“Woke up, went downstairs, Mom wasn’t there, bought some bubble gum for school, got off school, and went swimming in the Des Moines River.” All of this is typical in the routine of a 12-year-old. For him, it was a world full of optimism and innocence, full of love for his mother Sarah, his brother Justin (whom he called Alfie), and Alfie’s girlfriend Tina.
That changed when his stepfather picked him up from school and took him to his brother’s home near Drakesville.
“We spend a lot of time doing the paperwork,” Lab Supervisor Paul Bush said.
However, the 52 men and women here do more than that. It’s their job to gather evidence from hundreds of Iowa crimes every year. The lab consists of several areas – guns and ballistics to drug analysis, handwriting, and fingerprints.
The DCI Crime lab is also home to the DNA Crime Lab. It’s that lab that helped John Crutcher and his family find closure after 30 long years.
Council Bluffs — A murder investigation of a “cold case” from 2003 has resulted in an arrest in Council Bluffs.
In July of 2003 32-year-old Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez of Omaha was stabbed to death outside a residence at 1613 South Street in Council Bluffs.
In late September of 2013, the Council Bluffs Police Department was notified by the Iowa DCI lab that previously unknown DNA profile had been positively identified as 47-year-old Thomas J. Sanchez of LaVista, Nebraska. With that development, the case was reopened, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Council Bluffs Police located Sanchez and he was arrested for murder 1.
Sanchez is being held in the Pottwawattamie County Jail on one million dollars bond. The investigation is ongoing.
Jury begins deliberations in 1974 Iowa murder case | The Des Moines Register | desmoinesregister.com January 24, 2014
OTTUMWA, IA. — Despite a lack of direct evidence connecting Robert “Gene” Pilcher to the killing of a 17-year-old waitress at his cousin’s Iowa farmhouse, investigators immediately suspected him in the 1974 death, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday at his murder trial.
Three days before Mary Jayne Jones’ beaten, bullet-ridden body was found in the bedroom of the farmhouse near Ottumwa, another woman told police that the married exterminator had handcuffed her in the same room and forced her to perform oral sex, assistant state attorney general Denise Timmins said in closing arguments.
Pilcher was convicted of sodomy and perjury in that case. But he wasn’t charged in Jones’ death until two years ago, when cold case investigators matched his DNA to semen stains on the blanket beneath Jones’ body.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – An arrest has been made in the 1998 murder of Erika Case. Case was found dead in a West Terre Haute home in 1998. Benton County, Iowa Sheriff Randy Forsyth confirmed to an Iowa television station that his office has been working on the cold case.
Clinton Mackey has been arrested. He waived extradition to Vigo County from Benton County to face murder charges. He is now in the Vigo county jail.
News 10 will be at a press conference Friday morning with Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing where he’s expected to provide more details on this arrest.
Prosecutor: Find Iowa man guilty in 1974 slaying – SFGate By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press
Thursday, January 23, 2014
OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — Despite a lack of direct evidence connecting Robert “Gene” Pilcher to the killing of a 17-year-old waitress at his cousin’s Iowa farmhouse, investigators immediately suspected him in the 1974 death, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday at his murder trial.
Three days before Mary Jayne Jones‘ beaten, bullet-ridden body was found in the bedroom of the farmhouse near Ottumwa, another woman told police that the married exterminator had handcuffed her in the same room and forced her to perform oral sex, assistant state attorney general Denise Timmins said in closing arguments.
Pilcher was convicted of sodomy and perjury in that case. But he wasn’t charged in Jones’ death until two years ago, when cold case investigators matched his DNA to semen stains on the blanket beneath Jones’ body, including one that was just underneath her crotch.
Vinton Man Arrested in Indiana Homicide | KCRG-TV9 | Cedar Rapids, IA
January 23, 2014 VINTON, Iowa — A Vinton man is charged with murder today in a 1998 homicide of a 19-year-old West Terre Haute, Ind., woman.
Clinton Mackey, 33, made his initial court appearance this morning after confessing to authorities Tuesday that he killed Erika Case of Terre Haute, on Sept. 6, 1998, according to probable cause affidavit filed in Vigo County Superior Court in West Terre Haute, Ind.
Mackey waived his extradition Thursday in Benton County District Court and being held at the Vigo County Jail in West Terre Haute. No bond was set.
Cedar Rapids Police Continue to Pursue ‘Cold Cases’ | KCRG TV-9 | Cedar Rapids
January 22, 2014 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Police are still searching for clues one year after 90-year-old Matthew Owen was found murdered on Gas Light Court SW in Cedar Rapids — just one of the 20 unsolved murder cases Cedar Rapids police are trying to solve.
The cases span 55 years, but police haven’t given up hope that one day they might get a break and catch the person responsible for any one of the murders.
The police department has two retired officers who volunteer their time on a regular basis to comb through the cold case files, looking for any clue or gap that might lead police to an arrest.
Just last year, Cedar Rapids Police had a break in a 14-year-old murder case. Deshaun Phillips was arrested for killing Judith Weeks in 1999.
After Mary Jayne Jones was found murdered in 1974 in a Wapello County farmhouse, police interviewed potential suspects as well as people who could corroborate the statements of those suspects. Some of those subjects have moved; others have died.
Most of the interviews were conducted with retired DCI Special Agent Tim McDonald, who went on to become an assistant director of DCI. In 1974, he was a field agent assigned to assist in the murder investigation. Lead Prosecutor Denise Timmins asked McDonald to read the reports he made.
Carl “Ken” Gallmeyer, 70, was found dead Oct. 4, 2012, in his home in rural Chickasaw County after a friend noticed mail piling up. Authorities later disclosed they were investigating Gallmeyer’s death as a homicide, but they have declined to release details.
More than a year has gone by without an arrest in the slaying.
Now, court records point to the involvement of Randy Patrie, a 41-year-old Charles City resident with a history of break-ins and weapons violations, as a likely suspect in the unsolved murder.
