Diane Courbat

Diane Courbat
(Courtesy Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers)

Diane Burge Courbat


Diane Burge Courbat
34 YOA
Cedar River Exchange Park parking lot
Waterloo, Iowa
Black Hawk County
Crime Date: Tuesday August 3, 1993
Date of Death: Friday, August 6, 1993


Information Provided by Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers

Diane Courbat, 34, was shot in the head in the early morning hours on Tuesday, August 3, 1993. Two Waterloo police officers on routine patrol found Courbat lying in the northwest parking lot of the Cedar River Exchange Park about 2:30 a.m.

Courbat, who resided at 538 Montero Drive, was described as a 5-foot-5 Black female weighing about 130 pounds and dressed in a red tank top, cutoff blue jean shorts, red socks and black shoes.

She died three days later at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.

Black Hawk County in Iowa
Black Hawk County in Iowa
Waterloo in Black Hawk CountyWaterloo in Black Hawk County

Courbat reportedly was breathing when officers found her, and underwent brain surgery that same day. She remained in critical condition at University Hospitals until her death at 9:08 p.m. Friday.

“We treated it like a homicide from the beginning,” Waterloo Police Sgt. Larry Hahn said in a Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier article dated August 8, 1993. “But yes, when she died, that made it official.”

Investigators said they found no sign of a struggle in the parking lot, and Courbat — a foster care worker — was found fully clothed.

Police said the shot was to the side of Courbat’s head, but the gun was not held to her skull. Officials weren’t immediately certain what type of weapon was used in the shooting.

Said she was “all right”

Neighbors told the Courier they saw Courbat leave the mobile home she shared with her husband, David, and her granddaughter about 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 2, but that she’d acted normal.

Courbat joined her husband at the Half Pint Saloon at 1831 Independence Avenue, according to Courbat’s aunt, Brenda Hill of Davenport.

In a Courier article dated August 16, 1993, Hill said Waterloo police officers were among the last people to see Courbat before she was shot.

Exchange Parking lot

The Cedar River Exchange parking lot where Courbat was found. (Courtesy Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers)

Officers spotted Courbat about 1:35 a.m. on a street with David Courbat walking behind her, Hill said investigators told her. She said she didn’t know where they were walking. Hill said the officers asked Courbat if she was having problems with the man, and Courbat reportedly told them he was her husband and she was all right.

Courbat’s daughter, Julie Burge, 17, said she thought David Courbat then returned home but that her mother wanted to stay out later.

Police found Courbat’s body in the Exchange parking lot about an hour later.

Her mother never went to Exchange Park, said Burge, and she didn’t know why she would have been there that night.

“When I think about it (the murder) it makes me real mad,” Burge told the Courier. Burge said police were helpful and kept the family informed about any new leads in the case.

Hill described her niece as having a “heart of gold,” and told the Courier “it’s hard knowing she’s not around.”

The family remained in close contact with David Courbat, who went to stay with friends in Davenport following his wife’s murder.

Rash of gun-related violence

Courbat’s murder was the second in a recent rash of gun-related violence in Waterloo.

Cartha “Jack” Pearson, 26, of 714 South View Drive was found dead in his car July 29, 1993, from bullet wounds to his stomach and chest.

In the Courier’s August 16 story, Police Chief Bernal Koehrsen said investigators were looking for people who saw Courbat walking in various parts of the city the night she was killed, but wouldn’t comment as to whether officials had suspects in the Pearson and Courbat murders.

Autopsy results in both cases were tested at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Lab in Des Moines.

Koehrsen, who became Waterloo’s police chief in 1990, had a solid track record of solving murders on his watch. Prior to the Pearson shooting, eight other murders had all been solved.

Waterloo’s last unsolved homicide prior to Koehrsen’s role as chief was the 1989 murder of 23-year-old Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer. Zolliecoffer’s body was found in the Cedar River on September 15, 1989, his body wrapped in a blanket and weighted down with two cement blocks.

Zolliecoffer had suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

Pearson’s and Zolliecoffer’s deaths also remain unsolved.

Diane Courbat

Diane Courbat
(Courtesy Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers)

About Diane Courbat

The former Diane Burge married David Courbat in 1987, in Davenport.

She enjoyed shooting pool and dancing.

