Alonzo Beghtel (Courtesy The Guthrian)

Alonzo Beghtel


Alonzo “Lon” Beghtel
81 YOA
West of Hwy 25
Guthrie Center, IA
Guthrie County
January 18, 1950

Alonzo “Lon” Beghtel, an 81-year-old retired farmer, was found beaten to death near his Guthrie Center, Iowa, home on Wednesday, January 18, 1950.

A 200-foot trail of blood led Guthrie County officials to Beghtel’s body, discovered around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, lying face down in a pool of blood in the D-X drive south of the tracks, just west of Highway 25 in Guthrie Center.

Guthrie County in Iowa
Guthrie County in Iowa
Guthrie Center in Guthrie CountyGuthrie Center in Guthrie County

Beghtel lived alone in a one-room house, and The Guthrian reported that he probably had been attacked some fifty yards from the spot where he fell in the drive.

Beghtel, who got by on his pension, clutched nine dollars in his hand.

The Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Robert E. “Bob” Blair investigated the case.

Courtesy The Gazette, Jan. 21, 1950

Courtesy The Gazette, Jan. 21, 1950

After convening a coroner’s jury, Beghtel’s cause of death was ruled a felonious assault.

In a Guthrian story published Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1950, Sheriff J.C. McCool said several important discoveries had been made over the weekend and provided seemingly good leads to the person or persons responsible for the crime.

Robert E. BlairCourtesy Iowa Dept. of Public Safety
Robert E. Blair, who later headed up the Iowa BCI, assisted the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office in investigating Alonzo Beghtel’s murder.

McCool said details of the evidence and naming of suspects couldn’t be revealed at the time because the case had not yet been solidified.

The 12-year Guthrie Center resident had been severely beaten about the head with a small, heavy instrument, and suffered bruises on the back of his hands and on his knees, the Guthrian reported.

Officials believed the octogenarian died primarily from loss of blood resulting from the blows to his head.

Three other factors that may have hastened his death, the paper said, were his age, two internal physical disorders and exposure.

The case did not shape up as McCool expected it would, and by month’s end the leads began to fail

The Guthrian published the following on Jan. 31, 1950:

Objects found near the scene of the crime and elsewhere were sent in last week to Des Moines for analysis. Several leads derived from the expected results of these tests were weakened, as far as building a case, when the tests showed “negative.”

Not all of the evidence compiled has been classified “negative,” power, said State Investigator Bob Blair. Blair and McCool are continuing full time investigation on the case and report that there are a good many leads that have not yet been exhausted.

~ The Guthrian, January 31, 1950

Despite a reward offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Beghtel’s death, the case went unsolved.

About Alonzo Beghtel

Alonzo Beghtel was born November 9, 1868, in Wabash, Indiana to William and Lydia (Rousey) Beghtel. He had two brothers, Jesse and Charlie, and four sisters: Stella, Josephine, Florence, and Effie.

alonzo-beghtel-gravestoneCourtesy photo FLH,
Alonzo Bechtel was laid to rest in the Monteith Cemetery in Guthrie County, Iowa.

He was united in marriage to Lucy Iona Halley on September 8, 1889, and the couple had eight children: sons Jesse and Clarence, and daughters Della, Myrtle, Lola, Blanch, Lena, and Hazel.

He was preceded in death by his wife, and three of his children: Della, Jesse and Myrtle.

Memorial services were held in Monteith on Friday, January 20, 1950.

Alonzo Bechtel was laid to rest in the family’s plot in the Monteith Cemetery in Guthrie County.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Alonzo Beghtel’s unsolved murder, please contact the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office at 641-747-2214.


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6 Responses to Alonzo Beghtel

  1. Diana Wilson says:

    I hate that there are crimes like this and that the families haven’t gotten closer. I do love reading about them and praying they get solved.

  2. I hope and pray that it can be solved. Your right Sherri Seago.

  3. Sherri Seago says:

    Just curious, has there ever been a story on here about the murdered man (I think they called him Chicken George) from Osceola/Clarke County? Or maybe it has been solved? Happened many years ago.

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