Lee County in Iowa
Lee County in Iowa
Keokuk in Lee CountyKeokuk in Lee County

Arthur Leon Ransford


Arthur Leon Ransford
36 YOA
Case # 84-02367
Disappeared from Rural Route M
Keokuk, IA
November 22, 1983
Body found south of Montrose, IA
Lee County
May 13, 1984


Case information provided by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
Arthur Leon Ransford, a 36-year-old Vietnam veteran, went missing from his Keokuk, Iowa home in Lee County on Tuesday, November 22, 1983. His wife reported him missing Thanksgiving Day.

Montrose in Lee County

Montrose in Lee County

On Sunday, May 13, 1984, Ransford’s body was found about two miles south of Montrose, enclosed in a large yellow bag and buried under cement blocks in a wooded area overlooking the Mississippi River.

The father of two had been shot in the head before being bagged and buried on the river bluff.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) investigated the homicide.

DCI Chief Thomas Ruxlow said officials positively identified Ransford’s remains on Friday, May 18, 1984, using fingerprints.

Courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 19, 1984

Courtesy The Gazette, May 19, 1984

When the DCI established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Arthur Ransford’s murder was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit ran out in December 2011, the DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases. The DCI will continue to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to Iowa’s cold cases and continues to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

About Arthur Ransford

Arthur Leon Ransford was born March 20, 1947 in Memphis, Missouri, in Scotland County to Thelma Maxine (Long) and William Byron Ransford.

He served in the Army during the Vietnam War, and was survived by his wife, a daughter, and a son, Michael Ransford.

Military rites were conducted May 22, 1984, with interment following in the Keokuk National Cemetery for Veterans.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Arthur Ransford’s unsolved murder please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 372-1152, (319) 524-1414 or 1-800-382-8900, or contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or via email at dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us.



25 Responses to Arthur Ransford

  1. LakeLife says:

    Praying they catch the person or persons who did this!
    I think the person or people who did this prepared for it since they got a rug & other items to try to conceal the body.

  2. Jim says:

    I am in my 70s and grew up in the area. I am well aware of the gambling in K-town. The 400 Club was owned by Jay Hickey and was one of the oldest gambling establishments in town. Yes, it had a 2nd floor. Jay was a well like man and I know of no trouble at the club. It was said he ran an honest game.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    A couple of thoughts. It wonder what sort of building was thee that collapsed, where Mr. Ransford, was found. Also, I assume that this might have been a building related to the state park. This appears to be a somewhat isolated area, and who would have known the building had collapsed

    Jack, I know that he was unemployed for some time. But, I wonder what he had did when he was working, and where he might have worked. I wonder why he first wife divorced him, and why. I might be trying to fill in Mr. Ransford’s background. Where know he was a veteran, and married twice. He might have been dealing with PTSD, and maybe health issues from Agent Orange.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jack, do we need a road trip, to visit the area. I find it interesting that a police department in Western Illinois, that is using billboards to highlight a missing person case for a young girl. It appears they are trying to shame the person or persons involved to come forward. Maybe we can do something similar in Keokuk, and stir things up.

    • Matt says:

      Patrick. And Jack. I worked with a man who is recently deceased that was from Memphis Missouri and had known Artie up until his death. He swears up and down it had to do with an illegal high stake card game in an upstairs of a Keokuk bar. I can not verify all info related to me other then this Bar is well know for it’s illegal gambling. I am not sure how familiar you two are with keokuk, but it It has distant mafia ties, and a long history of corruption in the local police dept. This man who passed swore that Artie was murdered of a card game(that he had one). It was said to be committed by an ex keokuk police office that was involved with another shooting out in that area. Since the office has passed but the card game loser is still alive, and would scare the hell out of my employee every time he walked through the door. And at that time the bar was in the process of being renovated.

      • Patrick Kerrigan says:

        Matt, thanks for the information. I am not from that neck of the woods. I live in the most corrupt state across the Mississippi. However, I am quite familiar with the Mafia, being that I live in the Chicagoland area.

        So I am quite familiar with the murders committed by the Chicago Mob, over the years. In fact the head of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice unit, was mobbed up, and conducted many raids. However, they knew ahead of time he and the boys were coming.

      • Jack Jackson says:


        Thanks for taking the time to post here. First of all, I want to let you know I appreciate the fact that you took the time to share this information. Second, I want you to know I believe you when you say your friend shared that story with you.

