Brandy Shepherd (Photo Courtesy Heather Brokaw and KCRG)

Brandy Shepherd

Suspicious — Undetermined

Brandy Shepherd
29 YOA
Henry County Farm Field
Near 1200 block of Iowa Highway 78
Wayland, Iowa
Went Missing: August 2, 2019
Body Found: Friday, August 9, 2019

 
Brandy Mae Shepherd-Margita, 29, of Anamosa, Iowa, was found dead in a Henry County farm field west of Wayland near Highway 78 on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Wayland in Henry County (Wikipedia)

The mother of four young children had been missing since August 2.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office said a farmhand found her body around noon while checking on livestock and the property’s fence line.

Though the sheriff’s office didn’t release information about how long Shepherd-Margita had been dead, they stated that “no risk to the public exists,” The Gazette posted on August 13, 2019.

Shepherd-Margita’s four children — ages 9, 5, 3, and 11 months — were taken in for care by Brandy’s mother, Heather Brokaw of Oxford Junction.

Wayland, a town of about 1,000 people, is about 45 miles southwest of Iowa City.

This Google map shows the distance between Anamosa to Wayland, Iowa.

Shepherd-Margita had been staying with friends near Mount Pleasant about 100 miles away from Anamosa, station KWQC reported on Aug. 30. Her friends reported her missing, and a few days later authorities found her body a few feet behind a fence on private property off I-78.

On August 12, the body was confirmed to be Shepherd-Margita. Police said they were able to make the identification pretty quickly based on piercings and body features.

Authorities told KWQC there weren’t any obvious signs of suicide or homicide but were awaiting results from an autopsy and toxicology report.

DCI Special Agent in Charge Richard Rahn described the death as “suspicious,” stating the investigation remains active, reported the Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. 

“We are continuing to collect data and interview people,” he said. “We need to figure out what happened.”

The day before her daughter’s body was found, Heather Brokaw posted on Facebook that her daughter had been missing since August 2, and asked anyone who had information to come forward.

Two days later, Brokaw announced her daughter was dead.

“I have sad, sad news,” she wrote. “They found Brandy’s body in a field in southeast Iowa yesterday. My baby girl is gone. She will be missed terribly by her family and especially her (four) little babies.”

In the same post, Brokaw indicated her daughter might have had a problem with drug addiction, pleading for those who “need help with drug addiction” to “find a way.”

On August 13 — four days after her daughter’s body was found — Brokaw shared memories of her daughter on Facebook, stating Shepherd-Margita’s favorite color was orange and her favorite flower was the lotus. She also “loved to draw and color and write down her thoughts.”

“Her favorite character was Betty Boop,” Brokaw wrote. “When she got her first Betty Boop doll for her 4th birthday she said, ‘Ooooo, sexy woman!’ I’ll never forget that.”

Case Remains Mystery

Henry County Sheriff
Rich McNamee

On Tuesday morning, October 8, 2019, Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee issued a statement saying that the autopsy was back but that it wasn’t much help in solving the case.

According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety that day, the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Shepherd-Margita’s cause of death as “undetermined.”

Examiners said they were conducting additional toxicology testing.

Richard Rahn, the DCI special agent in charge handling the case, could not say if Shepherd-Margita suffered any trauma, citing the ongoing investigation, the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday, October 8, 2019. 

“Any time there’s an unintended death, we’ll come in and look at it,” he told The Register. “It’s suspicious in nature with where she was found and how she was found. We need to find out what led up to her death.”

About Brandy Shepherd (from obituary)

Brandy Mae Shepherd, 29, of Oxford Junction, Iowa, died during the first week of August, 2019.

A memorial service celebrating her life was held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 18, 2019 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Oxford Junction, Iowa. Due to cremation, there was no visitation.

Brandy Mae was born on March 21, 1990 in Riverdale, Georgia, to John and Heather (Baker) Shepherd Jr. She graduated from West Delaware High School. She had four children and they were her life. Outside of being a mother, she enjoyed arts and crafts and scrapbooking.

Those left to honor her memory include her parents, Heather (Frederick) Brokaw of Oxford Junction, IA, and John Shepherd Jr.; her children, Magdelena “Maggie” Brokaw, Dylan Brokaw, Beckett Brokaw and Lucille Shepherd, all of Oxford Junction, IA; brothers Joshua (Jenny) Shepherd of Monmouth, IA, and Michael Shepherd of Monticello, IA; and step-sisters, Emily (Ryane) Griffey of Oxford Junction, IA, and Ericka (Lance) Brokaw of Newhall, IA.

The Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa helped with caring for the family; online condolences were accepted at www.CarsonAndSon.com.

Information Needed

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office is working the case with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Both agencies continue to work all leads developed as part of the investigation. Both agencies encourage anybody with information about the investigation into the death of Ms. Shepherd-Margita to call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 385-2712 or the DCI at (563) 284-9506.

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