No motive, suspect yet in killing of McKees Rocks artist and activist

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Allegheny County homicide detectives have found no motive yet for the Monday killing of a McKees Rocks artist and activist who was known to advocate against violence.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office identified the man as Isaiah Dent, 61, and said an autopsy is scheduled for today.

Mr. Dent was found in his Hays Manor apartment severely beaten in the head about 8:50 a.m. Monday. Police said he was likely beaten to death, but would not say with what, if any, object.

Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said investigators have developed no suspects or a motive.

Police have confirmed Mr. Dent was alive Saturday morning, as a couple of people reported seeing him between 10 a.m. and noon.

Family asked police to check on him because they were concerned when they couldn't reach him, Lt. Schurman said.

Police initially looked into the possibility that the death was part of a robbery attempt, Lt. Schurman said.

"It did not look like the house was ransacked in an effort to steal things," he said.

McKees Rocks police Chief Robert Cifrulak said Mr. Dent was a friendly community activist who was involved in the local art scene and always attended meetings that promoted curbing violence.

"He was everywhere," Chief Cifrulak said. "Everywhere you looked, he was there."

A longtime resident of Hays Manor, Mr. Dent also served on the tenant board there.

His niece, Regina Dent, said her uncle enjoyed traveling and making and selling African clothes, which he had done as long as she could remember.

"He gave back to the community," she said. "He didn't bother anybody."

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Molly Born:, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. First Published January 29, 2013 12:15 AM


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