Prosecutor says DNA found on blanket is key to trial in teen’s 1974 Iowa farmhouse murder | WSAW-TV Channel 7 January 15, 2014 OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) — Decades after a teenage girl was beaten and shot to death in a rural Iowa farmhouse, DNA testing on a blanket provided the evidence that investigators needed to finally charge a man who had been the prime suspect all along, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins laid out the prosecution’s first-degree murder case against Robert “Gene” Pilcher in the April 9, 1974, slaying of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones outside of Ottumwa.
Sheriff Todd Miller called Patrie — a 41-year-old convicted burglar awaiting sentencing on federal gun charges — a “viable suspect” in the death of Carl “Ken” Gallmeyer, 70.
The announcement came Wednesday, hours after The Courier reported federal prosecutors suspected Patrie in an unsolved 2012 death that was likely Gallmeyer’s murder.
Patrie hasn’t been charged in Gallmeyer’s death, but Miller said his office and other agencies — including the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Iowa, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Charles City Police and Floyd County Sheriff’s Office — continue to investigate the crime.
That was in 1974. Year after year, the slaying went unsolved as Cabanillas grew up and became mother to her own daughter, who was named after her dead sibling. But she worked tirelessly to keep the case from fading away.
Now, almost four decades after that call, her quest could be near an end as authorities put a suspect on trial Tuesday in the death of Mary Jayne Jones, a carefree 17-year-old with beautiful brown eyes who worked at a drive-in restaurant.
WAPELLO COUNTY, IOWA — Yet another cold case from Wapello County is solved thanks to DNA evidence. It was just over a year ago that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced the arrest of Robert Pilcher in the 1974 homicide of Mary Jayne Jones. Pilcher is scheduled to stand trial for that murder on Tuesday.
Now, a triple homicide, this one 30 years old, has been resolved.
The bodies of Sara Link, Justin Hook and Tina Lade were found within days of each other in April 1984. Special Agent Mike Motsinger said the DCI contacted the Davis and Wapello County Sheriff’s Offices in August 2011 to see if they had any testable DNA evidence. The evidence was resubmitted and processed, and in March 2012, DNA from the inside of Lade’s jeans was identified as a match to Andrew Six.
A Coralville woman who lost her mother and brother in a triple homicide nearly 30 years ago expects to finally get closure Friday.
Authorities say they’ve solved a 1984 triple homicide case that seemingly had gone cold and plan to announce the “resolution” at a news conference at 2 p.m., Friday at the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office in Ottumwa.
While authorities aren’t identifying the case by name, the only case that matches the description is the murders of Justin Alfred Hook, Jr., 20, Sarah Lee Link, 41, and Tina Marie Lade, 19, in far southeastern Iowa in April 1984.
A couple months later the body of Wanda Morrow was found in Arizona. Someone had stabbed her in the back. Her body turned up two days before she would have turned 15. Morrow’s case has been unsolved for more than 35 years.
For now the girl’s family is trying to reopen the case with hopes that someone who knows something will come forward. The Morrow family lives in Cedar Rapids to this day.
John Richard Bloomfield entered the plea in writing Thursday. The filing waived his right to an in-person arraignment hearing, which had been scheduled for Friday.
Authorities arrested Bloomfield in November at his home in St. Paul, Minn. after conducting additional DNA testing in the unsolved murder of 57-year-old Frances Bloomfield, whose body was found in a ditch outside Rockford, Ill., in September 1997.
Within a farmhouse on the hill, someone killed Novak, 24, in a most brutal and deliberate fashion, using multiple weapons. Novak’s body was found in an unheated room of his house, his hands tied behind his back.
Novak was the youngest of seven children. One of his older sisters, Mary Whitehead of Center Point, heard the news from another sibling on December 24, 1983.
“It pretty much took Christmas away,” said Whitehead.
There are hundreds of cold cases in the state of Iowa, with 28 in Black Hawk County alone.
One of the oldest unsolved mysteries is that of a Waterloo case from 1908. Others are fresh in the mind, happening just in the last year.
Division of Criminal Investigation agents said two main challenges they face in solving cold cases are time and resources.
“I have three cold cases that I currently have assigned to me, but all from the 1970s,” said agent Jack Liao. “With that, we have to be able to work those cases in conjunction with the current cases that we pull on a weekly basis.”
On February 24, 1998, Crystal Hunt, 21, of Corydon, IA., was reported missing. About a year later, eight of Crystal’s relatives came to the Ottumwa Courier (where I worked as a reporter) and asked me to write an article in hopes to jar law enforcement from their chairs.
Some relatives were from Ottumwa and the surrounding region and others from Centerville and the Corydon area. They said Crystal was last seen leaving her parent’s home in Centerville with her boyfriend. Crystal’s boyfriend told authorities that the couple argued and she got out of the vehicle and went her own way. She was 22 years-old and seven months pregnant.
On Tuesday, that police work led him to the apartment door of Bloomfield’s husband in St. Paul, Minn., and an arrest in a case that has remained unsolved since she was found dead in 1997.
Gonzalez, who was back in his office Wednesday after assisting in the arrest of 73-year-old John Richard Bloomfield in Minnesota, said he was unable to talk about the specifics of the case because the investigation is ongoing. But he said when it comes to cold cases, police owe it to the victims and their families to keep asking questions.
“It’s just scary to think that a monster came into our town and plucked two little girls,” said Sarah Staebill, a family friend.
Last December, hunters found the bodies of Elizabeth Collins, 8, and her cousin, Lyric Cook, 10, in a wooded area outside Waterloo.
A year later, no one has been arrested in connection with their deaths.
DCI Assistant Director Gerard Meyers said the case is still a priority, but he was reluctant to talk about specifics in the investigation.
However, Meyers did confirm that the DCI has not yet ruled out a connection with Michael Klunder, a convicted sex offender who killed himself after kidnapping and killing Kathryn Shepard last summer in Dayton.
