Homeless man found dead under a freeway overpass was murdered, officials say

His body was found in Minneapolis earlier this summer.
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Authorities have released more details about a homeless person who was found dead under a Minneapolis bridge earlier this summer.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the victim as Kristie James Steinke, a 48-year-old Native American man. 

Steinke's body was found under the I-394 bridge near Linden Avenue West and Dunwoody Boulevard on June 8.

The medical examiner has officially labeled his death a homicide. An autopsy found he died from "complex homicidal violence."

The release says the Minneapolis Police Department is still investigating the matter.

A suspect is in custody – 42-year-old Duane John Blackbull is being held at Hennepin County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He was charged with second degree murder in June in connection to the incident.

According to the Star Tribune, Blackbull beat Steinke to death during an argument. They were fighting because Blackbull accused Steinke of sleeping with his girlfriend while he was in prison, the paper says.

One witness told police that Blackbull had hit Steinke over the head with a rock, KSTP reported. He was taken into custody at the memorial service for Steinke, the station notes.

Jail records show that Blackbull's next court appearance is set for September 15.

Homelessness in Minnesota

The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul has been studying and trying to count the number of homeless people in Minnesota since 1991.

Their last study done in 2015 determined that there were 9,312 homeless people in Minnesota – a nine percent decrease from the previous study in 2012.

Researchers say homelessness disproportionately impacts African Americans and American Indians, who account for 39 and 8 percent of homeless adults in the state respectively, despite comprising just 5 and 1 percent of total adults statewide.

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