        I’m really thankful for Jody and all the time she puts into this website. Without her efforts, most of these Iowa cold cases would go unnoticed. We’d have no way to connect with people like you who might have important information about a case.

        Now, I can’t speak for Patrick, but as for me personally: I’m not a police officer. While I’m sincerely thankful for the information you shared here, the best way to help bring justice to this case is to follow Jody’s instructions in the article: please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 372-1152. At worst, the information you’ve shared will not produce any new leads. You never know though: this information could break the case wide open and help the police solve a decades-old cold case. As you can see here, not much has happened with this case in the last thirty years. You’ll be hurting nothing by submitting a tip, and who knows, you might help solve this thing.

        Like Patrick, I’m not local to the Keokuk area. Therefore, while a lot of the information you shared might make sense to someone from that area, I have no personal experience to compare it against. With that said, I did my best to research the information you shared with the resources I have available.

        You said that the murder had to do with a card game that occurred at a Keokuk bar known for its illegal gambling services. I took that information and attempted to compile a list of bars in Keokuk that might have been associated with illegal gambling in 1983. At that point, the population would have been around 13,000 people. I would have expected very few problems with gambling, but I was wrong. I found reports of two major law enforcement raids on illegal gambling operations in that time period, occurring in 1973 and 1981, respectively. The 1973 raid turned up such operations at eight bars and one private business in Keokuk. These included the Tipenbud Grill, the P.J. Tap, Joe’s 400 Club, the local chapter of the Eagles Club, Harrington’s Lounge and Restaurant, the Draft House, the Shack, the Six Pack, and Bottger Novelty Company. The 1981 raid resulted in arrests and seizures at three bars: the 400 Club, Harrington’s Lounge and Restaurant, and the Tee Pee Lounge. With so many bars in the town involved with illegal gambling, including two which were the targets of multiple raids, it is difficult for non-locals such as myself to narrow down which one your friend might have been referring to. However, I chose to focus on the establishments targeted in the 1981 raid because they were closer in time to the victim’s death, and because two of the three were repeat-offenders in the illegal gambling business.

        Unfortunately, I was unable to determine the location of Joe Hickey’s 400 Club despite it having existed in Keokuk for many years. However, I was able to locate both Harrington’s and the Tee Pee because both still exist.

        I wanted to locate their addresses because you said your friend told you specifically that the illegal card game took place at the “upstairs” of the bar in question. Therefore, only bars which had at least two floors could have possibly been the location where the game took place. Unfortunately, both of the two bars I was able to able to locate from the 1981 raid were located in building which have more than one floor, so I wasn’t able to rule out either of them. On the bright side, all of this reflects well on the veracity of your friend’s story. There were many bars in Keokuk involved with illegal gambling at that time, and at least two of them had an upstairs level where gambling activities could have taken place.

        I did my best to follow up on the information you provided regarding one of the principals being a former Keokuk police offer who was involved in a separate shooting incident. Although I found about a half-dozen reports of shootings in Keokuk around that time, I wasn’t able to connect any of the perpetrators with former police service. Just because I couldn’t locate the information though, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        With all of that in mind I would like to offer two thoughts I have on the story your friend provided. First, it is important to remember that while a gambling incident may have served as the impetus for the crime, the murder probably didn’t occur at the bar. Recall that contemporary reports said that the body was clad only in shorts, and that the hands and feet were bound. At risk of sounding morbid, I would propose that it only makes sense to bind the hands and feet of a living person who could offer resistance (i.e., fight back). Further, unless the perpetrators had some bizarre motivation to undress the victim, it would seem he was kidnapped from his own home, where he might have been dressed as described (e.g., while sleeping). Thus, an illegal gambling incident certainly provides a potential motive, but don’t dispense with the possibility that the crime itself occurred elsewhere.

        Secondly, I would like to note that Mr. Ransford had apparently been unemployed for quite some time prior to his death. One would expect that this would have had an effect on his spending habits. Now, I acknowledge the existence of gambling addictions and also the fact that people with lower incomes are in fact the primary consumers of gambling entertainment.. however, it is worth noting that the victim’s life situation probably precluded participation in “high stakes” gambling. Recall that this was a long-term unemployed individual living in Keokuk, Iowa, not a trust-fund socialite from the Hamptons.
        Gambling is the perfect opportunity for conflict between individuals, and so I bring up the above points simply to propound the notion that the dispute you mentioned may have been related to a regular, everyday gambling event, rather than one involving high stakes.

