Cold Cases in the News
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December 18, 2014 | RadioIowa.com
The kidnapping and murder of a Grinnell College student 22 years ago remains an unsolved case and a new group aims to refocus attention on the crime. The Task Force for Tammy, directed by two Grinnell College graduates who were friends of the victim, wants to jump-start the investigation.
Grinnell senior Tammy Zywicki was on her way to Grinnell in 1992 when her car broke down along Interstate 80 in Illinois. Nine days later her body was found about 500 miles away in a ditch alongside Interstate 44 near Springfield, Missouri. An on-line campaign has been launched at www.change.org in hopes of re-starting the investigation into the crime.
December 16, 2014 | CBS2/FOX28
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – It’s the cold case murder that’s haunted Cedar Rapids for 35 years. This week in 1979 someone killed Michelle Martinko at Westdale Mall. An exclusive interview with Janelle (Martinko) and John Stonebraker.
December 10, 2014 | omaha.com
A new trial date has been set in the case of John David Green, accused of killing longtime friend Mark Koster and leaving the body in a basement where it wasn’t found for three years.
The new trial is set to begin March 30, 2015. Green is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Koster of Sac City, Iowa.
The new trial date was scheduled after District Court Judge Gary McMinimee declared a mistrial on Tuesday. A trial began Monday with jury selection but ended Tuesday after a defense attorney objected to a statement made by Sac City Police Chief John Thomsen.
December 10, 2014 | The Iowa City Press-Citizen
Prosecutors have formally closed the case against John Bloomfield, the husband accused of murdering his wife in Iowa City in the 1990s, after his recent death while he awaited trial.
Prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case last week because of Bloomfield’s death in November, and the court officially issued the dismissal order Friday.
This closes the latest and perhaps final chapter on the vexing cold case that grew hot again this past year when police, using new DNA evidence, arrested Bloomfield in December 2013 at his St. Paul, Minn., home. Bloomfield died in November of cardiac arrest after checking himself into a Minneapolis hospital, according to his lawyer. Full story here.
December 9, 2014 | omaha.com
UPDATE: A mistrial was declared early Tuesday afternoon in the trial of John David Green. District Court Judge Gary McMinimee declared the mistrial because of testimony from Sac City Police Chief John Thomsen on Tuesday morning.
In describing an investigative technique, Thomsen referred to “bad people.” The defense argued the comment was in reference to Green, but the prosecution contended it was a general statement.
Green is accused of killing Mark Koster in June 2009.
A new trial will be scheduled in the case. Full story.
December 9, 2014 | twincities.com
Prosecutors have formally closed the case against John Bloomfield, the St. Paul man accused of murdering his wife [Frances Bloomfield] in Iowa City in the 1990s, following his recent death as he awaited trial.
Prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case last week because of John Bloomfield’s death in November; the court officially issued the dismissal order Friday.
This closes the latest and perhaps final chapter on the vexing cold case that grew hot again this past after year when police, using new DNA evidence, arrested Bloomfield last December at his St. Paul home. Bloomfield died in November of cardiac arrest after checking himself into a Minneapolis hospital, according to his lawyer.
Bloomfield, who has maintained his innocence the past 17 years, had been released by a judge this year to his home in St. Paul while awaiting trial because of his declining health. The trial for the 74-year-old was scheduled to begin in January.
Prosecutors also agreed last week to return property seized from Bloomfield during the investigation. According to court documents, investigators in 2011 had seized numerous items from Bloomfield’s residence, including 13 journals, 21 envelopes with photographs, digital storage cards and discs, tapes, and folders and composition books with his writing. Read the full story.
December 3, 2014 | The Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CITY | Forty years after an unsolved triple slaying on Morningside Avenue, former police chief Joe Frisbie sits in his Sioux City home reflecting on lost time and opportunity.
On a recent night, the 69-year-old picked up his phone to discuss the murders that happened on Dec. 3, 1974, with his ex-partner, Russell White Jr., 67, who now lives in Des Moines.
It’s a typical conversation for the two who led the investigation into the deaths of Freta Bostic, Ernest Isom and Jesse Hanni at 1117 Morningside Ave.
November 17, 2014 | KIMT.com
HAMPTON, Iowa – After more than a decade of mystery, a cold case is still under investigation, and local police are hoping, even after 15 years, someone will remember something.
It was on Sixth Ave NW where police say 53-year-old Roberta “Bobbi” Crawford was brutally murdered in Hampton. No arrests have ever been made, and it’s a case police can’t stop thinking about.
