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.

Baby John Doe

Found in landfill
Iowa City, IA
Johnson County
December 21, 1992
Leon Groves
40 YOA
SE 18th & Scott
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1951-9296
December 22, 1951
Beth Ann Ricketts
31 YOA
4000 Dubuque St.
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1997-57018
December 22, 1997
Agnes Kennedy
Agnes Kennedy
51 YOA
1800 Blk W. 8th St.
Davenport, Iowa
Scott County
December 22, 2007
Rylee M. Gray
1614 Park Towne Ln. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
December 23, 1994
Ronald Novak
Ronald Lee Novak
24 YOA
Rolling Acres Road
Center Point, IA
Linn County
December 24, 1983
Phil Terrell, 42
Found in Warren County March 2, 1994
Disappeared from
Des Moines, IA
December 24, 1993
Darrell Lewis
39 YOA
2100 Carpenter
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1995-58887
December 24, 1995
Johnita Clemons
34 YOA
1801 Francis Ave.
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
December 24, 2013

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