On Jan. 10, officers found 52-year-old Dawn Orona dead inside her home in Des Moines, the Des Moines Register reported.
Her husband, 52-year-old Daniel Orona, was originally arrested on Jan. 16 and charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, according to police.
However, an autopsy determined Dawn died by homicide, so authorities said charges against Daniel were upgraded to first-degree murder.
"Evidence indicated that Daniel repeatedly struck Dawn about her head, neck, torso and extremities causing multiple blunt force injuries that caused Dawn's death," Des Moines police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Parizek said.
According to court records, Daniel allegedly physically assaulted his wife multiple times from Jan. 4 through Jan. 10, the day she died. Daniel allegedly admitted to police that he slapped his wife and struck her in the head with an aluminum crutch in the days leading up to her death.
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According to the Des Moines Register, he allegedly admitted that “he knew he should call the EMS due to the victim’s need for medical care but did not call to avoid dealing with the police."
Court documents state Dawn was a “dependent adult who needed assistance performing basic tasks.”
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
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