Maureen Farley

Maureen Brubaker Farley

As the eldest of seven siblings, Maureen Brubaker would babysit for her six younger siblings whenever their parents, David and Mary Ann Brubaker of Sioux City, Iowa, decided to go out. David and Mary Ann knew what a challenge that job could be, but always told the children they’d make it worth their while if they were good for big sister Maureen.

The children knew what kind of reward each would receive in exchange for having behaved — 10 cents apiece — and in the late 1960s, 10 cents could go a long way. They’d be able to purchase an extra-large bag of popcorn at the dime store, or even a pack of candy cigarettes, where the powdered sugar would blow off the minty sticks just like real smoke.

The money could be put back and saved, too, to buy a Hula Hoop, paper dolls or coloring books, or even a model airplane kit.

They couldn’t help but get into a few skirmishes now and then, but their big sister always came through for them; when their parents returned home, Maureen would bestow lavish praise on all of them for having minded every word she said, and they’d all be given a dime apiece to save or spend as they liked.

In 1971 after Maureen married, they’d cried when she said goodbye and moved clear across the state to Cedar Rapids to be closer to her husband, David Farley, who’d gotten into trouble and was serving a brief stint in Anamosa’s correctional facility. Sioux City to Cedar Rapids seemed more like a continent away to them, but still, they knew she’d be back. She loved them all too much to stay away too long.

Maureen got a sleeping room in her new city and went to work as a waitress to make ends meet. She’d send the family photos, tell them how much she missed them and that she’d see them soon. Calls weren’t inexpensive then, but she also did her best to stay in touch by phone.

Mary Ann Brubaker and Lisa Schenzel

Maureen’s mother, Mary Ann Brubaker, and sister, Lisa Schenzel, talk about Maureen’s unsolved murder with Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck.

In late September, however, the family received a call that forever changed all their lives. Maureen’s body had been found in a wooded ravine near Cedar Rapids’ southwest edge, lying atop a car trunk. She had been murdered.

As her father clutched the telephone in his hand and screamed “No No No!” his wife and other children broke down when he finally was able to relate to them what had happened. Who could possibly have wanted their beloved Maureen dead? It seemed incomprehensible that a young woman who looked for and found only the best in everyone had been killed.

Nearly four decades later, Maureen’s murder remains unsolved, and her family still holds out hope that someone, somewhere, will come forward and provide to police that one missing puzzle piece that finally will bring long awaited answers.

Aaron Brilbeck, a reporter with WHO-TV Channel 13 in Des Moines, traveled to Sioux City last week to sit down with the Brubaker family and talk about the 39th anniversary of Maureen’s death. In his story, it’s all too clear how unsolved wounds never have the chance to heal.

The little consolation afforded the family is knowing the killer took time to place Maureen’s body atop a car trunk where it likely would be spotted and discovered, rather than disposing of her in the nearby woods where she may not have been found for months.

Still, it’s just one more unanswered question for her family: if the killer cared enough about her to ensure she’d be found, what could have led him to take her life?

If you have any information about this unsolved homicide, please contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department at 1-319-286-5400.

3 Responses to Maureen Farley: Did her killer have a conscience?

  1. Charles Johnson says:

    How can the police get a warrant for an innocent person, George Smith’s relative, to provide DNA? That seems like a clear violation of the 4th amendment.

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      Mr. Johnson, the police got a warrant to most likely obtain DNA, of Mr. Smith’s family. They have to submit paperwork to a judge stating why they wanted a search warrant. The basically have to show probable cause for the warrant.

      This means they have to supply information that leads them to believe that Mr. Smith was connected to her murder. This information could be in the form of an eyewitness who came forward and said that he or she saw him commit the crime or heard state that he killed her for whatever reason.

      It could be that they reviewed the physical evidence recovered and had it reviewed by the crime lab, and they found DNA, and they needed DNA from a family member, to double check it.

      Also remember that the application for the warrant is submitted by a states, district attorney to judge who has to review and sees that it meets the standards for a search warrant.

      They do this to show that they followed an established protocol in their investigation. They could have gone through the garbage,or asked the family to provide one. But they could refuse to cooperate. So, they go to a judge by filing an application for the search warrant.

      It’s an extra step, but it’s nice to go through the extra step of going through the legal process.

  2. Murder Mystery Readers Comments says:

    Maureen Farley did not know that she moved to Cedar Rapids and moved next door to a murder who was trying to hide his murder by killing more people, or hiring a person to kill possibly the only person who saw him commit the murder. Maureen Farley moved right in next door to the possibly murderer of Paula Oberbroeckling. Maureen Farley’s next door neighbor in Cedar Rapids was Doctor Thomas Sturgeon (a chiropractor). Paula Oberbroeckling was murdered at a prostitute’s house. The pimp at that prostitute’s house was Ernest Jordan . Doctor Thomas Sturgeon bought the gun and paid Perry Harris to murder Ernest Jordan, the pimp who most likely saw Doctor Thomas Sturgeon murder Paula Oberbroeckling when he was trying to rape Paula Oberbroeckling.

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