Family: Homicide victim was loving, caring mother of four

Heather Belieu's brother speaks about his joyful sister, mother of four

By Claire Powell |

Published 12/01 2015 09:48PM

Updated 12/01 2015 09:59PM

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

DES MOINES - For Heather Belieu's brother, Ryan, Monday afternoon was a nothing short of a nightmare. 

"My mom told me Heather was gone. My sister was gone and of course, my first reaction was disbelief," said Ryan Belieu.

31-year-old Belieu and her boyfriend 36-year-old Bryon Howard were found dead inside their home at 3918 Center Street shortly before 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. Police removed two children from the house unharmed shortly after arriving. 

Tuesday morning, Des Moines Police named 39-year-old Michael Wanchanic as a person of interest in the case. 

Ryan told Local 5 News he had just met Wanchanic last Thursday, just days before the double homicide. He described him as quiet and somewhat stand-offish. 

Ryan continued to tell stories about his little sister, Heather. With only three years separating them, Ryan said the two have always been close. Both of them have four children each, all around the same age.

"I don't know any other words to put it in, as far as picture perfect brother and sister bond. It was amazing and we always had each other. She was that girl that lit up the room you know," said Ryan. "She raised her kids with manners and respect to you know, just an amazing girl."

All day Tuesday, he flipped through old photos and childhood memories, unable to pull himself away.

"Since we were little kids, she idolized me and it made me feel like a special person to know that somebody could look at you with that much love and care," said Ryan.

Ryan said the worst part isn't the not knowing or who did it, it's the fact that he's lost his best friend and his sister.

"I want the world to know how special she is, whether they got to meet her or not. Because anybody that did, knows that they got the chance to know her. She was a blessing and she was a really special person and she'd do anything for anybody she could," said Ryan. 

Belieu left behind four children including two with Howard. All of the children were unharmed and are currently staying with immediate family. 

Wanchanic, the person of interest in this case, is currently in an ongoing situation with police. He was believed to be driving a beige colored 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan with Iowa plates DMR 234.

This marks the 18th and 19th homicide of the year in Des Moines and the third double homicide in three months. 

Check back with Local 5 News as more information becomes available. 


Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

comments powered by Disqus

Top Stories

Featured Coupon


Featured Business