Jody Ewing

Iowa Cold Cases Founder & President

Jody is a writer and cold case journalist based in southwest Iowa. She began writing at age eight, both penning and illustrating her dog-napping short story, “The Mystery of Kalo’s Disappearance.” She has worked for The Sioux City Journal and Weekender and has more than 500 published feature stories and articles unrelated to cold cases.

Jody Ewing

She launched the Iowa Cold Cases website (originally at in 2005 after working on a Sioux City cold case series. A website that began as a handful of cases from the Siouxland area now includes over 750 unsolved cases across the state, many still queued up to add. Iowa Cold Cases incorporated as a nonprofit agency in April 2010.

Two years after launching the site, Jody’s stepfather of 25 years—Earl Thelander of Onawa, IA—died from burns sustained in an explosion caused by copper thieves. Jody added her stepdad’s name to the ICC site in 2008 after officials announced his case had gone cold. It remains unsolved today.

Jody is the author of One Way: Bumps and Detours on the Road to Adulthood, a collection of humorous and inspirational essays about childhood and growing up. When not researching/writing about cold cases, Jody is steadily shaving chapters from her 120,000-word memoir and piecing together a tighter, sharper story.

Jody graduated magna cum laude from Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (concentrations in Communications, Social Science, and Professional Studies) and a Criminal Justice Studies minor. In early 2015, she partnered with the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) in a year-long “Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s Unsolved Murders” series, and in September 2015 was named a “Friend of Iowa Newspapers,” an honor conferred by INA board members to those who’ve made significant contributions to the newspaper industry in Iowa.

In November 2015, international grand reporter Karen Lajon of Paris profiled Jody’s work in a special “Women of the World” series featuring five women from around the globe who chose unconventional career fields and succeeded by inspiring others to get involved and make a difference.

In March 2017, Siouxland News presented Jody with a Jefferson Award Foundation medal, an award given in recognition of outstanding public service. That same month, Jody received her Private Investigator’s (PI) license through the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Her work with cold cases is featured in Silvia Pettem’s 2017 book, The Long Term Missing: Hope and Help for Families.

After a breast cancer diagnosis and complications following treatment, Jody chose not to renew her PI license but never stopped working on cold cases. While she added more victims to the ICC database and website, her friend and fellow ICC board member, Carol Kean, handled the daily anniversary cases posted on the site’s respective Facebook page.

Jody has three grown children, loves to bicycle and explore parks, and is an avid reader and dog lover.

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