Barbara Elms

Barbara Elms (Courtesy Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Barbara Lee Elms

Missing Person

Name: Barbara Lee Elms
Age at Report: 50 YOA
Date of Birth: April 2, 1943
Weight: 150 lbs.
Height: 5′ 03″
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Green/Hazel
Missing From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
Investigating Agency: Cedar Rapids Police Department
Case Number: 93019256
NamUs MP # 17054
NCIC Number: M-669943429
Fingerprints: Available
Classification: Endangered Missing / Disabled
Date Reported Missing: August 25, 1993


Linn County in Iowa
Linn County in Iowa
Cedar Rapids in Linn CountyCedar Rapids in Linn County

Barbara Lee Elms was reported missing to the Cedar Rapids Police Department on August 25, 1993.

She was last seen heading toward First Avenue East, wearing white shorts, a multicolored blouse, black hose, hi-top sneakers, and a Walkman with earphones.

The 50-year-old Cedar Rapids woman had prior episodes of leaving for days at a time, but those times lasted only a few days and she always took along all her jewelry, makeup and clothes.

Elms was separated from her husband seven years prior to her disappearance and her mental illness had been increasing. He took steps to finalize a divorce in the summer of 1993, but promised he would continue to support his wife.

There is no indication at Elms’ residence that she took belongings for a trip. She did not take her purse, identification, or clothes. Soup that she apparently planned to eat on the day she disappeared was left out.

Elms had endured episodes of mental illness and consumption of prescription medication and alcohol. She had no fixed income, but refused to apply for help. Instead, she chose to work the garbage containers behind First Avenue East with friends.

Her ex-husband helped with rent, food and a little spending money. She dressed oddly and often mixed a dance step or a twirl into her paces along the strip on First Avenue East between Coe College and the Hy-Vee store. The fear of change in her life may have sent her on the run.

The ex-husband and daughter thinks she may be a bag lady in some other city. Just one month before Elms disappeared, she was sprayed with a chemical, hit over the head, and robbed of cigarettes in a southeast Cedar Rapids park.

A DNA sample has been submitted and tests are complete.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Barbara Elms’ disappearance, please contact Lt. Craig Furnish at the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5478.


5 Responses to Barbara Elms

  1. Robin lee Beggs Volpa says:

    This is my sister

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Robin, I’m so sorry there are still no answers in your sister’s unsolved disappearance. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be “not knowing” after all these years.

      If there’s any other information (or any other photos) you’d like to see included on your sister’s page, please feel free to contact me directly at jody at, and I’ll ensure it gets posted here.

      My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Notelling says:

    Has anyone tried to write letters to the mental health departments / shelters and churches of each state she coukd likely be with two part letters?
    The first letter would acknowledge respect for privacy and would be addressed to the social workers. The second would be directly to her and should include a promise of respect of privacy as well. Both would include a plea for confirmation of life.

  3. Bruceseifert says:

    I think the one who had robbed her 1 month before is a goodvsuspect

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