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.

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