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.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly 200 people attended the burial of Elizabeth, more than 9 months after she went missing from Evansdale.
“What we are going through today, we’re not sure how it goes. We try, we keep going, we hope, we persevere, we walk on,” said Pastor Chris Reeves at the ceremony.
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.
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.
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.