UPDATE: Greene murder suspect due in court June 16 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Greene murder suspect due in court June 16

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Thomas Petersen Thomas Petersen
Jacob Petersen Jacob Petersen
Renee Petersen Renee Petersen
GREENE (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa woman is dead, and her husband is the prime suspect in her murder.   

The body of Renee Petersen was discovered in her family's home in the 500 block of North High Street in Greene around 9 p.m. Saturday. 

On Tuesday, investigators confirmed Renee died from multiple stab wounds and classified her death as a homicide.

Neither her husband, Thomas Petersen, nor their two-year-old son Jacob could be found after Renee's body was discovered. It prompted an AMBER alert to be issued for about seven hours Sunday morning.

Law enforcement officials located Petersen's truck around 8:20 a.m. Sunday, five miles south of Philip, South Dakota.  After a brief struggle, Petersen was taken into custody.  The two-year-old boy was unharmed.

Thomas Petersen is due in a South Dakota court on June 16.

Greene is a town with just more than 1,000 people.  And the Petersens were a well known family.  So their tight-knit neighborhood is now overcome with shock and sadness at what's happened.

High Street in Greene was calm and peaceful Sunday afternoon.  But late Saturday night, it was a different story.

"There were police cars and ambulances and the roads were blocked off.  So I didn't know if they were looking for somebody. So we locked the doors and the windows because we were a little nervous," said neighbor Vickie Holm.

Now, word has spread that 36-year-old Renee Petersen was murdered in her home, right in the middle of town.

"I cannot believe something like this happened in Greene.  It is such a small town, and when something this big happens it affects everyone," said neighbor Alison Rust.

Neighbors tell us the Petersens just moved to the small community about three years ago from Texas.  But in that short time, they'd come to know and befriend a lot of people.

Tom Petersen once worked as a frozen foods delivery driver and would often chat with customers just to spare his time.  And Renee Petersen worked at a local doctor's office.  They say she was friendly and easy to get along with. 

So now after what's happened, many around the community are shocked and saddened.  Neighbors are especially disheartened by what Renee Petersen's three children must be going through.  She had a teenage son, and shared a young daughter and toddler son with her husband Tom.

"You know that little boy, he's so little.  Is he going to remember his mom even?  You know, that's the sad part," Holm said.

So now those in the tight-knit community will be relying on each other to cope with this tragedy.

One neighbor tells us she's hoping to start a bank account to help with funeral costs, or anything else that might be needed to support Renee Petersen's children. 

Petersen attended St. Peter Lutheran Church in Greene, and the pastor says the church is also working on outreach efforts to help the family.

No word yet on funeral arrangements for Renee Petersen.

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