Rose Marie Grandanette
Rose Marie Grandanette
Sunrise Blvd. and 73rd St.
Des Moines, IA
September 14, 1958
Mrs. Rose Marie Grandanette, a 33-year-old mother of three children, was shot in the head with a .38-caliber pistol on September 14, 1959, after answering the door of her Windsor Heights Des Moines home.
Rose’s 36-year-old husband, Bernard “Bernie” Grandanette, told police the shot was fired by one of three gunmen who accosted him as he returned home from work.
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk County
Bernard Grandanette — who co-owned the Town and Country Market in Des Moines with his brother, Ross — told police he’d worked late that night and that after pulling into his home’s driveway, he saw three men outside his car. The men allegedly got into the vehicle from the passenger side and demanded Grandanette give them his money. When Grandanette told them he had no money on him, he said the men ordered him inside the home.
Grandanette said he rang the doorbell to alert his wife, and that once she opened the door and saw the men with guns, she tried to run back into the house. This account conflicts with reports that Mrs. Grandanette fell forward through the doorway after being shot and landed on the porch.
Grandanette said the men then panicked and fled to a vehicle where a fourth man waited. Grandanette could not provide physical descriptions of any of the men because he said they held handkerchiefs to their faces.
Once they’d gone, Grandanette said he went inside the home and called Windsor Heights Police and then his brother, Ross. The two responding officers — Windsor Heights Police Chief Vern Akey and town fire marshall C.D. Millsap — found Rose Grandanette still alive on the front porch.
Neighbors looked after the Grandanette’s children — Roslynne, Joseph, and Victoria — while Millsap drove Mrs. Grandanette to Methodist Hospital. She died the following night.
According to Polk County coroner R. Corwin Johnson, the bullet that killed Rose Grandanette was shot at close range approximately one and one-half inches away from the top of her head; the killer would have been standing over the top of her when he pulled the trigger.
- Courtesy photo AP/Cedar Rapids Gazette
- Bernard Grandanette and his brother-in-law Mike Chiodo at the Coroner’s Inquest.
A coroner’s inquest began September 24, and in early October law enforcement officials asked both Bernie and Ross Grandanette to voluntarily submit to lie detector tests. An attorney representing the brothers told authorities the men had been fully cooperative throughout the investigation and that no polygraph tests were necessary.
Local and state authorities interviewed more than 500 individuals throughout the murder investigation, but no charges were ever filed.
Memorial services for Rose Grandanette were held Thursday, September 19 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. She was buried in the Grandanette family plot at Glendale Cemetery.
Bernard Grandanette died February 14, 2006.
If you have any information about Rose Grandanette’s unsolved murder please contact the Des Moines Police Department at 515-283-4864 or Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form or the Anonymous Tip Form.
- Personal correspondence with Joseph Grandanette, May 2010
- “List of ‘case open’ slayings in Iowa,” The Des Moines Register, September 8, 1974
- “The Growing List of Iowa’s Unsolved Murder Cases,” Des Moines Register, November 24, 1968
- “Unsolved Slayings Climbing in Iowa,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 26, 1965
- “A Murder Case is Never Closed,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette,” August 1, 1961
- “Where are killers? Sleuths never quit,” Mason City Globe-Gazette, August 1, 1961
- “Five Iowa Murders Are Still Unsolved,” The Estherville Daily News, October 13, 1958
- “Grandanettes To be Quizzed,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, October 3, 1958
- “Finds No New Evidence in DM Sept. 14 Slaying,” Ames Daily Tribune, September 30, 1958
- “Say Grandanette Told Police He Could Identify Slayer,” Ames Daily Tribune, September 25, 1958
- “Slaying Scene Described by Grandanette,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 24, 1958
- “Grandanette Slaying Done By ‘Unknowns,’” Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 20, 1958
- “Schedule Inquest in DM Slaying,” Ames Daily Tribune, September 19, 1958
- “Inquest Slated In Iowa Slaying,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 18, 1958
- “Continue to Probe Death of Woman,” Mason City Globe-Gazette, September 17, 1958
- “Wife Killed, Husband Fears For His Life,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 17, 1958
- “Probe Grudge in Des Moines Fatal Shooting,” Waterloo Daily Courier, September 16, 1958
- “DM Woman ‘Critical,’ Husband Slugged in Attempted Theft,” Ames Daily Tribune, September 15, 1958
- “Des Moines Woman Shot, Husband Clubbed,” Waterloo Daily Courier, September 15, 1958
- “Woman Shot, Husband Struck Down by Bandit,” Carroll Daily Times Herald, September 15, 1958
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