November 12, 2014 | whotv.com
DES MOINES, Iowa — For nine years Des Moines police have been investigating a cold case involving a homeless man whose body was found in the river. Now that man’s family has some closure.
“We were able to present the cremains of what we’ve been calling John Doe 2005 for the past nine years to the family today….it’s good,” says Polk County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk.
Schmunk fights back tears as he talks about finally giving a family closure. Back in October of 2005, the body of a man was found in the Des Moines River near the Center Street Dam. It was close to a homeless camp. The man had about $10 in cash on him, but no identification.
November 1, 2014 | defrostingcoldcases.com
Defrosting Cold Cases features Jody Ewing’s “The Waverly Three” as the November Case of the Month. The article highlights the unsolved Waverly, Iowa murders of Valerie Klossowsky, Julie Benning and Lisa Peak.
October 20, 2014 | KCCI.com
DUBUQUE, Iowa —Dubuque police say they have few leads in the shooting death of a teen two years ago, citing a lack of cooperation from witnesses.
The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports 15-year-old Marlon T. Barber Jr. was fatally shot in downtown Dubuque while he and his friends walked away from a party before midnight.
He was taken to a hospital where he was able to provide police some clues about the alleged shooter before dying from his injuries.
Dubuque Police Department Lt. Scott Baxter says the investigation into Barber’s shooting has come to a standstill. He says police believe they have identified all of the people involved in the shooting. But he says that they and others who have some knowledge about the crime have been “relatively uncooperative.”
No new trial for Iowa man convicted of murder
October 18, 2014 | qctimes.com
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A Fort Dodge man convicted in August of first-degree murder will not be getting a new trial.
Webster County District Judge Kurt Wilke on Friday denied 28-year-old Derrick McElroy’s motion for a new trial, the Fort Dodge Messenger reported http://www.messengernews.net/page/content.detail/id/580169/New-trial-denied-McElroy.html?nav=5010 ).
A jury found McElroy guilty in the May 2011 shooting death of 19-year-old Brandyn Preston at a party. Preston, who was left paralyzed from the neck down, later died from his injuries.
McElroy’s attorney, Charles Kenville, asked for a new trial, saying there was not enough direct evidence to prove McElroy shot Preston.
October 8, 2014 | globegazette.com
CHARLES CITY | Prosecutors will be permitted to tell jurors about Casey Frederiksen’s collection of pornographic images during his murder trial, according to a ruling Wednesday by District Court Judge Gregg Rosenbladt.
Frederiksen is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in the July 2005 death of 5-year-old Evelyn Miller of Floyd.
He is scheduled to stand trial on the charges on March 2, 2015.
September 15, 2014 | desmoinesregister.com
OTTUMWA, Ia. – A man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 1974 slaying of a teenage girl at a rural Iowa farmhouse, ending a 40-year effort to hold her killer responsible.
Robert “Gene” Pilcher, who was long a suspect in the slaying of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones but had maintained his innocence, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder during his second trial in the case in Ottumwa.
Under a plea deal, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge, which carries a sentence of life in prison. Both sides recommended a 10-year sentence, which Judge Richard Meadows imposed on the 68-year-old Pilcher.
Pilcher’s first trial in January ended in a mistrial when jurors could not reach a unanimous agreement.
September 15, 2014 | KCRG.com
WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) – A hearing has been scheduled for the man accused of killing a 5-year-old northern Iowa girl in 2005.
The hearing is set for Tuesday in Hamilton County District Court in Webster City, where the trial of Casey Frederiksen has been moved. He’s charged with first-degree murder in the June 2005 slaying of Evelyn Miller, whose body was found along the Cedar River.
Frederiksen, 35, was charged in 2012 with the girl’s death. At the time of the charges, he was serving time in federal prison on child pornography and methamphetamine offenses. Authorities said Frederiksen was living with Evelyn’s mother in Floyd when the girl was killed.
The hearing is on a defense motion to limit information to jurors about his collection of child pornography.
His trial was scheduled to begin Monday after being delayed from a May 6 starting date. A judge is expected to set another trial date after Tuesday’s hearing, the Mason City Globe Gazette said.
September 6, 2014 | by Lee Hermiston, The Gazette
CEDAR RAPIDS — The two-year anniversary of the July 13, 2012, disappearance of Lyric Cook-Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins — a case which gripped the state for months — quietly passed for most of this year.
Behind the scenes, however, Evansdale authorities continue to painstakingly walk through every piece of evidence and every tip — detailed in 19 four-inch binders — with hopes of successfully solving the case.
