Valerie Lynn Klossowsky
Valerie Lynn Klossowsky
Resided in Waverly, IA
Body found outside Denver, IA
Case Number: 71-00549
June 13, 1971
Bremer County in Iowa
On Tuesday morning, June 15, 1971, the partially clad body of 14-year-old Valerie Lynn Klossowsky of Waverly was found on a creek bank under a bridge on a lonely country road three miles west of Denver, IA. The Waverly-Shell Rock Junior High School student had been strangled.
Waverly in Bremer County
Valerie was last seen alive on Sunday, June 13, near the Waverly municipal swimming pool. She had gone to the pool with a girlfriend, but the friend said Valerie stopped outside the pool’s entrance to talk with some people and said she’d join her friend at pool side shortly. Valerie never appeared. Later, when the friend left the pool, she found Valerie’s swimming suit and towel outside, but Valerie was gone.
She was reported missing at 10 p.m. that night.
Two days later, two young boys tramping along a small creek in a rolling area discovered her body, clothed only with the upper garments, which had been pulled up around her shoulders.
- Investigators search for Valerie Klossowsky. Courtesy photo Waterloo Courier
Though described by relatives as “tall and strong for her age,” an autopsy disclosed Valerie had been strangled with such force that it fractured her larynx.
Monday night, the night after Valerie was last seen, an area resident reported a neighborhood prowler to police. The prowler had also been reported in the neighborhood on Saturday night, June 5.
Valerie, an older sister, Denise, and a younger sister, Michele, lived with their father, Harold, and their grandmother in a white frame house at 217 Fifth St., N.W. in Waverly. Her mother, who had been married to and divorced from her father three times, had married again and lived elsewhere.
Downtown Waverly, Iowa
Mr. Klossowsky — who worked at Schield Bantam Division of the Koehring Co. in Waverly and was active in the Army Reserves — allegedly had confided to a neighbor that he was not “close” to his three daughters. When Valerie did not return Sunday night or Monday, Klossowsky said he suspected she had probably hitch-hiked to Waterloo.
Neighbors described the girl as quiet but friendly and said she was a frequent playmate of neighborhood children.
The Bremer County Sheriff’s Office, Waverly police and Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents investigated the murder, which included interviews with some 150 persons within the first month. The Waverly Auxiliary Police canvassed more than 100 households in an attempt to find more information about Valerie’s activities on the night she disappeared. Investigating officers were unable to place the girl either in an automobile or on a motorcycle that Sunday night.
Five years later, investigators found themselves investigating two other strangulation homicides in Bremer County and wondered if the three cases might be related.
Julie Ann Benning, 19, disappeared from Waverly, IA, the day after Thanksgiving on November 28, 1975. A Butler County road maintenance worker found her nude and decomposed body in a roadside ditch northeast of Shell Rock on March 18, 1976.
On Sept. 7, 1976, the nude and beaten body of 20-year-old Marie “Lisa” Peak was found in a ditch under a lone cottonwood tree a quarter mile north of Waverly’s city limits.
Peak had been sexually assaulted and died of suffocation and a broken neck.
All three cases remain unsolved.
- “Waverly Shaken by Death: Victim ‘Quiet but Friendly,’” The Waterloo Daily Courier, Wednesday, June 16, 1971
- “Seek Clues in Slaying Of Girl, 14,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Wednesday, June 16, 1971
- “Officers Continue Probe in Murder,” The Waterloo Daily Courier, Thursday, June 17, 1971
- “No Leads in Slaying,” The Iowa City Press-Citizen, Wednesday, June 23, 1971
- “No Arrests in Girl’s Slaying,” The Des Moines Register, Thursday, July 15, 1971
- “Probe of coeds slaying under way,” The Waterloo Courier, Wednesday, September 8, 1976
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