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.

Ernest H. Lilly Sr.
50 YOA
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1973-46114
Crime Date: 9/11/1973
Died: Dec. 19, 1973
Michelle Martinko
Michelle Martinko
18 YOA
Westdale Mall
Cedar Rapids, IA
Case # 85-06117
December 19, 1979
Missing Person
Ricardo J. Pimentel
Age at Report: 39
Missing From: Davenport, IA
Missing Since:
December 19, 1989
Guy Heckle, 11
Went Missing From
Cedar Rapids, IA
February 3, 1973
Would have celebrated 53rd birthday Dec. 20

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
December 23, 1994

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