Ottumwa Police Sergeant Mark Milligan shares an open letter to the public on Facebook about his missing brother, Harry Milligan, 21, who went missing from Albia in Monroe County, Iowa, on July 1, 1984. Harry’s disappearance is classified as “Involuntary” and foul play is suspected.

By Mark Milligan


Harry Milligan headstone (Courtesy Mark Milligan)

Harry Milligan headstone (Courtesy Mark Milligan)

PLEASE SHARE ….I Think with the New Year and the rumors that seem to have spread rather quickly lately I need to clarify some things with my FB friends and family. Before I get into this (which may be rather long) please understand I may offend some people, I my surprise some people, but one thing I am not going to do is pull any punches or try not to hurt any feelings. So if you don’t want to know what I think, or what I am asking for then stop reading this now.

This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with and has completely torn me up for over 30 years. So I will start with what I know as of recent, and hopefully it clarifies the rumors. What I know is that the ex-wife of Jay Owens ( I believe loria) has made claim that she has information regarding Jay Owens being involved in or committing a murder in Albia Iowa approximately 30 years ago. I know that it is being looked into by DCI agents. That is what I know as of now. Could it be my brother, yes, could it be Tim Ernie, yes. If you are familiar with this you know both of these tragic incidents happened within months of each other in Albia. I wish I could tell everyone I had an answer FINALLY, but that is not the case. I am once again left with the same thing I have held on to for years HOPE that someday there is an answer.

I guess that leads to this, and the fact that I have tried several different things over the years and now with the overwhelming use of social media I thought I would reach out to everyone I know and use you and your extended friends and family to see if somehow I can get an answer. I am clearly asking for help, not opinion, not some preconceived idea of what happened, or an assumption. I am strictly asking for facts. Things that people know.

Monroe County in Iowa
Monroe County in Iowa
Albia in Monroe CountyAlbia in Monroe County

July 1st, 1984 my Brother, Harry Milligan disappeared from existence, in Albia Iowa. A town of approximately 3000 people and it seems that no one knows what happened. At the time of his disappearance I was on active duty in the Marine Corps so I do not know the events that lead up to this Saturday night early Sunday Morning other than what I have been told. So that is why I am asking for help. I am going to put out all the information that I know or have been told. I am going to put out all the opinions and misnomers that have been told to me and see if I can obtain more useful information and also hopefully stop some of the formed opinions and rumors. So like I said If I mention a name and my opinion and it offends you, Tough. It is mine and I will own it and defend my opinion.

Here is what I think I know…. My brother was at the bar ( Waterworks), owned and operated by Mike Stocker located in North Main Street in Albia. I know that he was drinking and playing poker that night at the bar. It is my understanding that he did rather well that evening taking several hundred dollars from Mike Stocker and the others (unknown to me, but would like to know ) and closed the bar.

I know he left that bar with what I have been told was Steve Rockwell and Jeff Adler. I was told that they purchased a six pack of beer to go and got into to Steve Rockwell’s car and drove around finishing the beers. I was told that at approximately 3:00 am Harry was dropped off back at his car parked in front of the bar on Main Street facing north and that he was observed by at least Steve Rockwell getting in his car. It is unclear and I do not know if Jeff Adler also got out of the car or not. ( It may be that I was told but I do not recall ever being told). I know that I was told that Steve then saw Harry start his vehicle and start to drive north, which would be in the direction of home since we lived in Avery Iowa. That is the last time my Brother was ever seen that I know of other than years later an individual, Raymond Ostermeyer stated that he possibly saw Harry’s vehicle going south in town at some point that early morning.

SO very limited information as you can see from the night’s events.

Things I would like to know:

  • Who saw Harry at the bar that night and was he playing cards?
  • If he was playing cards who all was playing?
  • Was he winning and were there any persons that could have had hard feelings or was upset?
  • Who may have seen him leave the bar that night and was he with Steve Rockwell and Jeff Adler?
  • Did anyone see them return to the bar and where exactly was his car parked that night?
  • Did anyone see him leave in his car and was anyone with him?
  • Who was the bartender that night and did anyone stay after to clean the bar or continue to drink?

I need to explain one thing that has always struck me as very strange since this night. First of all after I returned and began to search and ask questions I want everyone to know that Steve Rockwell has spoke with me in regards to what transpired that night. He has also stayed in contact with mom and dad for several years trying to help them out. What I find strange is that JEFF ADLER has never spoken to me or my parents in regards to this night nor has he ever made himself available to speak with law enforcement that I am aware of. I know I have a copy of the case file and nothing in regards to that is in there. When I was in Albia looking and talking to people every time I entered a place where he was at he would leave. This I find very strange.