On Tuesday, investigators charged her husband, now 73 and living in St. Paul, Minn., with her murder. Iowa City Police say a DNA match and hair samples helped authorities link the cold case death of 57-year-old Frances Bloomfield to her husband, John Richard Bloomfield, who has been charged with first-degree murder.
According to a press release from the Iowa City Police Department, 73-year-old John Richard Bloomfield was arrested at his St. Paul home Tuesday for the murder of his wife, Frances Bloomfield. He is in custody in Minnesota awaiting extradition to Iowa City.
Evansdale girl’s mother facing drug charges | Local News – KCCI Home
November 26, 2013 WEST UNION, Iowa —Authorities said the mother of one of the girls found dead in the Evansdale disappearance is now facing drug charges. Misty Morrissey, 36, was arrested and charged Monday afternoon after officers executed a search warrant at 100 East Franklin Street in West Union about 3 p.m.
Authorities said an investigation uncovered a methamphetamine and marijuana operation in the home where Morrissey and Henriksen were arrested. Deputies said they recovered $700 in cash, drugs, digital scales, packaging and evidence showing the distribution of controlled substances.
Morrissey also told the court that her co-defendant, Todd Henriksen, was not involved in the drug allegations saying he was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morrissey, 36, faces two counts of delivery of crystal meth, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, ongoing criminal conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.
15 years later murder in Kensett, Iowa remains unsolved | Austin (MN) Daily Herald November 10, 2013
KENSETT, Iowa — To her neighbors and church community, 81-year-old Mildred Clemenson was a kind-hearted woman. Described as a “good old Norwegian,” Clemenson was a regular attendee at Elk Creek Lutheran Church and liked to offer cookies and coffee when people were at her house, said her former neighbor Julie Gore.
To many, she was known simply as Millie.
When authorities taped off Clemenson’s 80-acre property about seven miles west of Kensett on Nov. 11, 1998, and news spread that she had been killed, Gore said the small community of Kensett couldn’t believe it.
“We were shocked and devastated when we heard what had happened,” Gore said.
According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Clemenson was last seen on Nov. 9, but was found two days later by her adopted daughter, Marcia Patton.
UNION COUNTY, S.D. | The question pops quickly to mind, it’s so obvious.
It’s been asked many, many times since Sept. 23, when a passerby noticed a 1960 Studebaker — last seen on May 29, 1971, with Pamella Jackson and Cheryl Miller inside — poking out of Brule Creek.
It’s believed the two 17-year-old Vermillion High School students were heading to a party at a gravel pit in rural Union County. They never arrived and haven’t been seen since.
When the car was pulled from the mud and water, two sets of remains were found inside. Those bones have been sent to a Texas lab for DNA testing to determine if they are those of either or both of the missing girls.
IC History: Reexamining the cold case files | Little Village| Oct. 25, 2013
Though Iowa City has never experienced a debacle on the scale of the Villisca axe murder, or crime rates like those seen in big cities, it has had its share of unsolved murders and missing persons. In late 2009, a state cold case unit was established and nearly 150 cases were listed on their website in the hopes of solving them using the latest advancements in DNA technology. The cold case unit closed in December 2011 due to lack of funding, but the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) continues to pursue some cold cases on which they have made progress.
Arrest Made in 1994 Murder Case | KUTV.com | Oct. 24, 2013 Henrico County (WTVR) — Henrico County cold case investigators have made an arrest in a 1994 murder case that has seen a number of suspects and a false confession over the past 19 years.
Lonnie R. Wiseman, a 45-year-old career criminal and escapee already serving a long prison sentence in Iowa, was indicted based on old DNA evidence matched with backtracking previous interviews and other evidence.
“Several Henrico Detectives, including some that have retired, a Henrico AFIS (forensics) Examiner, and law enforcement officials from Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Idaho, and Iowa assisted in the development of Mr. Wiseman as a suspect,” Henrico Police wrote in a media advisory. “Their research, as well as DNA collected as a result of the investigation, led to charges being placed. The relationship between the suspect and victim is still under investigation.”
Authorities are increasing the reward for information about an April murder outside a Des Moines area strip club.
Polk County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $4,000 for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect in the slaying of Reginald Bryan Jr.
Bryan Jr. was shot and killed in the early morning hours of April 28 as several hundred people gathered outside Big Earl’s Gold Mine, a club just north of city limits on N.W. Second Avenue. Another man was shot in the leg and injured.
The trial for a man charged with killing his wife in their Boone home last year will happen in Buchanan County, a judge ruled last week.
Alexander Fazzino, 39, was charged in April with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Emily Fazzino. Police found Emily Fazzino dead on the bathroom floor of the couple’s home in January 2012.
NEW HAMPTON | A year has passed since someone apparently killed Carl “Kenny” Gallmeyer, and authorities are using the occasion to appeal for new information.
“As we (pass) this one-year anniversary of the death of Kenny Gallmeyer, we wish to thank the public for their assistance in this criminal matter and to thank the Gallmeyer family for their continued support and cooperation through these difficult times,” Chickasaw County Sheriff Todd Miller said in a prepared statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers have been with the family from the beginning of this tragic event,” Miller added.
(CNN) – They were 17-year-old high school students driving to a party at a gravel pit. Perhaps they took a wrong turn; perhaps there was foul play. For 42 years, authorities have had no idea how Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson disappeared.
Now there may finally be answers.
A car that appears to be theirs was spotted in a creek just half a mile from the girls’ intended destination near Beresford, South Dakota, reported CNN affiliate KTIV-TV in Sioux City, Iowa. The license plate and hubcap match those of the car they were in when they vanished in 1971.
A mystery more than two years old was solved, up to a point, Friday when the Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued a press release stating that two bags of bones located inside an old warehouse in Dow City are of no criminal investigative significance.
