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Killer stabbed Brandon man, set fire: police

Public assistance sought in death of 'awful nice guy'

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Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun
An impromptu memorial sits outside the building where Earl Daniel Beebe died of multiple stab wounds on Saturday.

COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun An impromptu memorial sits outside the building where Earl Daniel Beebe died of multiple stab wounds on Saturday.

BRANDON -- Police are asking for the public's help to find a killer who stabbed a man to death and then set a fire to cover up the crime.

The Brandon Police Service announced on Tuesday Earl Daniel Beebe died from multiple stab wounds.

Beebe's body was found in his Victoria Avenue apartment early Saturday morning when firefighters were called to deal with a small fire.

"We do believe that the fire was set after the death to cover up any evidence... He did not die as a result of the fire, he was dead before the fire," BPS Const. Kirby Sararas said.

Firefighters were dispatched by 911 to the residence in the 600 block of Victoria Avenue -- a house divided into apartments -- around 1 a.m. on Saturday. Police also responded as a matter of procedure.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the building and put out a small fire inside the apartment, but there's no word on exactly what had burned or how the fire was set.

Beebe's body was found inside the apartment.

'We do believe that the fire was set after the death to cover up any evidence... He did not die as a result of the fire, he was dead before the fire'

-- Brandon Police Service Const. Kirby Sararas

Shortly after, police announced they considered Beebe's death suspicious.

However, it was only after an autopsy in Winnipeg on Monday confirmed Beebe's death was due to multiple stab wounds that police announced they considered the death a murder.

No suspects have been identified, and there's no word of whether a weapon was found and police have turned to the public in search of tips.

"We've spoken with numerous people that live in the area, live in the residence and we're looking for help," Sararas said.

A person who knew Beebe said he grew up in Wabowden in northern Manitoba, but his family wasn't immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

Facebook posts described Beebe as a wonderful friend.

A small memorial, that included a photograph of Beebe, could be seen outside the apartment building on Tuesday afternoon.

Among the items was a placard printed with the words: "There is comfort and caring that never ends in the heart and the soul of special friends."

Residents of the building said 39-year-old Beebe worked at Maple Leaf Foods and lived alone in the apartment where he'd resided for a number of years.

Don Mattice described Beebe as a friend and said he was polite. Mattice lives alone and Beebe would bring him meals occasionally.

"Awful nice guy," Mattice said of Beebe. "It's hard to believe... It's sad."

Resident Noel Moes said he and his wife were away visiting family at the time of the incident. His return home to find out a murder had been committed in his building was sad and unsettling.

"I just don't feel safe about it," Moes said.

Louis Trudel, whose suite is across the hall and down a short flight of stairs from Beebe's suite, said he heard nothing until a fire alarm sounded shortly after midnight on Saturday.

He said he went up to Beebe's apartment door to find smoke entering the hall from between the door and the door frame.

A set of keys was stuck in the door handle, and Trudel said he opened the unlocked door and called out but there was no response.

He then grabbed his jacket and boots and returned to Beebe's door to find even more smoke.

Trudel told another resident to call for help, then opened Beebe's door a bit and called out again with no answer. When he opened the apartment door wider, he was met with thick smoke.

Sure that Beebe was inside, Trudel said he thought about grabbing his flashlight but knew he couldn't enter the suite and firefighters arrived at that point.

This marks Brandon's fourth homicide of the year.

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2014 A5

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