First-degree murder charge filed in Ames homicide

Des Moines Police find Fleck hiding in tree following two alleged assaults of females

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Richard G. Fleck, also known as Rashaud Sims, 33, was charged Sunday with the first-degree murder of Ranea Bell, 37, of Ames on Feb. 20 in Ames.


Ranea Bell

AMES, Iowa — A suspect in a Feb. 20 homicide was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder.

Richard George Fleck, also known as Rashaud Sims, 33, was taken into custody by the Des Moines Police Department and turned over the Ames Police Department.

The investigation began Feb. 20, when the lifeless body of Ranea Bell, 37, was found about 7 p.m. in an apartment at 407 S. Fifth St. in Ames, according to the Ames Police Department.

Evidence inside the apartment led investigators to conclude that Bell’s death was the result of a homicide, and police named Fleck as a suspect. Fleck was at that time believed to be in the Kansas City, Missouri, area but had ties in Texas and Mississippi, according to police.

Fleck is held in the Story County Jail on a $1 million bond.

The Des Moines Police Department arrested Fleck early Sunday in connection with two alleged assaults of females in east Des Moines. The department issued the following statement midday Sunday in regard to the arrest of Fleck:

On 21 March 2021, at approximately 12:50 a.m., Des Moines Police Department police officers and Des Moines Fire Department rescue personnel responded to a home in the 2500 block of Garfield Avenue to investigate a report of an assault.

First responders arrived to find an adult female victim suffering from serious facial injuries. She was transported by Des Moines Fire Department medics to MercyOne – Des Moines where she remains hospitalized. She is expected to survive.

Officers learned that a witness had apparently interrupted the attack and then fled the home to call police. The suspect chased after the witness and began to assault her. Neighbors witnessed this and intervened. The suspect then fled the scene on foot.

Des Moines Police Department police officers established a perimeter and initiated a K-9 search for the suspect. A police officer assisting in the search located the suspect attempting to hide in a tree. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Richard George Fleck. Further investigation found Fleck to have an active Murder–1st Degree warrant issued by the Ames Police Department. Ames Police Department investigators were contacted and responded to the scene, where they took Fleck into custody.

Des Moines Police Department police officers consulted with the Polk County Attorney’s office regarding appropriate charges for the assault incident. Following that consultation, warrants have been requested for Attempted Murder and Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury.

The investigation into Bell’s homicide continues by the Ames Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Ames Police Department at 515-239-5133 or the anonymous tip line 515-239-5533 or the Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 515-223-1400. Online anonymous tips may also be submitted.

In a statement Sunday, the Ames Police Department thanked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Kansas City Police Department, KCPD Career Criminals Task Force, U.S. Marshal’s office, Des Moines Police Department, Story County Medical Examiner’s office, Iowa office of the State Medical Examiner, Story County Attorney’s office and other contributing agencies for their continued assistance in this investigation.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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