Tama County in Iowa
Le Grand in Tama County
Helen Mae Bown
Helen Mae Bown
Iowa River in Tama County
Marshalltown/Le Grand, IA
Marshall and Tama Counties
Found: October 31, 1973
Went Missing/DOD: October 7, 1973
Mrs. Helen Mae Bown — a 62-year-old widow who resided in Marshalltown, Iowa — went missing from her home on Sunday, October 7, 1973.
Three weeks later on Wednesday afternoon, October 31, state agents discovered her body in the Iowa River in Tama County about seven miles east of Marshalltown and two miles northeast of Le Grand. The following day, Marshall County Attorney Ronald Kayser announced the victim’s identity and apparent cause of death at a 9:00 a.m. press conference.
It is believed the victim drowned, though was undetermined whether manner of death was accidental or homicide.
Marshall County in Iowa
Marshalltown in Marshall County
According to officials, even though Bown’s body was found on the Tama County side of the river, the Marshall County attorney took over the investigation because Bown had lived in that county.
Polk County Medical Examiner Dr. R.C. Wooters, who conducted the autopsy, said Bown was believed to have been dead and in the river since her Oct. 7 disappearance.
In a Des Moines Register article dated Nov. 2, 1973, one official not directly connected with the case said the manner in which the investigation was being handled would lead one to believe “the Watergate tapes or the atomic bomb secrets” were involved.
Additionally, the paper also reported that no one in an official capacity would say why the search for the woman was concentrated in the area northeast of Le Grand.
Information Needed: If you have any information about this case please contact the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department at (641) 754-5725 or contact Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.
- “Body Found in River Is Identified,” Des Moines Register, Friday, Nov. 2, 1973
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