The bones were found in the warehouse on May 16, 2011. Law enforcement authorities were called to examine the bones and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). The DCI also solicited the assistance of the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s (SME) Office for help in examination of the bones, the DPS release said.
The bones were examined in Ankeny at the SME’s lab and further sent to out-of-state forensic archeologists.
WATERLOO — The Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers recently received a grant from Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa that will allow citizens to offer tips to crimes or criminals through TipSoft.
People may now anonymously submit tips through Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Facebook page or website, www.cvcrimestop.com. On Facebook click on the “Submit a Tip” link under the banner. On the website, click on the links at the top of the page.
In addition, Crime Stoppers can now accept tips through text messages. Type the word CEDAR plus your tip and send it to CRIMES (274637). Example tip: CEDAR Jon Smith is staying at 105 Main St.
Deshaun Lamont Phillips, 34, of Lakeville, Minn., was already in jail in Minnesota’s Scott County on a domestic assault charge when the charge in the killing of Judith Weeks was filed Friday.
Weeks’ partially clothed body was found April 5, 1999, beneath a fire escape in the backyard of a vacant apartment in Cedar Rapids. An autopsy concluded the 44-year-old Cedar Rapids woman had been struck in the forehead by a sharp object.
Daughter Speaks Out About Cold Case Arrest – KGAN-TV CBS 2 Iowa – Top Stories | August 19, 2013 CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) — Monday night is just the start of closure for Kristen Joe Twilla, the daughter of Judith Weeks, who was murdered in April of 1999. Deshaun Lamonte Phillips, 34, was recently arrested and charged with first degree murder for Weeks’ death. Despite the fact that the case is 14 years old, Twilla said, she never gave up hope that this day would come.
“I can’t say that I thought this day was going to come soon, any time soon, but I said I would find her killer before I died,” Twilla said.
Police hope tips from Gannett Wisconsin Media series on unsolved homicides pay off | Green Bay Press Gazette | greenbaypressgazette.com | Aug. 5, 2013
Capt. David Mack of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department has a message for those who have gotten away with murder in Wisconsin over the years.
“We are still around, and we are still investigating these crimes,” he said. “They won’t be forgotten until they are solved or we exhaust all the resources we have available to us.”
Mack said the daunting effort of cracking unsolved homicides — some of which occurred 50 or more years ago — has been given a boost by a month-long Gannett Wisconsin Media report on cold cases in Wisconsin.
It is regular protocol for state investigators to seek FBI assistance in some cases because the national lab has greater capabilities than those at the state level, said Gerard Meyers assistant director for field operations with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
“It’s predominately evidence that would have DNA relevance,” Meyers said. “We’ve been working for the last week or so to determine what evidence would meet the necessary submission for the FBI crime lab.”
Trial set in 1974 murder case
June 17, 2013 | The Ottumwa Courier OTTUMWA — The man accused of murdering a 17-year-old Ottumwa girl 39 years ago will stand trial this fall.
Robert Eugene Pilcher, 67, was charged with first-degree murder in November after DNA evidence linked him to the death of Mary Jayne Jones, 17, who was sexually assaulted and shot to death in a farmhouse west of Ottumwa on April 9, 1974.
At his pretrial conference Monday, Pilcher appeared in court to learn that his trial will begin on Oct. 15 at the Wapello County Courthouse. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Years after most had resigned to the fact that the homicide would forever be a cold case, Pilcher was arrested at a hotel in Des Moines after DNA evidence from the murder was linked to his DNA profile in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database in which DNA from all convicted felons in the state is registered.
Sixty-eight percent of Iowa adults believe they were safer from the threat of abduction when they were young than Iowa children are today. Twenty-five percent say children are safer today. Seven percent are not sure.
The poll, conducted June 2-5, was taken at a time when authorities were searching for Kathlynn Shepard, 15, of Dayton, who was abducted with a friend after getting off a school bus. The friend escaped, but Kathlynn’s body was found 18 days later. It also comes less than a year after two young cousins, Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, disappeared while riding bikes in Evansdale. Hunters found their bodies in December.
Andy Cole, 48, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in the death of Alysia Marburger, 27.
Cole was charged last year with first-degree murder in connection with the case. An Alford plea means the defendant agrees that a jury would be likely to convict during a trial, but it is not an admission of guilt.
Marburger was last seen leaving a friend’s apartment with Cole about 2:15 a.m. Oct. 7, 2008.
Pilcher was arrested in November of last year after agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation performed DNA testing on items seized from the rural Wapello County farm house were Jones was found murdered. Pilcher has been held in the Wapello County Jail since his arrest on $1 million bond. If convicted, Pilcher would face a mandatory life sentence.
Nearly two decades since Huisentruit disappeared, investigators are no closer to solving one of the state’s greatest mysteries.
“It’s a cold case because it’s 18 years old,” Lt. Frank Stearns of the Mason City Police Department told FoxNews.com. “But it’s not one of those cases that gets stuffed on the shelf. It gets worked constantly.”
Crime Stoppers reports productive first year
June 11, 2013 | WCF Courier WATERLOO, Iowa — In its first year in operation, Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has helped in the arrest of dozens of people and has pulled in tips about high-profile crimes. It also spawned an effort to track down sex offenders who have slipped through the system and sparked new interest in cold cases.
Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit group that pays rewards to residents for anonymous tips and passes information to law enforcement, got its start in Black Hawk County last June.
According to numbers released last week, tips to the Crime Stoppers hotline brought 60 arrests, and the residents who called made a combined $7,500 in rewards. Brice Lippert, an investigator with the Waterloo Police Department, said there are several more arrests from Crimes Stoppers tips in the pipeline.
Saturday’s ride started at 11 a.m. at Meyers Lake in Evansdale where cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were last seen riding their bikes in July. Their bodies were found in Bremer County in December. Elizabeth Collins’ parents, Drew and Heather Collins, thanked the riders for giving to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“It’s a very good organization that you’re helping, so your money will go to something very good and positive,” said Drew.