“We have one person go through every single document and try to put things together and see if there are connections,” Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock said. “While the number of new leads coming in has definitely slowed, we continue to generate more. Every single lead gets reviewed.”
Lyric and Elizabeth were reported missing on July 13, 2012, after going for a bike ride in Evansdale, a community near Waterloo in Black Hawk County. Their bodies were found on Dec. 5, 2012, in Seven Bridges Wildlife Park in Bremer County.
Read more at The Gazette
August 28, 2014 | Newtondailynews.com
- Courtesy photo Mandi Lamb/Newton Daily News
- Theresa “Terri” Supino, charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1983 deaths of Steven Fisher, 20, and Melisa Gregory, 17, enters the Jasper County courtroom for a pretrial conference Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, followed by her attorneys, Steven Addington and Jill Eimermann.
The double first-degree murder trial in the 31-year-old Copper Dollar Ranch homicide case will not be held in Jasper County.
During a pretrial conference Wednesday morning, Aug. 27, 2014, Judge Terry Rickers said there would be “substantial prejudice” against 54-year-old Theresa Lynn “Terri” Supino if her trial were held in the Newton or Des Moines areas. Supino is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1983 deaths of Steven Fisher, 20, and Melisa Gregory, 17.
“After reviewing that information, the court agrees there would be substantial prejudice if it were to be tried in Jasper County,” Rickers said. “This case has been a source of notoriety for several years.”
In making their request for a change of venue, Supino’s attorneys, Steven Addington and Jill Eimermann, provided the court with a copy of the “Cold Justice” episode that aired March 28, 2014, and chronicled the show’s investigation of the murders as well as Supino’s arrest by local authorities. They also submitted several articles by the Newton Daily News and Des Moines Register as well as segments from Des Moines television stations.
August 21, 2014 | WCFCourier.com
EVANSDALE | The person who abducted a pair of cousins two years ago is likely local, according to new information released in connection with the investigation into their disappearance.
Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, went missing after they left for a bike ride in Evansdale in July 2012. They were later found dead in a rural Bremer County wildlife area. No arrests have been made in their deaths.
On Thursday, Evansdale police unveiled a new web page (http://evansdalepolice.org/latestonlyricandelizabeth.php) to act as a clearinghouse for information on the unsolved case.
August 19, 2014 | KCCI.com
FORT DODGE, Iowa — A Fort Dodge jury has found Derrick McElroy guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Brandyn Preston, reported the Fort Dodge Press.
August 10, 2014 | KCRG.COM
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A trial is set to begin this week for a Fort Dodge man accused of fatally shooting a teenager at a bonfire party.
The Messenger reports that 28-year-old Derrick McElroy faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Brandyn Preston.
McElroy is accused of shooting the 19-year-old Preston in the neck at a party in May 2011. Preston was paralyzed from the shoulders down, and he died months later in his family’s care in Florida.
Fort Dodge police say Preston died as a result of his injuries.
The trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection at the Webster County Courthouse on Tuesday. McElroy has pleaded not guilty.
August 7, 2014 | by Dennis Magee for The Globe Gazette
Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details that may offend some readers.)
CHARLES CITY | Defense attorney Aaron Hawbaker wants to limit information available to jurors about his client Casey Frederiksen’s alleged interest in and collection of child pornography.
Frederiksen is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in connection with Evelyn Miller’s disappearance and death on July 1, 2005. A pair of kayakers discovered the 5-year-old’s body five days later along the Cedar River in Floyd County. The discovery ended a search that attracted hundreds of volunteers for several days.
“Any evidence that the defendant had child pornography on his computer should be prohibited because it goes to propensity, is irrelevant and more prejudicial than probative,” Hawbaker wrote in his motion filed Tuesday. Read the Globe Gazette’s full story
July 30, 2014 | Mason City Globe Gazette
MASON CITY, Iowa | A judge has ordered a Mason City attorney to pay a $400 fine after she was found in contempt of court during the Michael Cisneros murder trial.
Letitia Turner, a Mason City public defender who, along with Steven Kloberdanz, represented Cisneros, was found in contempt by District Judge DeDra Schroeder on July 8. Cisneros was accused of first-degree murder in the 1994 death of 20-month-old John Snyder Jr. of Mason City. He was found not guilty by a Cerro Gordo County District Court jury on July 14.
During cross-examination of the boy’s father, John Snyder Sr., Turner asked him about taking a polygraph test. According to court proceedings that issue was not to be discussed in front of the jury. The issue came up when Turner asked Snyder about an interview he gave to KIMT-TV in 1994. In [the 1994 interview with KIMT] Snyder had discussed passing a polygraph test. Polygraph tests are not admissible in Iowa courts because they are thought to be unreliable.