        Patrick, to answer your questions: Scotland County, Missouri is about an hour west of Keokuk, Iowa. If you really, truly want to take a drive with me to Keokuk to shake the bushes, I’d be happy to oblige although I wouldn’t wish an hour in the car with me on my worst enemy. I think Matt has provided a great lead, and I hope he shares it with the Keokuk police. Either way, a trip to Keokuk would be a great opportunity to catch sacrament over at Nauvoo on a Sunday. You just let me know if that’s what you really want to do.

        – Jack

        • Patrick Kerrigan says:

          Jack, I like the research you did in regards to the information provided by Matt. I agree with your theory that Arthur being unemployed would not be involved in high stakes gambling. So, maybe he crossed path’s with these individuals and they must have felt he was a threat to them.

          A road trip will have to wait for better weather, then currently being visited upon us living in the Midwest. I am hoping it will be better in March.

          I still wonder about the second wife. She divorces him a few days after reporting him missing. To me that would attract a lot of attention to me. I don’t know if he had any kind of assets that she could have been eligible to receive if he was deceased.

          Also, it would be interesting to know if wife number #2, was involved with this former law enforcement officer. It might explain the delay in reporting him missing and the need to divorce him.

          Also, who else was shot by this former police officer. There is a former Chicago Police Officer who became a sort of hit man for the Chicago Mob. The fed went after him big time.

  5. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jack, Arthur Leon Ransford, was born in Scotland County, Missouri, where his Social Security Number 497-52-4675, was issued in 1964. I don’t know where that is in relation to Keokuk, Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army from May 10, 1966 to May 9, 1968. This is according to Social Security Death Index and Application & Claims and his VA BIRLS Death File.

  6. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jack, I was thinking about the stuff including the plastic, bricks and cement blocks. It would give the impression that they came from a construction site. However, you would not expect in one sense to see a rug there, especially if a new house was being built. A new rug would get damaged sitting outside. I don’t think that their were bricks and cement blocks in the area, where his body was found.

    The binding of the hands, feet and waist, makes me wonder. It sort would take time, after shooting him, to bind him, wrap him in a rug and then the plastic sheeting. It sorts of points to his murder as something planned. Also, the second wife, decides to seek a divorce three days after disappearance. That makes me suspicious big time. She was only married to him for a month. Did she fall out of love that fast. She supposedly married him for a reason.

    I wonder if he was getting any disability from his service in Vietnam. Also, if what he did he do when he was working. Since, there are not a lot of jobs, in the civilian world, that requires a background as a combat infantryman.

    I did not contact the cemetery. I was resting up from dealing with nice slush/snow we got Sunday into Monday morning. I do the snow removal for a number of neighbors. I was out chopping up ice in a neighbors driveway. This was complements of the snow plows, where I live in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

    I was looking at the area on Google Earth at the library earlier. I saw the spillway or whatever it is just above what should be U.S. Highway 136. I was wondering why the offender or offenders did not dump his body in the Mississippi, and let it drift way with the current. The water would have eliminated some forensic evidence.

    • Jake says:

      This was my uncle’s (Michael’s)father and we were told that he was wrapped in a rug that was the same rug missing from his second wife’s (whom he was still married to and lived with) home. The rug was missing when she was questioned by police.

  7. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jack, thanks for the details. The fact that his body was wrapped in a rug is interesting. I wonder if the rug is old or new. It could in a sense point to him being killed in a location such as a home being built or remodeled. I would lean to a place being remodeled.

    It makes me wonder if the evidence has been retested because of the new forensic testing available. You figure that the bindings and plastic might provide something useful.

    I looked at the picture of the headstone, and noticed the death date damage. Since, it is a VA cemetery they are the ones who made the headstone, and are responsible for the upkeep. They also provide a headstone for veterans buried in civilian cemetery. However, they normally provide a flatstone.

    I may give them a call and they can check it out. Maybe they can replace it.

    Did he live on Rural Route M, or in the city of Keokuk.

  8. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jack, thanks for the information. He fills in a few blanks. But, a lot of unanswered questions. His wife reports him missing, and then files paperwork seeking a divorce, after being married for a month. That’s real nice. Makes me wonder why she married him.

    As a veteran and former employee of the VA, I would expect that he had issues from his time in Vietnam. This could explain his not having close relationships. However, I wonder if he ever went to the VA for any kind of help or medical treatment.