Those who couldn’t make the ride can still donate to the cause by emailing Jim Will at email@example.com.
Officials to compare abduction to unsolved Iowa cases
June 10, 2013 | USA Today DES MOINES — State investigators in coming months will conduct a painstaking examination of potential similarities between the kidnapping and murder of a Dayton teenager and missing person cases in Iowa, a state official said Monday.
Potential connections are already being analyzed between Kathlynn Shepard’s murder and the slayings of two eastern Iowa cousins.
Saturday’s ride started at 11:00 a.m. at Meyers Lake in Evansdale where cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were last seen riding their bikes in July. Their bodies were found in Bremer County in December.
Before the ride, about 60 riders held a moment of silence for Kathlynn Shepard of Dayton, Iowa.
Jensen grew up in Ames, and said she moved to a small town for the protections that she expected would have kept a girl like Kathlynn safe.
“It’s not supposed to happen in a small town,” she said. “It’s definitely changed our outlook.”
Jensen, a mother of three young girls, was in Dayton Saturday for her well-driller grandfather’s estate auction. She said the shock of such a crime occurring in a small town like her own has caused her to reevaluate how she talks to her children about safety.
For one Floyd County Deputy, it’s a feeling of loss that he says no one should ever have to experience.
“It was a lot of grief. I would say maybe 10 percent relief and overwhelmingly 90 percent, it was horrible,” said Deputy Brian Tiedemann of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department on the discovery of Evelyn’s body.
Back in 2005, Deputy Tiedemann led the search for Evelyn which ended up being one of the largest missing person’s cases in state history with multiple agencies helping out and more than 1,000 volunteers.
MISSING KATHLYNN: News Conference Scheduled
June 7, 2013 | WHO-TV Channel 13
A news conference is scheduled for late Friday night in Boone. Authorities told Channel 13 the announcement is related to the search for missing teen Kathlynn Shepard.
Teams were due to search along the Des Moines River this weekend for the missing 15-year old. Kathlynn disappeared May 20th after getting off the school bus. Police say Michael Klunder abducted Kathlynn and another 12-year old girl. Kathlynn has been missing since.
As we first showed you last year, the idea left some skeptical, but fast forward 12 months later and Investigator Brice Lippert says the program has taken off. “Luckily I think the community has accepted us,” Lippert said. “We were able to see success in other parts of the state, and thought if it could work there, it could work here.”
So far, tips to crime stoppers have resulted in 60 arrests, some as far away as Mississippi and Oklahoma. They’ve also paid out $7,500 dollars in reward money. For Willie Lumpkin, the impact goes beyond the numbers. Back in 1989, his brother Jo Jo Zolliecoffer disappeared.
Kathlynn Shepard update: Is case going cold?
May 27, 2013 | Examiner.com
Missing Iowa girl Kathlynn Shepard remains missing, and it doesn’t look like positive news is in the near future for this case. On May 27, 2013 NBC News 13 out of Des Moines shared that there are no new leads in the investigation — which is very bad news considering this case is less than a month old. So do the lack of leads mean that this case is already going cold?
The Des Moines River was reportedly “scanned” on Sunday by officials, but other searches for the girl were hindered by rainy weather. As of Monday there doesn’t appear to be any changes, but officials plan on meeting on Tuesday to discuss where to go next in the case. With there being no leads in this investigation, however, it’s anybody’s guess as to how successful the search will ultimately be.
On March 19, 1976, McCullough, who was 28 at the time, was taken into custody for questioning for murder after the body of his 20-year-old girlfriend, Donna Smith, was found.
Search continues for missing Iowa girl, 15
May 24, 2013 | Sioux City Journal DAYTON, Iowa | Law enforcement officials and volunteers are continuing to search for a 15-year-old central Iowa girl who was kidnapped, even though the chances of finding her alive have diminished.
Division of Criminal Investigation agent Bill Kietzman said 10-member teams will search Friday in an expanded area of central Iowa for Kathlynn Shepard.
Police say 42-year-old Michael Klunder convinced Kathlynn and a 12-year-old friend to get into his truck while they were walking home from school in Dayton, Iowa.
Kino Keocil Davis, 39, was convicted of first-degree murder this afternoon following a two-week trial connected with the beating and strangling death of 52-year-old Kathryn Mitchell in a Des Moines apartment in 2011.
Authorities said Michael J. Klunder, 42, the suspect in Monday’s abduction of Kathlynn Shepard, 15, and another girl in Webster County, was found dead of self-inflicted wounds Monday night at a rural property northeast of Dayton.
Branstad signs expanded DNA samples law
May 15, 2013 | KCCI Des Moines DES MOINES, Iowa —Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law Wednesday that expands a requirement that people convicted of certain crimes submit DNA samples. The bill signing was held Wednesday afternoon at the Statehouse.
The measure requires adults convicted of crimes like aggravated misdemeanor assault and theft to submit DNA samples to the federal DNA database. The old law only required convicted felons and sexual offenders to submit samples.
The Senate changed the bill to exempt deferred judgment cases and misdemeanors related to hazardous waste, agricultural production and gambling. Traffic offenses are also exempt unless a person has three operating while intoxicated convictions in 12 years.
Knox County Cold Case Heats Up
May 13, 2013 | KWQC Channel 6
The Knox County Sheriff’s Department has established an updated facial approximation for “Jane Doe” — an unidentified woman whose body was found in the East Galesburg brickyard back in 1996. The department is also asking for help from the public in locating a woman who went missing around the time Jane Doe’s body was found.
Helen “Ruth” Alps went missing from Knox County in the late 1980s or 1990. Alp’s family members are telling police that Alps may be the “Jane Doe” they’ve been looking for. ”We’re in the process of getting a DNA standard from a daughter to have it compared to the remains,” said Sgt. Jason Landers, Knox County.
