EDITOR’S WARNING: Some details in the following report are graphic and may be upsetting to some readers.
The autopsy report of a veteran AT&T worker who was killed in late spring confirms the brutal nature of the slaying, specifying details of injuries to the head and neck, including at least 13 stab wounds.
The autopsy of Kenneth Cleveland, 61, completed by Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, was returned Monday after Cleveland’s body was found April 22.
Police initially thought Cleveland may have been electrocuted while working behind a home in the 500 block of Novelty Street. But after investigation, police determined Cleveland’s death was a homicide.
In the 15-page autopsy report, injuries including blunt-force injuries to the neck and head, 13 stab wounds in the head and neck, and 11 incised injuries to the neck, head and left thumb were noted to be the cause of death.
In the graphic report, six “chop wounds,” or wounds caused by a heavy weapon or instrument with at least one sharp cutting edge, in Cleveland’s head and face also were noted as traumatic injuries.
Cleveland’s body was found by residents in the neighborhood about 11:30 a.m. April 22, about two hours after authorities think he was attacked, according to a search warrant obtained by the Tribune-Herald. Residents began seeing smoke in the area about 9:30 a.m., when Cleveland’s body was set on fire after he was fatally attacked.
According to the autopsy, Cleveland’s body was set on fire after he suffered the fatal stab wounds to the right and left sides of his face and other areas of his head.
Abrasions to Cleveland’s upper back, extending to his left shoulder were apparent.
After police determined Cleveland’s death to be a homicide, it became the second of 2016 after Unekeyia Shanta Walker, 29, was found dead from strangulation and blunt-force trauma in February.
No arrests have been made yet in either homicide.
“We are a mess. None of us have picked up life right now,” said Amber Cleveland Hicks, the youngest of Cleveland’s seven daughters. “I guess I can’t understand the sheer evil of what happened. These are just numbers, but I can’t even imagine what he felt or what he was thinking when this was happening (to him).”
Hicks looked at the completed autopsy report for the first time Monday and said she and her family are still struggling with the loss of their father.
Hicks said her father was aiming to retire after 43 years working for AT&T and after his 62nd birthday in June, but she cannot imagine anyone who would want to hurt him.
“Just to know that someone was capable of that kind of evil and now, to have it on paper, we know that this actually happened,” Hicks said. “It will become more brutal when I can go through the details and actually piece it together, but knowing that one (stab wound) wasn’t enough. They just had to keep going.”
In the autopsy diagram, no notable injuries were specified below Cleveland’s neck other than one incised injury to his left thumb.
In the autopsy’s conclusions, the report states that Cleveland was killed as a result of homidical violence, including blunt-force injuries, sharp- force injuries and chop wounds.
AT&T officials are offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the death of the longtime technician. Anyone with information about Cleveland’s death is asked to contact Waco police at 750-7589.