    Also. I wonder if anyone followed up on the yellow in color 39 gallon trash bags that Theresa mentioned in 2012. I don’t think the manufacturer would have sales records going back that far.

    I get frustrated that they don’t mention what caliber of firearm that was used to murder him. Also. I would assume that he was shot someone else and his body buried there. So, I wonder if where his body was found is a well traveled area, or off the beaten track.

    • Jack Jackson says:


      I don’t think that the bags Theresa mentioned are relevant. Jody’s write-up says that the body was in a yellow bag, but it doesn’t say that it was a “trash bag”. I think the information from the Des Moines Register illustrates why it probably wasn’t a 39 gallon trash bag:

      “Mushroom hunters had found a billfold in the area before discovering the body, which was clad only in shorts, wrapped first in a rug and then in a sheet of plastic and then covered with bricks and concrete blocks. The hands and feet were tied, and there was binding around the waist […]”

      I seriously doubt a body concealed inside a rug would fit into a 39 gallon trash bag. It sounds like the plastic used was almost more of a home improvement or construction type product.

      Also, the use of the rug, I think, answers your question about where the murder occurred — probably elsewhere if they used a rug to conceal the body before burying it.

      Jody’s post says the body was found about two miles south of Montrose in a wooded area — there seems to be pretty much only one area that fits this description: Galland School State Park Reserve, and the associated sections of land. It contains a stretch of trees adjacent to the road which follows the Mississippi river from Keokuk to Montrose (Mississippi River Road, AKA County Road X28), laying approximately across the river from Nauvoo, Illinois. If you drove out of Keokuk going north on that road you would eventually be driving alongside the treeline (opposite the river). The trees are on/on top of a hill, and the road is at the bottom of it next to the river. In certain areas, the road is slightly further from the river and there are smaller treelines which separate the two. I would say the park section of these trees is off the beaten path in the sense that a road does not run through it, but on the other hand, Mississippi River Rd does run next to it for its entire length on the east side. The area is also somewhat populated (in a rural Iowa sense), probably due to its proximity to the river. It was apparently visited by mushroom hunters, so was not too inaccessible, it seems. There are public places to park, e.g., a “rest area”, though I’m not sure if that was there in 1983. Here is a link to that if you want to see it: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.499471,-91.3753428,3a,75y,112.03h,83.76t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWSX8p9oMWv_9lIegigZKWw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?shorturl=1

      I found something I think is very interesting. I found a picture of the victim’s grave marker on the internet. It is a military headstone in Keokuk National Cemetery. Here is what I think is irregular: the stone has been damaged and altered. Whether those two things are related I don’t know. It has gouges and breaks on the face and edges, but most interestingly, it almost looks like someone has crudely filled in the death death inscription with DIY cement. You can still see “NOV 22” under the cement, if you look closely. I wonder what precipitated this. Probably not important, but caught my eye. You can see for yourself at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80266525/arthur-leon-ransford

      • Michelle Caldwell-Pierce says:

        My husband grew up in Montrose and he thinks the body was found on the border of Bluff Park subdivision and Camp Lookout near the bottom of the hill. He also told me at the time of the murder, the rumors were that it was a mob hit from Chicago or St Louis and it had something to do with drugs. Now that he is older, he doubts that story is true because it is doubtful anyone from out of the area would have found the area where the body was left.

        • Jack Jackson says:

          Based on the information you shared, the location your husband remembers is within the boundaries of the area I mentioned above. Such a specific location on the border of two plats would be an odd thing to remember if he hadn’t actually heard it somewhere, so, I’ve got no arguments against it.

          Back when this happened, the area your husband is talking about was definitely wooded as it is today, but nowhere near as thick in growth. In fact, that particular property boundary was accessible by car, it appears, not only from the south via a path from the subdivision, but also from the north on a driveway off the river road.

          The is a link to an aerial photograph of that location take on March 15, 1985, less than one year after the victim’s body was found:


          That spot isn’t as easily accessed these days:


          The information you provided is useful because it helps explain how the body may have been transported, and not only that, why it was in an area accessible to mushroom hunters — it literally had a path running through it which connected to a road at either end.

          I’m not so sure on the whole mob hit thing. I think that we’d have a lot more information about the victim’s personal life if he was somehow involved with activities merited the mob getting involved (i.e., a history of crime). I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’ve not seen anything to corroborate the idea yet.