This year 5th graders from across Iowa participated in the National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, showing their compassion for our country’s lost and missing youth, through art. Today the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation will honor those youth who excelled in visually depicting the harsh realities of child abduction, as well as their eternal hope for a safe return of missing kids everywhere.
A SENTENCE NOT SERVED: Iowa prison inmates often get out early
May 11, 2013 | The Sioux City Journal SIOUX CITY | It’s been 17 years since Beth Williams became familiar with Iowa’s sentencing laws. After all that time, she still wonders why Iowa’s criminal statutes call for prison sentences of various lengths, only to have many offenders released after serving far less than half of their sentence.
“I don’t understand this cutting sentences down. If you say 50 (years), do 50. Don’t give the family of the victim hope,” said Williams, who in 1995 watched Brian Davis get sentenced to 50 years for the 1992 murder of Williams’ sister, Julie Baack, of Le Mars, Iowa.
Davis was paroled earlier this year after serving 17 years in prison, less than the 22-plus years he would have been required to serve under Iowa’s earned-time statute.
A behind the scenes look into the DMPD evidence room
May 10, 2013 | The Des Moines Register
Tucked away in a box in the Des Moines Police Department’s evidence room is a manila envelope containing a lighter, a pocketbook, four 25-cent taxi tickets for Ruan Cab and $6.91.
Detectives took the items out of the pockets of Leon Groves, whose body was found on the floor of his taxicab on Dec. 22, 1951. The 40-year-old had been shot three times.
The items are among the only remnants left from the murder investigation, Des Moines’ oldest cold case. And they are among the hundreds of thousands of pieces of evidence that fill countless boxes and envelopes in multiple property rooms at the police station and in storage rooms around the city.
May 9, 2013 | KTVOtv Channel 3, Heartland Connection OTTUMWA, IOWA – In 1974, a 17-year-old girl was found dead in a farmhouse in Wapello County. And for nearly four decades, the mystery of what happened in that farmhouse remained unsolved.
But that all changed in November 2012, when the case of Mary Jayne Jones went from cold to very hot. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of Robert Pilcher, who was charged with Jones’ murder after DNA testing on re-submitted evidence finally yielded results.
Missing Girls Found in Ohio Renew Hope for Dubuque Family
May 7, 2013 | KCRG Channel 9 DUBUQUE, Iowa – Jennifer Puetsch of Dubuque is feeling a renewed sense of hope. Her sister, Crystal Arensdorf has been missing for almost 12 years. Arensdorf was last seen July 3rd, 2001 at Knicker’s Saloon. Witnesses say she was asking for a ride to East Dubuque. Puetsch says the fact that the Ohio girls were found so close to home raises a lot of emotions for her family.
Puetsch said, “when I think about that I just want to go start pounding on doors and breaking doors in. You can’t do that, because not everybody is like that. But it does give you hope that what if she is just across the street.” Puetsch says she’s happy for the Ohio families, but wonders when it will her family’s turn to learn what happened to Crystal.
Cleveland Rescue Gives Hope to Family of Missing Iowans
May 7, 2013 | KCRG TV-9 Cedar Rapids LINN COUNTY, Iowa – The discovery of three missing women in Cleveland, Ohio Monday is bringing fresh attention to Iowa’s missing person’s cases. Relatives are imagining happy outcomes in missing cases here.
Erin Pospisil of Cedar Rapids who was 15 when she disappeared in June 2001. Twelve years later, her grandparents still hope Erin will be found alive. On Tuesday, they handed out more than a hundred of these missing person cards, hoping someone will remember something that will bring Erin home.
“Erin could be right here in Cedar Rapids and anything you noticed that seems out of place in the neighborhood that could be someone needing your help and that could be Erin this time,” said Joan Minney, Posposil’s grandmother.
Jennifer Puetsch of Dubuque is also feeling a renewed sense of hope. Her sister, Crystal Arensdorf has been missing for almost 12 years. She was last seen July 3rd, 2001 at Knicker’s Saloon in Dubuque. Puetsch is feeling many different emotions, especially since the Ohio girls were found so close to home.
Family Continues Search for Missing Cedar Rapids Woman
May 7, 2013 | KCRG TV-9 Cedar Rapids CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Hearing about the discovery of three missing women in Cleveland renewed hope for families across the nation who are waiting for their loved ones to return home.
One family in Cedar Rapids keeps holding out hope for the return of Erin Pospisil, who was last seen back in June 2001. Her family created the website called HelpFindAChild.org, they keep updating this site hoping one day she’ll come home.
Just ask Joan and Doug Minney about their granddaughter, Erin.
“She’s very social. Her friends were very important to her. She had an easy smile,” said grandmother Joan Minney. A smile, forever etched in their minds. The last smile they saw on Erin Pospisil back in June 2001.
Knox County Cold Case Heats Up
May 6, 2013 | KWQC-TV Channel 6
The Knox County Sheriff’s Department has established an updated facial approximation for “Jane Doe” — an unidentified woman whose body was found in the East Galesburg brickyard back in 1996.
The department is also asking for help from the public in locating a woman who went missing around the time Jane Doe’s body was found.
Helen “Ruth” Alps went missing from Knox County in the late 1980s or 1990. Alp’s family members are telling police that Alps may be the “Jane Doe” they’ve been looking for.
Funeral held for 1 of 2 slain Iowa cousins
May 4, 2013 | WCF Courier
A wooden casket carrying one of two slain Iowa cousins was laid inside a pink burial vault as nearly 200 people gathered Saturday to pay their respects to the girl.
Pink and purple balloons were released into the air during the service for Elizabeth Collins at Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery.
Elizabeth’s mother, Heather Collins, told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that the service offered closure for her daughter’s three siblings.
“I think this is important for them, this is more for closure for them,” she said after the service. “For us, I don’t think there will be closure until the person is found, really.”
Elizabeth and her cousin, Lyric Cook, went missing in July after riding their bikes by Meyers Lake in Evansdale. Elizabeth was 8 and Lyric was 10 at the time, and a massive search began to try to locate the girls. Hunters found their bodies in December.
