Adriel Ward

Adriel Ward

Adriel “AD” Ward


Adriel Thomas Ward
33 YOA
1700 block of Delaware Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa
Polk County
Investigating Agency: Des Moines Police Department
February 11, 2017


On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, Adriel Ward, 33, was shot at about 9:37 p.m. before he crashed into a utility pole in the 1700 block of Delaware Avenue on Des Moines’ northeast side. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died the next day.

No one has been arrested in the killing, and a police department spokesman has described the case as a “real whodunit.”

Story from

The following excerpt is from a Des Moines Register story written by Luke Nozicka and published on Jan. 1, 2018. 

Des Moines ends 2017 with most homicides since 1978

A need for closure

Emily Ward became nervous.

Her husband, Adriel, was an hour late for date night. The two, who met years earlier at East High School, had planned go to go Flix Brewhouse. Adriel, who was known as A.D., was a social butterfly; maybe he was talking with friends.

That’s when a news alert lit her phone: There had been a crash. It occurred where Adriel was supposed to be. She drove to the scene; A.D. was in the hospital, officers told her. It was the beginning of a year that Emily described as a blur.

Ward was shot at about 9:37 p.m. Feb. 11 before he crashed into a utility pole in the 1700 block of Delaware Avenue on the northeast side of the city. No one has been arrested. Parizek, a police spokesman, described the killing as “a real whodunit,” in which detectives have no viable suspects.

For Ward, not knowing keeps her up at night. At least once a month, Adriel’s 15-year-old daughter asks if police have caught her dad’s killer. They need closure, she said. As his wife, she feels obligated to find out what happened, but has not had much luck.

“I’ve learned to accept that I may never know,” she said. “It feels like a nightmare that never ends.”

It pains Ward to know that whoever killed her husband can go home to his or her family each night. His killer gets to celebrate birthdays and holidays while she struggles through them. She prays the person is caught, or that someone with information comes forward.

On top of the pain, the killing of a loved one can bring financial struggles. For Ward, that means selling her home. The move will be bittersweet; it’s strange being there without Adriel, but it’s also the home they bought together three years ago. She’s begun taking pictures down.

Seeing mutual friends has also become difficult. They don’t know how to talk to her. She thinks she makes them uncomfortable; she’s a reminder of their beloved, goofy friend. Sometimes, she thinks them seeing her ruins their days. She’d prefer a hug or a hello.

“People don’t know how to react to me,” she said. “It’s been a rough year.”

Copyright 2018 The Des Moines Register | All Rights Reserved

About Adriel Ward (from obituary)

Mr. “AD” Adriel Thomas Ward was born on March 26, 1983, to Ms. Pancheta R. Chapple and Mr. John R. Ward, Jr. in Pontiac, Michigan. He was baptized as an infant at Newman A.M.E. Church in Pontiac. Adriel moved to Des Moines, Iowa along with his brother at the age of 15. As a teenager, Adriel accepted Christ and attended Maple Street Baptist Church regularly with family members.

Adriel excelled academically and was an all-around athlete. During his senior year at East High School, he qualified and participated in the city’s Drake Relays. He successfully graduated from East High in 2001. Throughout his life, Adriel developed many skills but discovered his passion in Auto Body Painting. This led him to obtaining certification through DMACC and briefly establishing his own business. He further pursued a career as a Sheet Metal worker and became a member of Local 45. Most recently, he was in the learning and training process of his Journeyman’s License.

Adriel Ward was passionate about many other things and sought to master any project he became involved with. His greatest accomplishment and joy, however, was the birth of his daughter, Chantiana in 2002. He was a proud father and devoted his life to being her provider, protector and supporter, as he also shared her passion of softball. His second greatest accomplishment came in October 2015 when he asked and married his best friend and longtime companion, Emily, for whom his loyalty was unabridged, unbridled and his love for her knew no bounds.

Courtesy photo Katie Lou,
Adriel Ward is buried at the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.

Adriel was an avid lover of dogs, fishing, sports, paintball, hunting, riding his motorcycle and golfing (a sport for which he was self-taught). He had a charismatic personality and his sense of humor was magnetic. There was always a smile beaming from him and his laugh; PRICELESS and infectious. He was unselfish, while compassion and understanding exuded from his heart without fail. Adriel knew how to shine the light that God was burning inside of his spirit.

Mr. Adriel Ward, 33, passed away unexpectedly on February 12, 2017 in Des Moines, IA. He was preceded in death by his brother, Anthony Ward and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John Ward, Sr.

Adriel “AD” Ward leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Mrs. Emily Ward of Des Moines, IA; his adorable daughter, Chantiana Ward of Des Moines, IA; his parents, Ms. Pancheta R. Chapple of Pontiac, MI and Mr. John R. Ward, Jr. of Waterford, MI; step-mother, Andrea Ward of Waterford, MI; one sister, Amanda Spann of Pontiac, MI; three brothers, John Ward, III, James Ward and William Smith, all of Pontiac, MI; his favorite uncle, Mr. Marvin Ward of Des Moines, IA; uncles, Mr. Michael Western of Des Moines, IA, and Edward Chapple of Flint, MI; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.

Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, February 20th at Henderson’s Highland Park Funeral Home in the chapel with the family present from 3 to 5 p.m. Services will be held 11 a.m., Tuesday, February 21st at Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines with a visitation one hour prior to service. His interment will follow at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to later determine a honorable and charitable use in memory of “AD”.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Information Needed

Des Moines police are asking anyone with information about any unsolved homicides to call them at 515-283-4811 or anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 515-223-1400.



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