          As for the location information, thank you for that. It certainly provides something to consider.

          You said your husband was from the area. Any chance he’d recall the location of a bar called the 400 Club in Keokuk back in those days?

          – Jack

          • Michelle Caldwell Pierce says:

            The 400 club was located at 400 Main St.

            I found a photo of where the body was found in the May 14, 1984 Fort Madison Daily Democrat. It was found in the foundation of a collapsed building near the Bluff Park subdivision.

            • Patrick Kerrigan says:

              Michelle, thanks for the information. However, the information mentions a subdivision. It sort of gives the impression that there were houses in the area. Yet, it appears that his remains were found in what I assume is a state park or preserve.

              The foundation of a collapsed building might go along with the debris that he was hidden under. However, it does not explain the rug and the yellow plastic sheeting.

              Also, a historian from the Keokuk area, supposedly collected information on all the unsolved murders in that area, according to a 2018 newspaper article. Supposedly, the material is at the library in Fort Madison.

              I agree with Jack, about the Mob connection to his murder. But, then if he was unemployed then he might have been attracted to being involved with something illegal to make a few bucks. It could be that he heard or saw something that put him jeopardy.

              It’s nice to have another person, providing more information about the area, and possible reasons for his murder.

              • Michelle Caldwell Pierce says:

                If you have access to newspaperarchives.com you can read the series of articles published in the Democrat. Here are the quotes from the articles:

                May 14, 1984 “Arnold said the location where the body was found apparently was not where the person died. It appears it is where the body was dumped…The body was found under a pile of concrete blocks and other debris, apparently from a building that had stood in the area. The site is a wooded area about a mile south of Montrose near the Bluff Park subdivision…Dr. Torres said that the only part of the body protruding from under the concrete was part of the head. The rest of the body was covered by bricks, he said. He said that they site could be classified as a ‘shallow grave’.”

                May 15, 1984 “The body was found under a pile of concrete blocks and other debris, apparently from a building that once stood in the area. The site is off of Middle Road at the end of a lane and overlooks the Mississippi River from the bluff.”

                May 17, 1984 “The body of a white man in his mid-30s was found in the foundation of a building that once stood in a secluded area about one mile south of Montrose on top of a Mississippi River bluff.”

                The May 15th article also had some other interesting details:

                “Dr. Torres said the body was clad only in underwear and socks and was wrapped first in a rug and then in a sheet of plastic. The body was carefully wrapped and placed. The hands and feet were tied and there was binding around the waist. Dr. Torres said. He said the bullet entered the skull between the ear and the top of the head on the right side. It was lodged in th right side of the neck, he said. He died from multiple fractures of the skull. Dr. Torres said.”

                It is unlikely that the body would have been dumped in the Galland School Preserve. My husband said the area was fenced at the time (he said he believes that it is still fenced, but I never personally noticed the fence and we no longer live in the area so I can’t check.) making it difficult to access. Mushroom hunters also would not have been in a state preserve.

                • Jack Jackson says:

                  This is all great information. In regard to the Galland School State Park Preserve, you’re correct on all points. Apparently, Google Maps has some inaccurate information in its listing. It shows that the wooded area we’ve been discussing is the “preserve”. I looked into it and apparently the state park just the tiny plot of rest stop land, and the “preserve” is in reference to preserving the replica schoolhouse, not an area of land (e.g., the wooded area of land Google calls the park). So, thank you for correcting that misnomer — the area of land we’ve been discussing has nothing to do with Galland School State Park Preserve, which is some distance away from the place mentioned in the newspaper article you quoted.

                  I appreciate the information regarding the location of the 400 Club. In retrospect, it totally makes sense. As an outsider, I didn’t realize that the name was a pun regarding the physical address as opposed to a reference to other groups/entities/etc. which had the same name. It appears that building also has two floors, meaning that, unfortunately, the previous poster’s information about rumors surrounding this case cannot be used to identify the alleged location of the death, nor rule out some of the alternatives. This is because, apparently, in those days not just one, but rather several bars in Keokuk had a reputation for hosting illegal gambling activities, and all of them had two floors. Thus there are at minimum three locations which meet the provided description perfectly.

                  Thank you for posting the information from those articles. I’m glad to see that they confirmed my hypothesis from an earlier post that the death did not occur where the body was found. That makes sense, because it explains why a rug would have been involved – concealing the transportation of the body to and from a vehicle.