A private funeral service for Lyric was held last month.
8 years ago on Friday, a 4-year-old Clinton Iowa boy died in a hit and run, and his killer has never been tracked down. The family looks back on that tragic afternoon, when Josh Yoder was run down in broad daylight.
The Yoder’s moved to Ames Iowa shortly after Josh’s life was cut way too short, but his family said they feel privileged to at least have spent those years together. Josh Yoder, 4, was the youngest of 13 siblings. His zest for life is something his big sister Lydia Yoder remembers most about him.
“He was this skinny little kid who loved to run,” said Lydia.
No children were harmed and no criminal charges were ever filed. But the fear last year prompted police, community groups and educators across the region to take a fresh look at what’s being done to keep kids safe.
Sioux County Sheriff Sgt. Nate Huizenga said people took more notice of child abduction threats.
“You live in rural Iowa, in Northwest Iowa, you take for granted that nothing like that could ever happen here, but it could — and it may,” he said.
Unsolved Murders Rattle Metro
May 2, 2013 | ABC News WOI Channel 5
Two separate Des Moines murders are unsolved and another open case is being investigated as a homicide. They all happened in the last few weeks.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t deal with unsolved homicides very often. ”It’s been several years since our last one, so this is something out of the ordinary,” said Sgt. Jana Abens of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The shooting that killed one man and injured another outside of Big Earl’s Gold Mine early Sunday morning came as a surprise.
“No suspects right now, we have talked to several witnesses though,” said Abens. “We’re asking that anybody with information, even if it seems like a small amount of information, to contact Crime Stoppers.” Des Moines police are dealing with similar frustrations in the case of a man who was shot and killed outside of Oakridge Apartments on April 15. They’re also investigating a man found dead in the Riverbend neighborhood last Thursday.
Moline Police Digging For Clues In 1990 Disappearance
April 25, 2013 | KWQC
The Jerry A. Wolking case has been cold since November 1990. The 52-year old disappeared without a trace 23 years ago. His car was found at the Quad City Airport and foul play has always been suspected. Recently, there’s been new interest in the case with detectives taking a look at the Wolking disappearance.
Investigators have turned their attention to a rural Milan site. Police have asked us not to disclose the exact location, but the site was owned by the family of a person of interest in the case. Cadaver dogs were brought to the location and there was enough of a reaction to start digging.
Progress continues on memorial for cousins
April 23, 2013 | KCCI Channel 8 EVANSDALE, Iowa —Work continues at a memorial for two Iowa cousins who disappeared last summer. Volunteers behind the memorial for Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins say work has begun on an island at Meyers Lake in Evansdale. Workers have removed trunks, stumps and roots. They also have filled ruts and ravines and removed silt from the lake.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports volunteers on Monday updated the Evansdale Park & Recreation board about the activities. Work will soon begin on preventing erosion along the base of the island.
Boone Man Arrested, Charged with Murder
April 8, 2013 | KWBG, Boone BOONE, Iowa—After a year long investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Boone Police Department, 39-year-old Alexander Joseph Fazzino has been arrested and charged with Murder in the First Degree, a Class A Felony. Fazzino is accused of killing his wife, 32-year-old Emily Beckwith Fazzino. He is being held at Lee’s Summit Police Department Jail in Independence, Missouri on a $1.5 million bond.
On January 29, 2012, the Boone Police Department received a 911 call from Alexander Fazzino, who indicated his wife was attempting to kill herself. Upon arrival at the Fazzino residence at 1210 South View Court in Boone, police located Emily Fazzino in the bathroom – lying on the floor, cold to the touch and unresponsive.
An autopsy conducted by the State Medical Examiner’s Office revealed Emily’s remains had no sign of drug abuse nor a drug overdose. The autopsy also identified several areas of trauma, including the neck and throat, as well as the sides and front of her head. A forensic pathology expert reviewed the autopsy findings and concluded that she died of asphyxia due to neck compressions and/or drowning.
It should be noted a criminal charge is merely an accusation and all suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Central Iowa murder case two years old, no suspects
April 8, 2013 | RadioIowa
Today marks the two year anniversary of one the state’s most highly publicized unsolved murder cases. West Des Moines Police say 27-year-old Ashley Okland, an Iowa Realty agent, was shot twice and died on April 8, 2011 while working at a model townhouse. It’s believed the shooting happened shortly before 2 p.m.
Prosecutor says impostor always ready with lie
April 8, 2013 | ABC News LOS ANGELES (AP) – A notorious Rockefeller impostor was depicted Monday by a prosecutor as a master manipulator who “always had a lie in his back pocket to explain things,” but slipped up and left clues that he was a killer.
“This isn’t a movie, a book, a TV show, a docudrama,” Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian said in his closing argument, referring to the fact that the case has been turned into all of those things over the years. ”This case is about two people who lived and died,” Balian said.
Cold Case arrest prompts cross-country probe
April 7, 2013 | ABC5 News; Omaha.com; KWWL Channel 7 LOS ANGELES (AP) – When Los Angeles cold case detectives caught up with Samuel Little this past fall, he was living in a Christian shelter in Kentucky, his latest arrest a few months earlier for alleged possession of a crack pipe. But the LA investigators wanted him on far more serious charges: The slayings of two women in 1989, both found strangled and nude below the waist – victims of what police concluded had been sexually motivated strangulations.
Public burial set for 1 of 2 slain Iowa cousins Elizabeth Collins
April 2, 2013 | Des Moines Register
EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — A public burial service has been scheduled for one of two slain Iowa cousins. Television station KWWL (http://bit.ly/YQxBfP ) reports the mother of Elizabeth Collins says a service for her daughter will be held May 4 at Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery. She says in an online post that the service will be part of the healing process.
Conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of a simulated methamphetamine, Class C felonies
Ongoing criminal conduct, a Class B felony
Possession of ephedrine, third-offense possession of methamphetamine and third-offense possession of marijuana, Call D felonies.
