The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office has identified two recent homicide victims in Minneapolis.
The first victim, Stacy Buckanaga, 49, died early on Aug. 21 at Regency Hospital in Golden Valley, more than two months after she was allegedly run over by a van driven by her boyfriend, Jeffrey Cruz, 50, who police say didn’t stop after running over Buckanaga in the alley behind her apartment building in the 3100 block of 23rd Avenue S. Cruz was charged with first-degree assault and remains jailed. It wasn’t immediately clear why the office waited so long to identify Buckanaga.
Authorities on Wednesday also named Vickie Ness, 52, as the second victim of a deadly apartment building fire in south Minneapolis last month.
Ness and Royce Wayne James, 59, with whom she shared a third-story apartment, both jumped from a window to escape the blaze. Responding officers found James with severe burns all over his body. He was taken to a hospital downtown, where he died. Ness was found nearby, unconscious, with burns on her hands, feet and face.
She died on Oct. 27 at Hennepin County Medical Center after suffering multisystem organ failure complicated by injuries from the fall and the fire.
Marcus Dewayne Shanks, 30, was later charged with a single count of second-degree murder and first-degree arson after a witness reported seeing him setting the building ablaze.
Prosecutors have said that, if he’s convicted, they intend to seek an aggravated sentence against Shanks.