                  More interesting is that the articles you posted seem to cast a new light on the nature of the burial. Previously, this sounded like a professional job of sorts: a body wrapped in a rug, covered in plastic, buried with a layer of bricks. In reality, it sounds a lot more like the perpetrator(s) were unprepared for the events that unfolded and made a shoddy attempt to hide the body using stuff that happened to be laying around the dump site. In fact, it’d seem they really didn’t even do that great a job, because part of the body was visible above-ground according to the article. To me, all of this suggests that this killing wasn’t probably planned well in-advance. It possibly means that it wasn’t planned at all. Whereas at first it looked like a calculated event, I’m really starting to doubt that. It sounds more like something which occurred in the heat of the moment. Maybe there’s some truth to the gambling story after all?

                  Something else sticks out too. The area you described, off Middle Rd., is nowhere near as easily accessed or well-traveled as the one we talked about in our previous posts (which would have been accessible right off the main highway). Instead, it would seem much, much more likely that the perpetrator(s) were familiar with the area and knew of this particular spot. I would not be surprised to learn that whoever killed the victim had some sort of ties to it. In fact, it looks like maybe there was a trailer park at that location in the 1970s and 1980s – it is possible that the individual responsible either lived there themselves or knew people who did.

                  I’m not sure if we’re getting somewhere with all of this or not. But I feel like I’m getting a better idea of some of the circumstances. The population of Montrose was under 1,000 residents at the time of the victim’s death. Even though people his age would be in their 70s now, I’m willing to bet there are plenty of people who remember this case. If we’ve learned this much through just what you’ve shared, I wonder what we could learn with a little social media exposure. Just a thought.

                  – Jack

      • Melanie Wood says:

        Yeah that’s weird. It looks like his date of death was Nov. 26th was altered. At least that’s what it looks like on the stone. I have never seen that before. Why wouldn’t the Cemetary make a new stone?. That’s a military cemetery stone.

        • Patrick Kerrigan says:

          Melanie , I worked for the VA, but not at one if their cemeteries. They are in a sense, a separate part of the agency. So, if a stone is damaged then may have a policy on replacing it, but not sure.

          If he had a family, and they saw it was damaged, then hopefully they could request it be replaced. But, it has to be the exact same type of stone.

          A visit to a VA cemetery shows all the stones are the same, normally in a uniform row.

          All local veterans organization such as the VFW and the American Legion, usually have enough clout to get the VA’s attention, in regards to the stone being replaced.

  9. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Theresa, that’s a great lead you developed there. One question is where is this company located. It would be a long shot if they still had records of sales from back then.

    Also, I would hope that the local police would have looked at that. Since, a would seem odd to place his body in a yellow bag, and then try to hide it a wooded area under some cinder blocks.

    I would think someone local would have remembered seeing yellow bags being used by someone. I was over at a neighbor’s house earlier this evening. One of the family members was flipping through the channels on the television and she stopped on a football game, most likely a college game. One of the teams was wearing yellow uniforms. It stuck out like a sore thumb, as they say.

    Also, there is no information on the caliber of the firearm used. Also, not much on his background, besides having served in Vietnam, being married and having two kids. We don’t know what he was doing on Thanksgiving Day, when he disappeared. We don’t know what he did for a living.

    • Jack Jackson says:


      According to the Des Moines Register on May 19, 1984, and the Quad-City Times on May 20, 1984, it isn’t clear what he was doing on Thanksgiving Day. His mother said he failed to contact her that day. He was married, but note that the kids were not from his marriage at the time of his death. He had been married for five years to his first wife before they were divorced. He got married to his second wife the month before he disappeared. Three days after he disappeared, his second wife filed for divorce (prior to his body being discovered, of course). He had been unemployed for an extended period of time prior to his disappearance.

      His mother described him as someone who didn’t have a lot of close relationships and wasn’t particularly social. She wasn’t aware he had been reported missing until after she had been told his body had been found. Her other sons (Ransford’s brothers) had known, but chose not to tell their mother about it so as not to “worry” her.

  10. Theresa says:

    Wondering if this is a lead. This company has been in business since 1970. Could possibly produce a list of fund raisers in the area and then the fund raisers may still have a listing of all who ordered.

    39-Gallon “Yellow”
    Fundraising Trash Bags
    Bags Sell For $12.00 Per Roll
    Cost Per Roll (call for price -1-800-821-8466)

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