Little Rock death deemed a homicide; slaying at residence shocks neighbors

A crime-scene truck and police cars were still parked outside the residence of a Little Rock couple Tuesday, more than 24 hours after authorities said a woman was slain in the home.

Margaret Clevenger was found unresponsive and injured in her home on Old Forge Court just after 8 a.m. Monday, according to a news release. Her husband, Timothy Clevenger, called 911 saying he had just gotten home and found his wife on the floor.

An ambulance transported the 56-year-old woman to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, where she was pronounced dead.

Initially, investigators called the death "suspicious." By 9 p.m., however, investigators called it a homicide.

Little else has been released about the death, including an exact cause. Police reports and a news release say Margaret Clevenger was "suffering from severe injuries to her body."

Timothy Clevenger was initially transported to CHI St. Vincent Infirmary for an unrelated medical problem, the police report said, and was taken in for questioning once he was released.

Timothy Clevenger was released without being charged. Department spokesman Lt. Michael Ford said Timothy Clevenger is still considered a person of interest.

The Clevengers had lived in the two-story, beige home on Old Forge Court for more than 25 years, said neighbor Carl Brooks. The curving, steep drive is lined with one-story, brick and wood houses with large backyards and tall, shady trees.

Brooks said he knew the Clevengers -- knew their three children, knew their routine. They were good, quiet neighbors, he said.

"We watched them grow up," Brooks said of the three children. "I know they must be just torn. They were kind of like our kids."

Brooks rises early each day and makes coffee around 6:30 a.m., he said. On Labor Day, he woke up early as always, and around 6:45 he saw Timothy Clevenger's truck back out of the driveway.

Less than an hour later, Clevenger's truck was back in the driveway, and Brooks said he thought the man might have gone out to get doughnuts.

But, minutes later, police cars and ambulances flooded the quiet street, Brooks said. He saw the ambulance arrive and carry his neighbor away. He said emergency personnel were using a tube to help her breathe.

The last time he saw her, he said, was Saturday morning. She was holding the ladder while her husband trimmed limbs in their yard. While he spoke, Brooks gestured to the tall oak tree with a pale, round wound where a branch had been cut.

Neighbors call Margaret Clevenger Meg, and she's listed as recently as 2016 as a pediatric occupational therapist for Pediatric Plus Little Rock. In a 2001 school directory, she is listed as an occupational therapist for the Little Rock School District.

Her husband worked two jobs, Brooks said. He often saw him leave early in the morning, return for a few hours in the evening and leave again by 10 p.m.

"I don't think he hardly slept, but he always said he didn't sleep much anyway," Brooks said.

On Labor Day, though, Ford said Timothy Clevenger was not at work.

"This is a good neighborhood," Brooks said. "People know each other, help each other. Everybody is anxious to find out what happened. Maybe we need to be doing something differently."

Though residents say the neighborhood is safe, Loreen Orage, who lives just one street over on a small cul-de-sac, said surrounding areas feel less secure.

An apartment complex nearby frequently draws 911 calls and police cars, she said. Just days earlier she and her neighbor could head a screaming, raging argument.

But the Clevengers were quiet, Orage said. She has lived in the area for only a year, and she said she rarely saw them. Normally, Orage said she saw Timothy Clevenger from time to time cutting his lawn or would see Margaret standing on the deck. Their yard is catty-cornered to her own, and the neighboring porches are within easy view.

Matt Barron, a 27-year-old who grew up on Old Forge Court, said he, too, saw the Clevengers only when Timothy was out cutting the lawn.

"After their kids left, they kind of kept to themselves," Barron said. "I didn't see much of [Margaret Clevenger]. Sometimes I'd see him out in the yard."

Barron said the neighborhood is safe and quiet, but there have been multiple burglaries in the area. Even his parents' house, he said, had almost been robbed. Multiple houses in the neighborhood sport small videocameras tucked away in corners.

Timothy Clevenger's truck, Barron said, was towed away by police Monday.

"We never had any issues," he said. "No domestics. No yelling. All parents yell -- that's what parents do, you know -- but we never heard them."

Behind a tall, wooden fence, the Clevengers' lawn has grown tall and unruly.


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Metro on 09/05/2018

*CORRECTION: Margaret Clevenger, who was found severely injured in her home Monday and later died, was 56 at the time of her death. A previous version of this article incorrectly reported Clevenger’s age.