July 30, 2014 | Iowa Dept. of Public Safety Press Release
Des Moines, Iowa — Today, July 30, 2014, marks three years since the murder of Bill Wood and the disappearance of Kay Wood.
July 26, 2014 | GlobeGazette.com
MASON CITY | The cost of the legal defense for a former Mason City man acquitted of first-degree murder topped $125,000, according to online court documents.
A list of fees for for the two attorneys and other personnel involved in the defense of Michael Cisneros, 38, have been filed with the court for payment.
Cisneros was accused of killing 20-month-old John Snyder Jr. in Mason City in 1994. A Cerro Gordo County jury found him not guilty on July 14.
July 14, 2014 | GlobeGazette.com
MASON CITY, Iowa — It took less than three hours for eight men and four women to return a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict in Michael Cisneros’ murder trial.
Cisneros, 38, formerly of Mason City, was charged with first-degree murder in the July 1994 death of 20-month-old John Snyder Jr.
June 30, 2014 | Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CITY | Fourteen years ago seems like just yesterday to Bruce Evans.
On June 20, 2000, his 5-year-old son Anthony was struck by a hit-and-run driver on 21st Street in Sioux City. Anthony died from his injuries the next day.
Tuesday would have been Anthony’s 20th birthday.
Evans was at work on the day the accident happened. He knew something was wrong even before he received the news.
“I looked at my brother and I said, ‘Something’s not right,’” said Evans, who now lives in Ceresco, Neb.
His gut feeling led him to call home, where his wife told him their son had been hit by a pickup.
“It was one of the worst feelings in the world,” Evans said.
June 25, 2014 | Mason City Globe Gazette
MASON CITY | Twenty-month-old John Snyder Jr. suffered a broken jaw, a skull fracture and a deep gash along his lower lip before allegedly being thrown into Willow Creek while still alive in July 1994.
The child drowned.
Testimony began Wednesday morning in the murder trial of Michael Cisneros, 38, formerly of Mason City. Cisneros is charged with first-degree murder in the death of the Mason City toddler.
Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen took the jury through a sketch of the prosecution’s case during opening statements.
June 19, 2014 | KIMT.com
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A north Iowa man received a sentence of life in prison on weapons charges, and in connection to an unsolved murder for which he hasn’t been charged.
Randy Lee Patrie, 41, pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of firearms by a felon as an armed career criminal, and possession of sawed-off shotguns after guns were stolen from several north Iowa locations.
During the investigation, prosecutors determined evidence showed Patrie was also responsible for the murder of retired Nashua grocer Carl “Kenneth” Gallmeyer, 70, in 2012. Gallmeyer was found dead in his home in early October, 2012.
June 16, 2014 | WHOTV.com
DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines police began excavating the basement of a south side home Monday in their investigation into a woman who disappeared in 1960.
Police say ground radar scans of the basement floor at 608 Pleasant View Drive appear to show a hole was possibly dug under the concrete.
“Somebody had disturbed the soil at some point. Maybe dug a hole and the hole measure about five-foot-by-two which was pretty odd,” says Det. Danny White.
Darlene Fitchett was in her 30s when she was last seen. Police were told that she went to California with another man, but she left her all of her belongings behind in the home that she shared with her husband and three children. The only thing missing from the house were some curtains.
June 12, 2014 | WCFCourier.com
NASHUA | A federal judge has ruled there is evidence to conclude a Charles City burglar was involved in the slaying of a retired Nashua grocer.
Randy Lee Patrie, 41, is awaiting sentencing on federal gun charges, and prosecutors argue he should face life in prison as an armed career criminal because of his role in the death of 70-year-old Carl “Kenneth” Gallmeyer during a burglary to Gallmeyer’s rural Nashua home in 2012.
In a 62-page order that was issued on Thursday, Judge Linda Reade agreed.
“The court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant used a firearm, that is a .410 gauge sawed-off shotgun, in connection with another offense, that is, burglary, and the death of Mr. Gallmeyer resulted from the Defendant’s commission of burglary,” Reade wrote in her ruling.
Patrie hasn’t been charged with murder in Gallmeyer’s death, but investigators found guns stolen during the fatal burglary after searching Patrie’s home in July 2013, and Gallmeyer’s stolen TV was mounted on the wall of Patrie’s bedroom. They also discovered a sawed-off .410 gauge shotgun.
