Rochester homicide has Hayward tie

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2007

By Albert Lea Tribune and Rochester Post-Bulletin

ROCHESTER &8212; Officials in the Rochester Police Department announced this morning that they suspect a death from a northwest Rochester house fire on Tuesday, in which one woman died, is a homicide.

Olmsted County Coroner Eric Pfeifer identified the 27-year-old woman as April Sorensen. She graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1998 as April Larson.

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Her husband is Joshua Sorensen, 26. Police ruled him out as a suspect. April Sorensen&8217;s parents are Jon and Sandra Larson of Hayward.

&8220;You couldn&8217;t meet a friendlier person in this world,&8221; her father said.

She was a prominent athlete during her days at Albert Lea High School, participating on girls&8217; basketball and volleyball teams. She was a volleyball team captain and won the basketball team&8217;s &8220;Hustle Award&8221; in 1997.

She was found dead in her home, at 4809 22nd Ave. N.W., on Tuesday, after a man arriving there to perform routine pre-scheduled maintenance work saw heavy smoke through a window in the home. He called 911.

The fire was limited to an upstairs bedroom, public safety officials said. The woman&8217;s body was found on the floor in the bedroom. Police Capt. Brian Winters said the body was burned and in the epicenter of the fire.

An on-scene examination of the victim&8217;s body, Winters said, showed injuries more consistent with an assault than a fire scene.

Joshua Sorensen was at his workplace the day of the fire and has been cooperative in the police investigation. He graduated from Alden-Conger High School in 1999. His parents are David and JoAnn Sorensen of Alden.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension aided local law enforcement in the investigation.

Joshua and April Sorensen bought their house in November 2003. He is an employee at IBM-Rochester.

She worked mornings at UPS and was studying to become a dental hygienist, said her father.

Rochester Community and Technical College confirmed April Sorensen&8217;s enrollment. She was a declared dental hygienist major, but had not yet been admitted to that program, said college spokesman David Weber. She had largely been taking general education classes, and was taking one credit in the current academic period, Weber said.

In their neighborhood, few, it seems, knew much about the Sorensens. Several onlookers on Tuesday described their interactions with the couple as friendly, but distant. A next-door neighbor, who moved into his house late last fall, did not know their names.

There were no police calls to the Sorensen&8217;s residence in the three-year period preceding Tuesday&8217;s fire, and neither member of the couple had a criminal record in Olmsted County.