Man leaves prison after serving 17 years for Iowa murder; must stay with Kansas relatives
March 14, 2013 | The Republic DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa man who served 17 years of a 50-year murder sentence has left prison on parole.
Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta says Brian Davis was released on Wednesday. Under the terms of Davis’ parole, he must stay with relatives in Olathe, Kansas, obey all laws and get a job. His parole will be supervised by Kansas officials.
Davis was convicted of second-degree murder for killing Julie Baack. The 23-year-old Baack disappeared from her Le Mars apartment in 1992. Her remains were found east of Onawa three years later. Davis and Baack were dating at the time of her death. Davis originally was scheduled to be released on parole in 2018, but in January the Iowa Parole Board granted Davis an early release.
The band Saving Abel will headline the event as part of its acoustic tour. Other bands will be Lotus featuring Matt Kettman, Never The Less, and singers from Heartland Vineyard Church, which Elizabeth’s family attends, featuring Lexi Chapman.
Tickets will be $20 in advance or $25 at the door and will be available at all Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Waverly Hy-Vees and the McElroy Auditorium box office. Concert proceeds will go the Angels Memorial at Meyers Lake.
On October 4, 2012, the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office received a request for a welfare check at 1091 240th Street in Nashua, Iowa. Upon arrival at the residence, investigators found the body of Carl “Kenny” Gallmeyer. Gallmeyer had not been heard from for a period of time prior to the discovery of his body.
KWWL reports Morrissey faced 11 charges that dated back to 2011 and Friday he pleaded guilty to all of them. Morrissey’s trial on the charges had been set for later this year in Davenport. The trial was to be held there after a judge granted a change of venue request.
After several parole violations, including failed drug tests, Morrissey was arrested again in February.
Residents had reported the incident as a possible scam. Smock, however, said the issue had been discussed with the teen and his mother and the matter was taken care of.
“It got overblown,” he said.
Quad City Cold Case Solved
February 21, 2013 | KLJB-TV Channel 18
A murder case dating back a quarter of a century in Moline has been solved. Police got a confession from Paul Anderson, already in prison for killing one man. In 1988 Laura Brown was found stabbed to death in her Moline home. The day before, her husband had been shot in a Bettendorf park. Anderson was convicted in that murder but Laura Brown’s went unsolved. That is, until just this week when Moline detectives got Anderson to confess from the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.
Casey Frederiksen is charged with murder and sexual abuse in the 2005 death of five-year-old Evelyn Miller, of Floyd. Today in court, his attorney argued that pre-trial publicity, including media coverage, is impacting Frederiksen’s ability to receive a fair trial.
KIMT-TV in Mason City reported that the judge ruled in favor of the motion to change the venue. It will now take place in Webster City. The trial is scheduled to begin October 28.
CRPD Chief Opens Up On Recent Open Homicide Cases
February 14, 2013 | KCRG TV-9 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The work of a police investigative unit can be a never ending vacuum of work. Solve one major case and there is almost always an older and more difficult puzzle to piece together. While Cedar Rapids is generally regarded as a safe city, quite a few of the homicide cases since 2000 are still unresolved.
Extensive research through KCRG-TV9/Gazette reveals a total of 36 homicide victims in Cedar Rapids since 2000. Out of that, 12 of the victims are in homicide cases without a resolution and without a conviction for those responsible.
Iowa senator pushes death penalty bill
January 25, 2013 | The Sioux City Journal DES MOINES | A state senator will push for public hearings on the death penalty in the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives as he files legislation to bring capital punishment back to Iowa.
Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Milo, has championed the idea of reintroducing the death penalty in Iowa since the abduction and killing of Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10, last summer in Evansdale.
Elizabeth’s parents joined Sorenson and parents of other missing and murdered children at a Capitol news conference, where the senator outlined five pieces of legislation he plans to introduce this session. Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965.
The one-hour episode of the show “Disappeared” is scheduled to air Monday on the Investigation Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. Crews were in Iowa and Huisentruit’s native Minnesota filming for the show last summer.
EARLY, Iowa — The hot beef sandwiches at the Crossroads Restaurant and Lounge in Early tend to draw a crowd over the noon hour, when many other businesses in this tiny city of 552 shut down.
For Marjorie Madsen, now 82 and living in Omaha, the quiet, close-knit community tucked away in rural Sac County was a nice place to grow up. Certainly not the kind of place that expects to be thrust into the spotlight by two spectacular crimes.
But these days, residents are reeling from the aftershocks of a bizarre murder that went unsolved for nearly a decade and, just this month, the brutal killing of a woman whose son is accused of stabbing and choking her to death and hours later kidnapping a young woman he intended to rape.
“I can’t imagine all these things happening in Early,” said Madsen, who joined her sister-in-law and niece for lunch Tuesday at the Crossroads. “That’s not the way the town should be or ever was.”
High-profile cases dotted 2012: Statewide crime numbers not significantly different last year despite several incidents in spotlight
January 6, 2013 | Des Moines Register
Crime in Des Moines and across Iowa in 2012 was defined less by startling numbers than startling incidents — double homicides, alleged murders of family members and, on a positive note, resolutions to decades-old cold cases.
May brought two double homicides in one week and November saw two unrelated homicides in one day. But May was also when a man walked into the Waterloo police station and confessed to a 1981 double murder, and in November authorities made an arrest in a 1974 cold case murder in Ottumwa.
However, the trial for Casey Frederiksen, 33, who is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse, could be moved to another county.
Representatives from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office this week filed a response in Floyd County District Court to a defense motion for a change of venue due to the extensive publicity surrounding the case.
In addition, authorities do not have immediate plans to release other information related to the cousins’ deaths.
The bodies of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins were found by hunters on Dec. 5 in a secluded part of a Bremer County wildlife area. The cousins disappeared from Evansdale, about 25 miles south of the park, on July 13.