Janet, Little Raymond, and Rev. Morse

On June 20, 2013, in Anniversaries, by Jody Ewing

The youngest was just 23 years old — the oldest, 44. The three deaths spanned nearly three decades, but all had one thing in common; the victims lost their lives on this same June day.

Janet LaFratte gravestone in Calvary Cemetery in Churchill. (Courtesy findagrave)

Janet LaFratte’s gravestone in Churchill’s Calvary Cemetery. (Courtesy findagrave.com)

Janet LaFratte, 35, was reported missing to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, June 20, 1973. Janet’s husband, Frank LaFratte, placed the call around 5:30 p.m. from the couple’s rural Norwalk home, located about 25 miles south of Des Moines.

By 8 p.m. that same day, sheriff’s deputies had located Janet’s body in a pond behind the LaFrattes’ home.

Warren County Medical Examiner S.F. Yugend initially ruled Mrs. LaFratte’s death “an apparent drowning,” but an investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office cited “mysterious circumstances” surrounding the incident. The DCI ruled her death — Case # 73-00272 — an unsolved homicide.

Raymond March Jr.

Raymond March, Jr. (courtesy photo)

Twenty-five years later to the day, Raymond “Little Raymond” March, Jr., 23, was shot outside Wilma’s Club in Davenport, Iowa, after spending an evening out with friends. March, a 1995 Central High graduate who’d played football for the school, had taken a few moments to talk with a group of individuals in the business’s parking lot before heading toward his own vehicle. Seconds later, shots rang out and March fell.

In addition to his parents and siblings, March left behind a young son and daughter.

Kevin Lane Morse (courtesy Daniel Morse)

Rev. Kevin Lane Morse (courtesy Daniel Morse)

Four years later on June 20, 2002, Kevin Lane Morse, a 44-year-old minister, was shot while fishing along the banks of the Missouri River in Fremont County, Iowa.

Authorities found Morse’s body near a levee next to the Missouri River below the Nebraska City Bridge along Highway 2.

Morse, who managed the Country Acres Care Center south of Sidney, Iowa, had gone to Nebraska City, Neb., earlier that day to return pop cans for the mental health facility he ran. He’d told fellow employees he planned to go fishing afterward, noting that “the carp would be biting near the mulberry trees.”

All three deaths remain unsolved, and our thoughts go out to the many families affected by these senseless murders.

Please see contact information provided on each victim’s page for how you might be able to help solve one of these Iowa cold cases.

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