Remembering Valentine’s Day Victims

On February 14, 2013, in Anniversaries, Missing Persons, by Jody Ewing

Valentine’s Day for most people is a time to celebrate romance, exchange heart-shaped cards and enjoy gifts of decadent chocolate or long-stemmed roses. For four Iowa families, however, it’s a painful reminder of a loved one’s murder or unsolved disappearance, and it hasn’t gotten any easier as the years have passed.

Today we pay tribute to those victims and extend a special Valentine’s Day wish to all who were a part of these victims’ all-too-short lives.

Our first victim, Louis Dale Reed, Sr., was shot at close range inside a Clinton, Iowa shack at Reed’s Auto Salvage on February 14, 1974. The 53-year-old grandfather, who operated the salvage yard on Clinton’s south side, suffered a shotgun blast to the chest and a wound to his left arm.

Missing at the time was Mr. and Mrs. Reed’s dog, Shaggy, who had been at the salvage yard with Louis the day of the slaying. More than one week later, Mrs. Reed found Shaggy way underneath a vehicle, where the traumatized but still breathing dog had gone into hiding after his master was shot.

Maurice Kneifl

Maurice Kneifl

On February 14, 1983, Maurice P. Kneifl, 58, left his girlfriend’s residence in Sioux City, Iowa at around 9:30 p.m. but then failed to show up the next morning to give her a ride to work. He was reported missing two days later.

A respected local businessman, Kneifl had served as mayor of Hartington, Neb., for many years. He and his late wife had owned a dry cleaning business for over 30 years before her death on Feb. 18, 1978.

At the time of his disappearance, Kneifl was preparing to testify against a son-in-law — an individual who’d already been incarcerated three times — and believed his testimony would put his son-in-law behind bars for good. Kneifl turned up missing before he had the opportunity to testify.

On February 14, 1998, the body of 20-year-old Ky Van Luong was discovered on a bike path in Des Moines not far from the Des Moines River. Police said Luong had been shot to death in another location and his body dumped along the 6th Avenue and Birdland Drive bike path.

Delores Antonia “Toni” Martinez Hornung was a seamstress and noted for her quilts and beadwork. The 48-year-old mother of a son and a daughter was shot to death in her Keokuk, Iowa home on February 14, 1999. Her boyfriend, Lewis Greer of Bonaparte, Iowa, was arrested and charged with her murder, but acquitted by a Lee County jury.

Every year on or around Toni’s birthday, her mother, Alice Brown, honors her daughter with a photo in the Daily Gate City newspaper. Either she or another family member also calls the Keokuk Police Department to see if there are any updates in the case.

Four different victims in four different cities left behind family members and friends to mourn their loss and wait for answers. Do you have any information that might help solve one of these crimes? More details about how you can help may be found by visiting the victim’s case summary page.

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