The Flagstaff Police Department reported the possible homicide of Kevin Bickford on Second Street in the Sunnyside area of Flagstaff, early last week.
Information about the suspected homicide slowly came to light more than a week after the death was reported. While it was clear that a death occurred, the department's hesitation stemmed from its belief that the facts in the case could not rule out a homicide; however, the facts also could not prove that a homicide occurred, explained Cory Runge, spokesperson for the Flagstaff Police Department.
On Nov. 18, a man came over to the residence where Bickford was located and a fight broke out. During the altercation, Bickford collapsed and died. The man whom Bickford was fighting with attempted to revive him as a roommate went outside and yelled for help.
A woman walking outside the residence called the police to report the death.
The names of those present at the time of Bickford's death were not released.
FPD is currently waiting for toxicology reports to figure out what was in the victim’s system at the time of death, Runge said. He also added the department’s uncertainty is rare when it comes to homicide cases.
“It’s an odd case that the police department is working on in collaboration with the Medical Examiner’s Office,” Runge said. “We don’t have any clear answers.”
Police have finished investigations and interviews with those involved in the altercation, and have been in discussions with the Coconino County Attorney’s Office about whether or not the office wants to file charges.
“Without further information, there’s no clear signs that [the victim] was even involved in an altercation,” Runge said.
Runge explained that when deaths are reported to the department, they start investigations by asking the question of whether the death was a homicide. Only after authorities rule out the possibility of foul play do they consider the death natural.
Homicide includes charges like first- and second-degree murder, which require intent; however, homicide charges also include manslaughter, which can be caused by recklessness.
“We’re not looking for anybody who is an outstanding suspect, but no one has been charged at this time,” Runge said. “Not saying that they will or will not be charged at a later time.”
Bickford has a past history of drug charges for which he served time in federal prison.