5 Lost Birthdays

On October 4, 2016, in Anniversaries, Young Women, by Jody Ewing

We all love celebrating birthdays, especially (these days) on Facebook. We send all sorts of good wishes, emojis of birthday cakes and big “Happy Birthday!” images, and tell our friends and loved ones we wish them another great or exciting or successful next year.

When I last updated the ICC homepage, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the “cold case anniversaries” were actually missed birthdays. I don’t have all the victims’ birthdays listed in my ICC calendar (I started adding the birthdays years after the site had already begun), but always find myself in a quandary whenever a victim’s birthday and date of death are so closely related.

Lisa McCuddin with son Davontrez and daughter Markasia

Lisa McCuddin with son Davontrez and daughter Markasia

One example this month is that of 23-year-old Lisa McCuddin of Fort Dodge, Iowa. I didn’t list her twice — showing both her date of death and her birthday — because both occurred within just four days. Lisa was doing something all of us take for granted all the time … riding in a vehicle, on her way with a companion to go to breakfast at a local business.

Lisa died Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004. She would have celebrated her 24th birthday Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Two shooting incidents took place that same morning at Fort Dodge’s Holiday Inn, but Lisa, a passenger in a vehicle driven by Fred Murray, would be the only one to succumb to her injuries. The 29-year-old Murray also sustained a gunshot wound, as did the first victim, 23-year-old Isaac Givens. Police later determined the two shooting incidents were related and believe the violence erupted after a late evening fight between patrons at the Fort Dodge Eagles Lodge.

Lisa’s murder remains unsolved.

Lyric Cook

Lyric Cook

Also this week on Oct. 2, Lyric Cook would have celebrated her 15th birthday and Jackie Shireman would have turned 63.

Lyric Cook, 10, along with her cousin, Elizabeth Collins, 8, disappeared Friday, July 13, 2012, from Evansdale, Iowa. The girls’ remains were found Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Seven Bridges Wildlife Park about 25 miles away from Meyers Lake where the girls’ bicycles were found abandoned.

In addition to spending time with her cousin Elizabeth, Lyric loved playing cards with her grandmother in the afternoons or finding some way to be outside whether snow, rain or shine.

Jackie Shireman

Jackie Shireman

Jackie Shireman, a 21-year-old newlywed and Sunday school teacher, was stabbed 30 times with a pair of scissors while working Jan. 4, 1975 at “Marino’s Meal on a Bun” in Dubuque, Iowa. Her killer left her for dead in the restaurant’s walk-in cooler. Steven Moore was charged in her death but acquitted after witnesses reneged on testimony and others refused to testify at all.

The young woman would just now be entering her retirement years.

October 5 marks what would have been Jared Parks‘ 26th birthday. Parks, an 18-year-old from Urbandale, was killed May 11, 2009, when his body was placed or pushed onto Interstate 35/80 near the Beaver Avenue Bridge in Polk County, Iowa. He was hit by at least two semi tractor-trailers.

Jared Parks (Courtesy KCCI)

Jared Parks

Investigators never found Jared’s cell phone, his wallet, earrings, or tennis shoes, and ruled his death suspicious. Parks had recently graduated early from Urbandale High School, but had planned on being a part of the commencement ceremony.

Michelle Martinko, an 18-year-old Kennedy High School senior, was killed late on Dec. 19, 1979, after going to Cedar Rapids’ new Westdale Mall to look at a coat, and would have celebrated her 55th birthday October 6.

Michelle Martinko

Michelle Martinko

Cedar Rapids investigators were able to develop a DNA profile for Michelle’s killer, but have yet to match it with an individual through CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System database program maintained by the FBI.

Within just a few short October days, these unsolved murders span 37 years with birth dates falling across four decades between 1961 and 2001.

For each one of us, our birthday is more important than Thanksgiving or Christmas or even New Year’s Day. These days are our days, and they are days five Iowans will never again celebrate.

Candles mark years as time goes by. Today, we light five candles to celebrate the lives of five magnificent young adults who, if given the opportunity, could have changed so many lives in so many ways.

Happy Birthday wishes to Lisa, Lyric, Jackie, Jared, and Michelle. Your candles will always burn bright. May they light the way as others journey forward in search of answers.

3 Responses to 5 Lost Birthdays

  1. Jana says:

    I don’t think the age on Lisa is how old she would be today, it’s how old she was right?

  2. The losses to their families, is not just, not having their loved one to pick them up and swing them around in a hug when that family member is low, but all that potential lost that would have helped so many that was lost when they were killed.

    Adam was trying to get our federal (USDA-NRCS) and Iowa FSA and IDNR to limit the application of Anhydrous Ammonia and CAFO Nitrogen fertilizers on the 50,000 acres that are now being illegally channeled too and drained down, an Aquifer Recharge Area’s sinkholes in Cedar (W) Township Mitchell County, Iowa.

    But he was stopped from doing that, now more Downstream, using the Upper Cedar Valley Group Aquifers for their Source Water, have had to sustain the cancers and other health issues caused as the Ammonia from those two very water soluble fertilizers reacting with the Chlorine to treat for the CAFO bacteria.

    These Nitrogen fertilizers are even more lethal than the Lead and Arsenic their Ammonia pulls into our Source Waters. But Lead and Arsenic are proven Carcinogens.

    • Adam Lack and his Dad’s Cold Case files got attention, but as their uncelebrated birthdays pass, people lose interest in our fight for Iowa’s Water Quality. And instead think our state and federal agencies are protecting us from the GREED of Big Oil Corps (that make Anhydrous Ammonia) or Industrial CAFO’s that sell these two Nitrogen fertilizers to some farmers or Corp Industrial Farms who apply it on Wetland areas that are drained by French Drains or Ag Drainage wells or sinkholes or potholes into our Source Waters. (Improper application on what should be restricted areas pollutes)

      This is why the well test data is being hidden in Iowa’s Hygienic Labs so the EPA can’t set a MCL for Anhydrous Ammonia Nitrogen fertilizer (Ammonia Nitrogen as N). Paul Johnson the former best IDNR Director published his report in 2000, and then was later removed as director. Now we are drinking both of those fertilizers almost statewide and our state tests at the highest levels in the Nation.

      Thank you Iowa Cold Cases for giving families a place to recognize what the effect of one person being killed so brutally, while he was trapped, allowed wells Downstream to be contaminated through parts of Mitchell, Floyd, Butler, Bremer, and the last year took out one of Waterloo’s wells in Black Hawk County in 2015. The Iowa Attorney General’s assistant says its to POLITICAL to say Iowan’s are drinking Anhydrous Ammonia Nitrogen fertilizer. Missed birthday’s for Adam and Gary Lack will create more medical expenses, and lost birthdays for others Downstream.

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