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-6-13-1912Courtesy 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.

Mamie Sime
75 YOA
Rolfe, IA
Pocahontas County
Case # 81-01956
March 31, 1981
UnIDd White Male - Winneshiek County
UnIDd White Male
33-36 YOA
Winneshiek County
Est DOD: April 1985
Body found:
March 31, 1986
Missing Person
Delores D. Sumpter
Age at Report: 27
Missing From:
Spirit Lake, IA
Missing Since:
April 1, 1978
Missing Person
Gustavo Cruz
Age at Report: 31
Missing From:
Des Moines, IA
Missing Since:
April 1, 2008
Rodrigo Duran
59 YOA
1820 E. Army Post
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1999-11835
April 3, 1999
Denise Fraley, 30
Missing From:
Cedar Rapids, IA since September 12, 1982
Would have celebrated 53rd birthday April 4
Billy Pruin
43 YOA
Mason City, IA
Cerro Gordo County
April 4, 1995
Missing Person
Bryan A. Howser
Age at Report: 33
Missing From:
Des Moines, IA
Missing Since:
April 4, 2001
Double Homicide
Jay Grahlman

38 YOA
3755 H Ave. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
April 5, 2003
Double Homicide
Jaymie Grahlman

3755 H Ave. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
April 5, 2003
Mary J. Waggle
Age at Report: 56
Missing From:
Des Moines, IA
Missing Since:
April 5, 2012
Ronald Leroy Zellmer
31 YOA
Missing From:
Sioux City, IA
Missing Since:
April 6, 1985

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