June 10, 2014 | KWWL.com
EVANSDALE (KWWL) – The 2nd annual Memorial Ride and Drive, in memory of slain Evansdale cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins, is scheduled for Saturday, July 12.
It will begin at Lofty’s Lounge in Evansdale at 11 a.m. Registration for the ride is $20, which includes a t-shirt.
Proceeds from the ride will be split between Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers and Angels Memorial Park in Evansdale. Registration forms are available at Lofty’s Lounge, Screaming Eagle Bar and Grill in Waterloo and Silver Eagle Harley Davidson.
June 4, 2014 | KWWL.com
WATERLOO (KWWL) – More than 145 people turned out for a motorcycle ride benefiting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children over the weekend. Together, they raised $3,793.37 for the nonprofit organization that partners with law enforcement agencies and families on issues surrounding missing and exploited children.
Saturday’s ride was sponsored by ABATE Districts 23 and 16, and motorcyclists paid tribute to Johnny Gosch and Evelyn Miller. Gosch was a 12 year-old West Des Moines paperboy who was kidnapped in 1982. Miller was from the small town of Floyd; she was 5 years old at the time she was abducted and murdered in 2005.
May 29, 2014 | kmaland.com and The Daily Nonpareil
Council Bluffs, IA — James Cain Harris, charged with first-degree murder in the 2003 stabbing death of Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez, waits longer for his murder trial. The Daily Nonpareil reports that the trial for 36-year-old Harris, of Council Bluffs, has been moved to June 24th. His trial had been set to begin the last week of May 2014.
Harris was arrested in February for first-degree murder. The victim, Alvarez-Hernandez, was stabbed outside his residence in July 2003. At the time of the incident, police say statements were obtained indicating a loud fight took place, with the victim yelling for help.
Thomas Jeffery Sanchez, 47, was arrested in January for first-degree murder in connection with the incident. Sanchez is currently set to go on trial July 8th.
May 9, 2014 | WISN.com
RACINE COUNTY, Wis. — A break in a Wisconsin murder-mystery from 24 years ago is sparking new hope for unsolved homicides across the Midwest.
March 27, 2014 | USA Today via the Des Moines Register
DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa sheriff who led the investigation into a 31-year-old double homicide says he’s “apprehensive” about a crime-solving reality television show that will feature the case in an episode Friday.
But Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said he’s also expecting to hear from the show’s viewers, who could have useful tips to aid the investigation into the 1983 slayings of Steven Fisher, 20, and Melisa Gregory, 17.
“A case is never over. … You’re always looking for more information, you always have unanswered questions,” Halferty said. “I’m hopeful that (the show) will create some additional leads.”
February 26, 2014
CORALVILLE, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) — For John Crutcher, the images of that day back in April of 1984 flash by like a slide show.
“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.
February 26, 2014
ANKENY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) — It’s a CSI fan’s dream – but the DCI crime lab in Ankeny is far from the lights, camera and flash of Hollywood.
“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.
January 24, 2014
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 Pottawattamie 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.
January 24, 2014
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
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 | By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press
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.
Jan. 23, 2014 | KCRG-TV9 | Cedar Rapids, IA
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.
Jan. 22, 2014 | KCRG TV-9 | Cedar Rapids
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.
Original investigator returns to Ottumwa » Local News » The Ottumwa Courier
January 21, 2014
OTTUMWA — The single witness Tuesday morning essentially gave testimony about testimony. But it was the only way to give voice to some of the statements made nearly 40 years ago.
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.
Jan. 15, 2014 | WCF Courier
NASHUA | A serial burglar from Charles City may be behind the slaying of a retired grocer in Nashua.
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
January 15, 2014 | WSAW-TV Channel 7
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.
Jan. 15, 2014 | WCF Courier
NASHUA | The Chickasaw County sheriff has confirmed authorities are investigating Randy Lee Patrie in connection with the 2012 slaying of a retired grocer.
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.
After 40 years, case of slain Ottumwa teen goes to trial | Iowa City Press Citizen | press-citizen.com
January 13, 2014
OTTUMWA, IA. — Judith Cabanillas was just 13 when a middle-of-the-night phone call from police conveyed the shattering news: Her older sister had been found murdered in an Iowa farmhouse. Her mother screamed uncontrollably.
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.
Jan. 10, 2014 | The Heartland Connection
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.
Jan. 9, 2014 | The Gazette
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.
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January 8, 2014
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – In the summer of 1976, a Cedar Rapids teenager ran away with a boy.
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.
January 2, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa —A former University of Iowa researcher has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife in 1997.
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.
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