Welcome to Iowa Cold Cases

Thank you for taking time to visit Iowa Cold Cases, the state’s first and foremost repository of Iowa’s unsolved murders and persons missing under mysterious circumstances.

Founded in 2005, our goal is to provide case summaries for each victim while encouraging those with information to contact appropriate law enforcement officials with any known details about the crime.

Villisca Review, June 13, 1912Courtesy photo The Villisca Review
This Villisca Review article, published June 13, 1912, told the story of what eventually became Iowa’s most notorious unsolved murder case.

Here you’ll find victims’ stories and summaries compiled by data from police departments, county sheriffs’ offices, Crime Stoppers, newspaper archives, victims’ family members and friends, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s former Cold Case Unit. Cases are cross-referenced by name, year, decade, city, and county to make them more easily accessible to fellow writers and researchers or those who wish to learn more about a specific case.

Case summaries for decades-old cases would not exist if not for the countless journalists who doggedly pursued investigators for details, tracked down public records by shoe-leather reporting, and published their findings in newspapers long preceding today’s Internet search engines.

Though no statewide database summarizing all Iowa’s known unsolved murders existed online before ICC, we would be remiss in not thanking the hundreds of journalists and law enforcement officials whose dedication to profiling yesteryear’s victims made it possible to provide solid source information for the very cases we feature yet today.

We Remember: Upcoming Cold Case Anniversaries

Listed below are upcoming cold case anniversaries and, where noted, birthdays the victims would have celebrated.

Marion Harris
Marion Harris, 32
Courtside Bar & Grill
1014 E. 14th St.
Des Moines, IA
Case # 11-33199
October 9, 2011
Lucille DeVries
22 YOA
Mason City, IA
Cerro Gordo County
Case # 63-00204
October 10, 1962
Kenny Joe Johnson
14 YOA
Maus Park
Dubuque, IA
DCI Case # 87-05013
October 10, 1987
Fred P. Widmann
30 YOA
Mulberry and Lafayette
Waterloo, IA
Black Hawk County
October 11, 1908
Alexander Sauceda gravestone
Alexander Sauceda
23 YOA
Duck Creek Plaza
Bettendorf, IA
Scott County
October 11, 1973
Corey Wieneke
22 YOA
West Liberty, IA
Muscatine County
Case # 92-08083
October 13, 1992
Frederick L. Coste
47 YOA
312 Second Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
October 15, 1959
Jeffrey Deaver
25 YOA
1132 5th
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1983-37472
October 15, 1983
Joseph E. Payne 
75 YOA
Near railroad tracks
Chariton, IA
Lucas County
October 18, 1945
Douglas Nielsen clips
Douglas A. Nielsen, 17
1409 Elmhurst Ave.
Humboldt, IA
Humboldt County
Case # 74-00512
October 18, 1974
Rodney Olsen
Rodney J. Olsen
Age at Report: 32
Missing From:
Mason City, IA
Case # 862302619
October 18, 1986
Melissa Hasley
Melissa Dawn Hasley
Age at Report: 31
Missing From:
Des Moines, IA
Case # 2002-43573
October 18, 2002

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