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Photos Courtesy Cindy Poffenberger
Robert “Corey” Poffenberger was shot and killed early Friday morning October 24, 2003, in the driveway of his 2211 East 37th St. home in Des Moines.
The 30-year-old Mediacom employee had been shot several times in the chest, and was found outside the open door of his vehicle, the car still idling.
Poffenberger’s wallet was left untouched, and officials found nothing missing from his home.
Poffenberger had bought the home — a bank forfeiture — just five months earlier from Wells Fargo Bank.
There has never been any significant clues or leads to find out who killed him.
In October 2006, Polk County Crime Stoppers, with the financial support of Poffenberger’s family, announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Poffenberger’s death.
“We don’t know if there was a witness,” Des Moines police spokesman Sgt. Todd Dykstra told KCCI in an interview for a story airing Oct. 20, 2006. “If there was, we hope this will be an incentive to call Crime Stoppers.”
Poffenberger’s mother, Cindy Poffenberger, told Channel 8 that Corey had an unbelievable love for his family, his friends, his co-workers and his colleagues.
“Every day, we miss his sense of humor, his laughter, his smile and his quick wit,” Cindy Poffenberger said.
Greg Willey, a board member of Polk County Crime Stoppers, told the Des Moines newsweekly Cityview that he got to meet the Poffenberger family and see their faces, something he normally doesn’t get to do.
“To put a face with the situation makes you want to do something for them,” Willey said in the August 2008 Cityview story. “The only things we can do is put the information out there and have a stream of funds. You would hope as a community somebody saw something and will come forward. Even among criminals there is a code of conduct.”
PCCS members said most Iowans are willing to aid law enforcement officials by providing anonymous tips leading to cash rewards, but sometimes battle public fear of reprisal, an attitude of apathy and a reluctance to get involved.
Gabriel Glynn, sponsorship coordinator for CSI and president and founder of Asset Protection Specialists in Ankeny, told Cityview:
“It’s becoming more prevalent in Des Moines as we have people from big cities like Chicago and Kansas City move here. In bigger inner cities you see people wearing ‘No snitching’ or ‘Snitch and die’ T-shirts. Part of it is gangster rappers that support ‘No snitch’ campaigns. We’re fighting a battle to get the information out, but there’s a battle on the streets, too.”
Glynn said it’s important we head off the ‘No snitching’ problem before it begins.
“In Iowa we’re all friends and neighbors and we watch out for each other, but it’s not like that in big cities where if something happens you look the other way,” he said.
As the 9th anniversary of their son’s unsolved murder approaches, Joe and Cindy Poffenberger are once again making a public appeal for anyone who knows anything to come forward with the information. They hope the reward might serve as an incentive.
Robert “Corey” Poffenberger was born July 5, 1973, in Bluffton, Indiana, the son of Joe and Cindy (Smith) Poffenberger of Rome City. He graduated from Hamilton High School in 1992 and Indiana University in 1996, where he was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity.
After graduation, Corey moved to Las Vegas and worked as a club manger for four years before moving to Minneapolis. He later moved to Des Moines to work as a Marketing Coordinator with Mediacom.
In addition to his parents, Corey was survived by his sister, Kelli Poffenberger of Muncie; friend, Justin Sims of Muncie; and grandmother, Mrs. Don (Joyce) Shady of Bluffton.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Ralph Smith; and grandparents, Robert and Maude Poffenberger.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 30, with calling one hour prior, at Thoma/Rich, Hewitt & Chaney Funeral Home, Bluffton, with Larry Sprinke officiating. Corey was buried at Elm Grove Cemetery in Bluffton, Wells County, Indiana.
If you have any information regarding Corey Poffenberger’s unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864 or Polk County CrimeStoppers at (515) 223-1400. Callers may remain anonymous.
WHO-TV Channel 13 (Des Moines) report on the unsolved 2003 murder of Corey Poffenberger.
Air date Nov. 3, 2011