- Courtesy photo The Gazette
- Edward Kriz
Edward A. Kriz
Edward A. Kriz
Hamburg Inn No. 2
214 North Linn Street
Iowa City, IA
November 10, 1962
Edward Kriz, 43 — a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Army — was shot outside the Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City on November 10, 1962, when he startled a would-be robber.
Johnson County in Iowa
Iowa City in Johnson County
Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter Vanessa Miller covered the half-century-old homicide on November 10, 2012, which follows.
IOWA CITY — After closing George’s Buffet early Nov. 10, 1962, owner Edward Kriz, his wife and a bar tender walked to the Hamburg Inn No. 2 for coffee and a sandwich.
It was a common routine for the 43-year-old Iowa City businessman and his wife. But this time was different. This time, their early-morning custom turned tragic.
As Kriz and his wife left the diner out a backdoor, there was a noise described as a “firecracker,” according to a story in the Nov. 11, 1962, edition of The Gazette. Kriz pitched forward and struggled with a man wearing a Halloween mask before two more shots were fired and Kriz collapsed, according to the newspaper report.
The killer fled, and Kriz died minutes later. Police believe he inadvertently stepped in the path of a would-be robber.
- Edward Kriz was shot while going out the back door of George’s Buffet, an Iowa City tavern he and his wife Bernice owned and operated in 1962.
Today – 50 years since the homicide – the case remains cold. Unsolved.
Kriz’s wife has died, along with the lead detective in the case, the county attorney at the time, and the Iowa City police chief in 1962. But, thanks to advancements in forensic technology, current Iowa City detectives remain optimistic of one day solving the case.
“We still have hope we would get a conviction,” said Iowa City detective David Gonzalez. “But it goes beyond hope. The family wants answers, and that’s what we’re working for.”
Gonzalez said he’s looking at how new technology analyzing DNA, fingerprints and ballistics, for example, could help bolster the investigation.
“We are determining if our evidence is suitable for further analysis,” Gonzalez said.
- Courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette
- Joseph Schneider, 18, was charged with the murder of Edward Kriz, but charges were later dropped.
‘Still upset about it’
Among the pieces of evidence that have been publicly aired over the years is a button officers believe was torn off the lapel of the coat Kriz’s killer was wearing. That button, along with a tip, led investigators to arrest 18-year-old Robert Joseph Schneider in December 1962 in connection with Kriz’s homicide.
Paul Hoffey, an Iowa City police investigator in 1962, told The Gazette that he recovered the button near where the body was found. Hoffey then obtained a search warrant for the home of Schneider’s parents and found a crucial piece of evidence linking the teen to the crime scene.
“At that home, in his bedroom and in his closet, I located a tan colored trench coat with a lapel that had been torn,” Hoffey said. “The button was gone, but the threads were still there.”
The police chief asked Hoffey to hand deliver the evidence to an FBI lab in Washington D.C. But when Hoffey returned to recover the evidence that was supposed to have been processed, he learned the lab had made a grave error.
“They told me the button had been lost,” Hoffey said. “It wasn’t there. They couldn’t find it.”
The news shook the foundation of the case – and it has troubled Hoffey deeply.
“I’m still upset about it,” he said. “It’s been bothering me for a long long time.”
In February 1963, the county attorney dropped the murder charge against Schneider, saying the evidence did not show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hoffey, now 78, told The Gazette the missing button played a significant role in prosecutors’ decision to drop the murder charge.
“We could not link him from the crime scene to the trench coat that was hanging in Schneider’s bedroom closet,” Hoffey said. “That was crucial.”
But, in Hoffey’s mind, Schneider remains a “person of interest.” And he’s alive, detectives said, although his exact whereabouts aren’t known.
- Courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette
- Joseph Schneider
‘It was a big deal’
In 1962, Kriz’s violent death shook Iowa City and created a sense of fear among residents, Hoffey said.
“We didn’t have very many armed robberies in Iowa City,” Hoffey said. “So when we had one, there was a great deal of concern.”
Kriz was “a good man,” according to Hoffey, and he left behind a wife and two sons.
Thomas Kriz, Johnson County treasurer and a distant relative of Edward Kriz, was 15 years old at the time of the crime and remembers the impact it had on Iowa City.
“Any time someone was murdered, it became a big thing,” Kriz said. “But this became bigger because they were so sure they knew who did it but couldn’t get the county attorney to prosecute.”
Hoffey said he’s met with Iowa City detectives about the investigation and is encouraged they’ve not given up on the case. But he’s only cautiously optimistic.
“I hope it doesn’t hang forever,” he said. “You always hope that the person who committed the crime will be found and will face justice, but it was a long time ago.”
Copyright 2012 The Gazette
Courtesy photo Rick K., findagrave.com
- Edward J. Kriz was buried at the Saint Joseph Cemetery in Iowa City.
About Edward Kriz
Edward J. Kriz was born May 18, 1919 in Coralville, Iowa, to Mary E. Chambers and Fred James Kriz. He had two older siblings, Frederick John Kriz and Helen C. Kriz. He married Bernice R. Tesar on December 3, 1946. The couple had two sons, Steven and Tom.
Edward was buried at the Saint Joseph Cemetery in Iowa City.
If you have any information about Edward Kriz’s unsolved murder please contact the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-5275, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 319-356-6020, or Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.
Sources and References:
- “Saturday marks 50 years since unsolved homicide,” The Gazette, November 10, 2012
- United States Social Security Death Index
- “Bernice R. Kriz,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 9, 2006
- “Schneider Freed at Iowa City,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, February 16, 1963
- “Schneider Faces Trial For Murder,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 25, 1963
- “Not Positive On Schneider Identification,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 22, 1963
- “Alibi for Schneider Filed at Iowa City,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 18, 1963
- “Call Additional Jurors For Schneider Trial,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 8, 1963
- “Schneider Robbery Trial To Be Jan. 21,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 4, 1963
- “Criminal Cases Totaled 120 in Johnson in 1962,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 4, 1963
- “Yule Visits to Accused Youth,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 26, 1962
- “Oxford Youth Is Indicted For Murder,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 14, 1962
- “Grand Jury Resumes Slaying Case Study,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 23, 1962
- “Innocent Plea By Schneider,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 15, 1962
- “Youth Held For Murder At Iowa City,” The Muscatine Journal, November 14, 1962
- “Hunt Killer Of Tavern Operator,” The Waterloo Daily Courier, November 11, 1962
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