In addition to her husband, survivors included a daughter, Julie Burge, Waterloo; a son, David Sadtler, Rockford; a granddaughter; sisters, Mary Ann Burge, Dessie Powell, Bessie Burge, Shirley Jean Middleton and Shirley Ann Walker, all of Davenport, and Katherine Williams, Starksville, Miss.; and her grandmother, Lillie Hill, Davenport.

Memorial services were held at 1 p.m. Thursday, August 12, at Pentecostal Church of God, Davenport, where Diane was a former member. Visitation was held from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at the church.

Nicholson Funeral Home in Rock Island, Illinois, handled arrangements.

Diane was laid to rest in Oakdale Memorial Gardens in Davenport.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Diane Courbat’s unsolved murder is asked to contact the Waterloo Police Department at 319-291-4340 ext. 3 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be sent with TipSoft or by texting the word CEDAR plus the information to CRIMES (274637). Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out at any time. Text HELP for more information.

You may also submit tips anonymously through the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Confidential Web Tip Information System.

Anyone with information leading to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward.



18 Responses to Diane Courbat

  1. IDChannelSlueth says:

    Looking from the outside. I would investigate and question the husband and the Police again. This doesn’t seem right. I moved away from Iowa going on 34 years ago. To read about all of these unsolved cases really hurts that they are not solved. Please get some closure for all of these families. For my friend JoJo and his family too. RIP JoJo

  2. Julie Burge says:

    WPD sucks! I can’t count how many times I’ve called & got the run around! It makes me sick to think that my mother’s death will remain unsolved, because they didn’t take their jobs a lil more seriously.
    I pray for all the other Families, that have lost loved ones, to gun violence. I hope that WPD does a better job, in those cases.

    • Lisa says:

      I feel the same way, my brother is still a cold case, I called the WPD with leads by doing my own investigation and by the time they looked into them the people couldn’t be found for questioning, well of course not if you wait weeks before attempting to follow up on the lead I give. I put it in God’s hands now because all it does is make me angry and depressed. Good luck and I hope you get some type of closure

  3. UPDATE: I contacted Investigator Brice Lippert at the Waterloo PD to see if Diane’s husband was ever ruled out as a suspect, and he said it’s one of those cases where everyone is a suspect for the simple fact it is unsolved. (i.e. No, her husband was not ruled out, but neither were some others.) He said he read through the case a few years ago and that everyone looked at it thoroughly, and that the PD’s 1st shift Inv. Sgt. recently reviewed the case and is looking for anything that can be tested for DNA as things that could not be tested years ago can now be tested.

  4. He need to take a lie detector test

  5. Shirley Middleton says:

    My heart still aches after more than 20 years, mourning the loss of my sister. I feel like it just happened yesterday, after reading this article. The pain never goes away, and the pain is so great knowing that she died of such a horrendouos death. Whoever has done this to my sister may have gotten by, but they will never get away, because there is a judgment day. It may not happen in this life, but they will have to face God for what they have done. Please, to whomever knows any information regaurding the death of my sister, pleae come forth, so that my family can have closure, justice and peace of mind. Thank You.

  6. They can’t arrest the hubby unless there is evidence he did it… I’d say he did too but he might say he walked off and left her and someone else did it… no proof to say otherwise

  7. Lu Eggers says:

    Looks like hubby is guilty..so where is he?

  8. Yes, I agree where is the husband???

    • The husband left Waterloo and went to stay with friends in Davenport following his wife’s murder, and from what I understand, the family stayed in touch with him. Waterloo police didn’t indicate whether he’d been ruled out as a suspect.

  9. Deb Rolison says:

    Yes Where Is The Husband? Is he the one that you are looking for???

  10. Right! Where is he! I’m sure he did it!

  11. So where is the husband??

  12. Dessie Hines says:

    I pray everyday that God will bring this wick person to justice; my sister had a heart of gold and a smile that warm any room and heart of others ! Please if anyone know anything!!! Please contact Waterloo cold case investigation dept or me 563-940-4168 Dessie Hines! Lord God we ask for a cold case to become a close case! That the family can start healing; especially the heart and soul of my niece Julie and David and their children. God we trust you for justice to be done this day! Amen??

  13. Mike says:

    20 years is to long for a case to be considered cold.It’s time for law enforcement to get on the ball and solve this crime and send the murderer to prison.

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