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This weekend came to a close, as have many years past, with five Iowa families wondering what happened to loved ones. In cases that spanned more than five decades, family members still ask when answers will come and justice will be served for a Sioux City teen, a man who fought in World War II and another in Operation Desert Storm.
From southwestern to northeastern Iowa, many questions remain: Who did it, and why?
Greg Nepstad was killed in the early morning hours on Saturday, Sept. 27, 1975, when a fire destroyed an apartment house located at 1128 6th Avenue in Des Moines.
Little information is known about his case, although court records later cited Gregory L. and Dona J. Nepstad and the City of Des Moines as defendants in a lawsuit concerning the deaths and injuries resulting from the fire.
Terri McCauley, an 18-year-old young mother of a daughter and a son, was last seen alive at 2:10 a.m. with friends Richard Thomas and Willard Dillard outside the 7-11 Club in the area of W. 7th & Omaha Streets in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 1983.
Terri’s partially decomposed body was found near 33rd and Pavonia less than one week later.
Robert Bruce “Kip” Bates, a 27-year-old former Marine who fought in Operation Desert Storm, was shot twice while working at the Carter Lake “Jump Start” convenience store the night of Sept. 27, 2007.
Bates hadn’t been scheduled to work that night, but had switched schedules with another employee. When he went out the front door to take to a break, he was shot twice in about two seconds.
“The shooter did walk up to the store entrance where he was met by the victim,” said Pottawattamie County Deputy Sgt. Dwayne Riche.
George Raymond Keller, a 61-year-old World War II veteran, lived 12 miles northeast of Woodburn, Iowa, inside a garage he’d converted into a temporary home while having his house rebuilt after an arson fire destroyed his home two years earlier.
Sometime late on Sept. 28, 1981, someone went to Keller’s rural Clarke County residence and shot him multiple times in the head.
“He had one hand up in the air like he was lunging or something,” Keller’s employer, Bob Wetzler, told the Cedar Rapids Gazette in an article published Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1981.
Lyman Elledge, 65, was found bludgeoned to death on the front lawn of the Barney Wiskus home in Colesburg, Iowa, at about 7 a.m. on Friday, September 28, 1951.
Delaware County Coroner Dr. Paul G. Meyer said autopsy results showed Elledge died from a skull fracture wound to the back of his head. Elledge’s eye glasses were found a block from where his body was discovered, and his shoes had been removed.
All five cases remain unsolved today.
If you have information about any of these unsolved homicides, please contact the appropriate authorities listed on each victim’s case summary page.