Denease Latham

Denease Latham

Denease Monson Latham


Denease Monson Latham
24 YOA
Creek bed beneath bridge
Half mile north of Rose Hill, Iowa
Mahaska County
October 5, 1986


Rose Hill in Mahaska County

Rose Hill in Mahaska County

On Sunday, Oct. 5, 1986 — just 15 days before her 25th birthday — Denease (Monson) Latham of What Cheer, Iowa, suffered blunt force trauma injuries to her head before allegedly drowning in two inches of water beneath a bridge about a half mile north of Rose Hill in Mahaska County.

One of Latham’s young sons remembers the fight between his mother and father the last night he ever saw his mom alive. She’d taken off on her bicycle, he said.

What Cheer in Keokuk County

What Cheer in Keokuk County

His mother was found a few miles from their home, and the three young boys were told she’d run her bicycle into a guard rail on the bridge.

“But there was no blood on the guard rail, and the chain was missing off her bike,” Lorrie Murphy told Iowa Cold Cases.

Murphy’s daughter is soon to be married to one of Latham’s sons.

[Further details and photos are pending.]

About Denease Monson Latham

Denease Monson was born October 20, 1961 to Wendell Leon and Verla Rae (Rose) Monson. She died Oct. 5, 1986.

denease-lathan-gravestone-findagraveCourtesy photo Doris Christensen /
Denease is buried at Confidence Cemetery in Wayne County, Iowa.

Survivors included her husband, Robin Latham; three sons, Jeremy, Joshua and Jason Latham; her parents; five sisters, Debra Rae Monson Maddox, Donna Lee Monson Booth, Diana Lynn Monson Grover, Dalena Monson Wareing, Deana Marie Monson Burnett; a brother, Darin Leon Monson; and many other loving family members.

She was laid to rest in the Confidence Cemetery in Confidence, Iowa, in Wayne County.

Denease’s father passed away in August 2002 and her mother in March 2006 without ever seeing justice served in their daughter’s death.

Information Needed

Former Mahaska County Sheriff Paul DeGeest worked tirelessly to solve the case. If you have any information about Denease Latham’s death please contact Mahaska County Sheriff Russell Van Renterghem at (641) 673-4322.



18 Responses to Denease Latham

  1. Lorrie says:

    Thank you Jody for adding this story to your long list of cold cases.

  2. Lorrie says:

    I just realized there was no mention of the husband on the headstone.

    • beever cleever says:

      Why is everyone dancing around thename and obvious perpetrator of this crime…

      • beever cleever says:

        Who said Robin Latham???

        • Josh Latham says:

          If you don’t mind my asking how do you know his name??? Do you know anything about this case??? We were wonwho you are….

        • Debbie McClarnon says:

          You said Robin Latham. Come out from behind your stage name and enlighten these people on what you know. You obviously have some reason to believe what your stating. You don’t have to tell us.Tell the proper authorities. If he really committed this crime then share what you know. It could be the one piece of information that closes this case. If he didn’t do it then the family needs to know just as well. I don’t know if it will do any good. I heard a conversation a few years ago between Robb Shwabb(not sure on the spelling) and Miles Latham and offered to go under hypnosis to retrieve the entire conversation because there might be useful information obtained from it and I have never even got a response back from anyone. Not even a thank you so I don’t know if they are trying to solve this case or not.

        • jason latham says:

          I’m confused who are you never clever. I guess I am missing parts of this whole conversation please enlighten me.

      • Mandy says:

        I am Josh Latham’s wife and I am begging anyone who has any information to come forward if you think it will help or not. You can contact Jody at Iowa Cold Case and remain anonymous but this family needs closure as today is the 30 yr anniversary of their mother’s death. Thank You to everyone for not giving up on this. I feel very strongly that this case will be solved soon if people do the right thing.

      • Lorrie Murphy says:

        If you know anything about this step up and make the call please.

  3. Jason latham says:

    this was my mom….

    • Lorrie Murphy says:

      Hopefully someone will have the courage to speak up about this murder so this family will get justice, do any of you boys have a picture of your mom you could send to Iowa Cold Cases ? RIP Denease.

    • Josh Latham says:

      Yea Jake it’s mom…. Lorrie Murphy and a woman named Jody at Iowa cold cases wants justice as much as we always have…

      • Jody Ewing says:

        Josh, I’m so sorry for your loss. I have a long overdue phone call to return to Sheriff Paul DeGeest, which I will make tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope to provide some updated information after that.

        I echo Lorrie’s thoughts about hoping for a photo to put here on your mom’s page.

        I see I once had a longer case summary here but removed part of it (had to do with the coroner, the washing of body, and your mom’s clothes), because I needed more specific details in the case. I’d missed a call from DeGeest to discuss those things, and with the sheer number of emails and calls each day I just didn’t get him called back. I will now. He is a good man and will be very helpful in the case.

        I’m sorry you and your brothers lost your mom at such an early age. It’s coming up on the 30th anniversary of her death and you all deserve answers. I’ll do my very best to find out what really happened with this case.

        Best to all of you, Jody at ICC

        • Josh Latham says:

          Joby….Thank you for all the help. We hope one day all this will be solved so my brother’s and I can have the answers and closure. Degeest has helped me as much as he can even to the extent of letting me see the file. Except crime scene photos which is understandable. He was the original officer in my mom’s case he knows more then anyone. As far as the corner….it was the mortician at the funeral home that had so many errors… He removed her from the crime scene and was to transport her to the state corners office for exam.
          Before he transported her he took her to his funeral home and cleaned her, destroyed her clothes, and embalmed her before transporting her… Degeest wanted to bring him up on charges but was not allowed to do so..
          My brother’s wife told me she has a CD with photos of our mom and she said I can take it and choose from the photos to send you one. I will do so as soon as possible. Once again thank you for all your effort in helping us get our closure of such a tragic loss.

        • I know how Jason is still so tormented by this and I hope they will find out what happened to their mother, these boys need to know!

  4. Her cousin says:

    I am Denease’s cousin. She lived with us for a bit when she was in Jr. High. We were told that it was her husband that committed this crime. I always assumed that he was in jail. I’m sorry if this hurts anyone’s feelings, in saying that. I’m just surprised.

    • Joshua Latham says:

      Hello….You said you were my mom’s cousin….That’s nice to know people that knew her when she was younger…..Well during her child hood….He never went to prison or was even charged for the crime that was committed so many years ago….Jody and some other very nice people have been doing all they can to help get some closure after all these years…

    • jason latham says:

      If your moms cousin might I ask which one cause it’d be nice to know. I’ve been to meet the family I’m sure I didn’t meet everyone of you but ya never know so I was just curious.

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