To be very honest the entire investigation was minimal cause it was a 19 year old male and I personally do not believe it was taken serious at the time it happened.

Now to rumors and such that has been told to me over the thirty years and my opinion of them. Again if you don’t want to hear my opinion now would be the time to stop reading.

#1 My dad (Leonard) killed him and buried him and the car in the house on our property in Avery.

*Absolutely not true, most people don’t understand that Harry was adopted, and the life and soul of my dad’s. Just as most people don’t understand that Leonard (I refer to as dad) is actually my grandfather that raised me absolutely something he would not do.

#2 My mother (Vicki) killed him because they argued on occasion.

*Absolutely not true, most people don’t understand that my dad worked on the railroad and was away from home a lot because of work so mom was the disciplinarian in the house. We were teenagers arguments happened enough said. Did not happen.

#3 Harry decided to just leave. Highly unlikely, if you knew his situation he had it made. He was very intelligent, going to college at NMSU in Kirksville, was in the Marine Corps reserve and came home every weekend to party ect with his friends as he was this night.

#4 He was involved in some top secret thing in the military and they moved him away. Really, then I don’t think they would have declared him as a deserter at one point and made us jump through all sorts of hoops in regards to other issues.

Those are the opinions that have been told to me personally that I absolutely know to be nothing but stupid people’s imagination running crazy. But now to things that makes more sense but has never been able to be substantiated or proven to be a part of his disappearance.

#1 Harry was mistakenly killed by some unknown person or an individual with the nickname “Flame” that was actually intending to kill Doug Maddy. It was explained to me that there was a serious drug debt owed by Maddy and that this person was sent to collect the debt or kill Maddy and he mistook Harry as being Doug. My opinion is that this is a possibility and since Doug and Harry were friends. Harry was no angel and partook in some drug use and of course well Doug Maddy… Enough said… Him and I have a history he knows my opinion of him and what he does. However, it should be known he has never been questioned or volunteered any information.

#2 It was rumored that during this supposed card game that night at the bar Harry took a considerable amount of money from Mike Stocker and he was very upset. I have been told that Mike or someone Mike paid was waiting on Harry to return to his car that night and that who is who killed Harry.

I was told that the car was then buried since Stocker had family with the capability and equipment to make that happen. My Opinion is that this is a possibility. I knew Mike Stocker and I was no Angel at that time and frequented the bars myself I knew that beer was not the only thing being sold out of the bar. Part of why I question who all worked there or was there after hours is cause years later Steve Townsend made a very clear comment to my wife one night at McGee’s bar as he looked at me. “How much do you think it would cost to make someone disappear?” She really didn’t reply and he stated something to the effect “I have done it before for less than $500 dollars”. Might not be a cop now if she would have told me that comment at the time and not waited till we were home, but then again… Steve Townsend he also knows my opinion. Enough said.

This is the information I know after thirty years and I just cannot believe that someone DON’T KNOW what happened to my Brother. Someone or a group of people know what happened and all I ask is for someone to come forward and let my family put this to an end with some answers. No one can imagine the shit I have heard, been told, or even been threatened with since that day. Everyone knows I’m a cop, have been for almost twenty years. I have been told numerous times by persons I was dealing with on a professional level that they wish it had been me instead of him, (really dumb asses you don’t think I have thought that too after watching what my mom and dad have gone through), I have had my wife’s life threatened from a god dammed murderer (Mike Jespersen that killed one of my good friends Jeff Woolums) when he sent word from the prison if I didn’t quit messing with his son she would come up missing like Harry. He also made claims of knowing what happened but would never tell. I have had to listen to people Like Doug Chidester, Steve Dye and others tell me that they know exactly what happened from being in prison but would never tell me what they know.

All I know is that I will never quit looking, never quit asking, never quit hoping for an answer. All I ask is if you know or think you know something please contact ME or the Monroe County Sheriff’s office with the information that you have. You never know how it could help.

Thanks for caring and reading my post.

Please share it and ask your friends to share it you never know who may hold the key to my
Question: What happened to my Brother, Harry Milligan

As for the current investigation that is taking place. I hope that if you know something you are smart enough to contact me or the Monroe County Sheriff with that information as soon as possible. I am not hard to find I am on Facebook and I am currently employed at the Ottumwa Police Department. Better to be part of the answer than to be implicated. I plan to NEVER let this die and now that I can reach more people easier TIME IS NOW ON MY SIDE.

Rest in peace my BROTHER, someday I WILL finish this so there is PEACE.

