Brunk $6.25 million after they claimed in a wrongful-death lawsuit that Gaskill beat Brunk and caused his death.

Those losses include $500,000 for Blunck’s wife, Doreen Blunck, and $250,000 each for each of his three children, for the loss of companionship and love resulting from his death. The judge also ordered $5 million in punitive damages against Gaskill at the request of the Blunck family.

On Wednesday, family attorney Grant Wood issued a statement thanking the Des Moines Police Department and Detective Jeff Shannon for their “determination and hard work.”

“The Brunk family is pleased that Kirk’s judicial process is continuing,” Woodard said.

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