Mark Koster (courtesy Missing Person Information Clearinghouse)
Mark Edgar Koster
Mark Edgar Koster
Weight: 140 lbs.
610 N. 5th St.
Sac City, Iowa
Went Missing: July 4, 2009
Legally Declared Dead: October 10, 2011
Remains Found: November 5, 2012
Mark Koster was reported missing to the Sac City (IA) Police Department on July 4, 2009. He was last known to reside at 610 N. 5th Street in Sac City, and was last seen with a friend — identified only as “Tom” — who allegedly was from either Florida or Texas but had been living with Koster in the three months prior to Koster’s disappearance.
“Tom” was never seen again after Koster went missing.
Daniel Koster, the victim’s brother, discovered his brother was missing when the Sac City utility department contacted him about his brother’s unpaid utility bills.
A search warrant served on Koster’s home following his disappearance showed no signs of foul play but revealed all of Koster’s clothes still present in the home, along with all his personal possessions, including a pipe and tobacco. Koster’s vehicle was found in the garage at the victim’s residence.
Sac County in Iowa
Sac City in Sac County
Neither Koster’s bank account nor his debit card showed any activity after he went missing.
Despite extensive efforts to locate Koster — including searches and investigations by the Sac County Sheriff’s Office, the Sac City Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) — no evidence developed to indicate Koster was still alive.
Koster Declared Dead
In 2011, Daniel Koster petitioned the Iowa District Court for Sac County to have his brother declared dead from accidental or other violent means.
The Court summoned and empaneled a jury of six qualified persons to inquire into the facts surrounding Koster’s disappearance to see if reasonable grounds existed to have him legally declared dead.
The jury found clear and convincing evidence that Mark Edgar Koster suffered death by accidental or other violent means, and Koster was declared dead as of October 10, 2011.
On Monday, November 5, 2012, a new homeowner renovating Koster’s former Sac City home discovered human skeletal remains buried in the home’s basement. He immediately contacted Sac City Police.
Lesly Gehlsen of Carroll, Iowa, had purchased the residence in May 2012.
In a November 6 press release, Sac City Chief of Police John Thomsen said the items were being sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.
On Thursday, November 8, the Sac City Police Department announced the remains had positively been identified as those of Koster. The remains were identified using dental records, and were to remain in the custody of the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ames.
The Sac City Police Department called the circumstances and location of Koster’s remains “suspicious,” and said the case is currently under investigation.
“(His death) is going to be investigated no matter what because of the suspicious nature from where the body was recovered,” Thomsen said in a Sioux City Journal article dated November 8, 2012. “The main thing will be to find the friend, who was reported living with him. His name’s Tom, and he’s either from Florida or Texas.”
Police said attempts to locate the man for questioning never turned up any solid leads.
A 2010 full search of the home by DCI officials had failed to turn up any DNA. No one had lived in the home since Koster’s disappearance.
Due to the condition of the remains, officials said autopsy results could take up to two months to become available.
The Journal located one of Koster’s sisters, who said the family was saddened but relieved to have some closure in the case.
“We hope he is resting in peace,” Jane Koster, of Des Moines, told the Journal.
The Sac City Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are currently seeking any information about the male who’d been staying with Koster for approximately three months up until the time of Koster’s disappearance. Anyone with information regarding the man’s identity is asked to contact Sac City Police at (712) 662-7772.
- Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
- Sac City Police Department
- “UPDATE: Skeletal Remains Identified as Mark Koster,” KCAU TV-9, Sioux City, November 21, 2012
- “Can roommate provide clues in basement bones case?” KCCI Channel 8 Des Moines, November 9, 2012
- “Remains of Mark Koster, Missing Iowa Man, Found in Previous Home’s Basement (VIDEO),” The Huffington Post, November 8, 2012
- “Human Remains are Those of Missing Sac City, IA Man,” KCAU TV-9, Sioux City, November 8, 2012
- “REMAINS IDENTIFIED: Circumstances “Suspicious”,” WHO-TV Channel 13 Des Moines, November 8, 2012
- “Police: Location of man’s remains ‘suspicious’,” The Sioux City Journal, November 8, 2012
- “Basement bones solve mystery disappearance,” KCCI Channel 8 Des Moines, November 8, 2012
- The Iowa District Court for Sac County in the disposition Mark Edgar Koster, Presumed to be Deceased, July 2011 – October 2011
- Iowa Department of Public Safety Missing Person Information Clearinghouse
- MPIC Missing Persons Bulletin, April 2011