Sergeant Mark Milligan
Ottumwa Police Department



35 Responses to Police Sgt. Writes about Missing Brother

  1. Holli Kylene Hartwig says:

    Shared, just seen someone else repost this…Hope you find your answers…

    • Kathy says:

      What about contacting one of the murder mystery TV shows or Dateline or 20/20. I think they are always interested in new “old” murders. Maybe they would uncover something.

  2. Ronald W. Chidester says:

    I have to heard these rumers and asked my cousin Doug Chidester about it and would not ever give me an answer. I rode the bus with you guys and always thought highly of Harry and you . Mark I wish I had the answer but I don’t.

  3. Kevin Brewer says:

    I know Steve Dye well, do you think he knows something?

  4. Kevin Brewer says:

    I know Steve Dye very well, do you think he knows something?

  5. Tony Michael says:

    I pray you get the answers you deserve

  6. Jessie Fields says:

    also he said he had been drinking there is a possibility he crashed In to a big water source

  7. Sue Hudson says:

    Wow! As the surviving sibling of a murdered man (unsolved) you are rather harsh Danielle. Where's the compassion? It does not matter what the survivers do for a living, someone out there knows what happened and are just too gutless to come forward to take responsibility. Also just FYI everyone in prison says they are innocent. This man is just trying to find some closure for himself and his family. Let him him do this in peace.

  8. Danielle Reed says:

    Wow maybe when u put ppl in prison for life for self defense or harassing families be cuz of the deal w ur brother is y u and ur family has been threatened just sayn ppl say stupid things when they r pissed u calling ppl out just like u did does not help!! I hope u do find out what happened to ur brother Milligan! I hope it makes ur a better person and when u do there b a apology to the ppl u named that r innocent!!!

    • Susan Behm says:

      Wow Danielle Reed. Your statement has me wondering ….. do you know something that you aren’t sharing? After all it seem as though by your statement that you might be harboring some type of hard feeling against this officer for having to arrest someone you just may know.

  9. Benny Vasquez Jr. says:

    At one point Mark you said that someone seen your brother going south. Has anyone looked at Lake Rathbun?

  10. Sharon Lacy says:

    I pray that you are finally able to find out the truth of what happened to your brother. I am sure that this has been so painful for you and your family. I live in Texas now but am sharing (you just never know who may see it).

  11. Lori says:

    I am marks wife , we were gone for the week end , will be home later he will respond to any and all fb req , we need answers !! Is taking time to respond to everyone , but he will as soon as he can !!! Thanks so much for sharing and all the messages !!!

  12. Tony Vaughn says:

    Mark I had gone to school with your brother Harry… He was a year younger than me.. And although I have been away from Albia a few years, it just boggles my mind why this had to happen to a good kid.. But I guess time changes people.. You need any help let me know, I live in Oklahoma now. But I am still willing to help anyway I can.

  13. Cathy Dick says:

    my uncle and his car vanished off the face of the earth in 1990 (Paul Knockel – Dubuque, Iowa) to never be seen or found again. His was listed as involuntary/endangered also. Only two people know the answer – the victim, and their perpetrator. I take solace in knowing that his perpetrator will meet his maker some day and justice will be served.

    • Cathy Dick says:

      yes, and Dubuque is on the Mississippi River

    • It really is amazing that so many vehicles have disappeared right along with the owners, and foul play is usually suspected because the vehicle’s VIN will likely turn up somewhere if somebody tries to sell it. Other cases on ICC including a missing person/vehicle include Ethan Kazmerzak (2013, Franklin County); Thomas “Myles” Dougherty (1961, Sioux City); Helen Kelly (2005, Sioux City); John Conaway (1998, Council Bluffs); and Maurice Kneifl (1983, Sioux City). Sioux City is, of course, right along the Missouri River.

  14. Diana Wilson says:

    Hope he finds closure. Prayers.

  15. I need to talk to this guy. Tried to friend him in fb

  16. In light of what Sgt. Milligan has written here it seems likely that foul play was involved, not an accident of driving into a body of water. Sgt. Milligan seems like a good man and I sincerely hope that those involved in his brother’s disappearance are caught and punished to the full extent of the law.

  17. Craig House says:

    Was his car ever found? It seems like in a great majority of cases like this, there are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around. However, the majority of the time, it’s a pretty simple explanation for the disappearance. I think Breyanne is on the right track. Hope that you get some closure, I can’t imagine going through something like this.

  18. Jenny Berry says:

    Shared in Minnesota……Prayers he is found…..

  19. Sandy Gerard says:

    Hope you and your family get some answers about your brother!

  20. Not familiar with area but is there any bodies of water around? Lakes/ponds/river? He was driving home late at night and had a few drinks.

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