Donald J. Murphy (Courtesy Knoxville Alumni Association)

Donald J. Murphy (Courtesy Knoxville Alumni Association)

Donald John Murphy


Donald John Murphy
39 YOA
Went Missing from Knoxville, Iowa
Marion County
Date Reported Missing: July 20, 1984
Body Found in Polk County, Nov. 1984


Marion CountyMarion County in Iowa
Knoxville, IA
Knoxville in Marion County

On Friday, July 20, 1984, Donald Murphy was reported missing from a Knoxville hospital. In November 1984 hunters found his skeletal remains in northern Polk County just a few days prior to what would have been Murphy’s 40th birthday.

Donald John Murphy was born November 9, 1944, at Knoxville, the son of James Francis and Catherine Bingaman Murphy. He spent most of his life in the Knoxville area. He graduated from Knoxville High School in the class of 1963 and later entered the Coast Guard.

Polk County in Iowa

Polk County in Iowa

He was preceded in death by his father and an infant brother and sister. He was survived by his mother Catherine of Knoxville; his brothers, James Murphy of Woods, Wisc., Gene Murphy of Lovington, N.M., and Gerald Michael Murphy of rural Knoxville; and his sisters, Mary Margaret Eddleman of Knoxville and Mrs. Clair Lois Rankin of Hobbs, N.M.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Murphy’s birthday, Nov. 9, 1984, with Rev. Philip Ryan officiating.

Donald Murphy gravestoneCourtesy photo Karen Ahn,
Donald Murphy was buried in St. Mary Cemetery in Weller, IA.

Pallbearers were Bruno Avon, Jim Brees, Bob Momyer, Michael Beard, John Anderson and Charles Galeazzi.

Interment was in St. Mary Cemetery at Weller, Iowa.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Donald Murphy’s unsolved murder please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at (515) 286-3814 or email

Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


11 Responses to Donald Murphy

  1. Sarah says:

    Any idea what was he in the hospital for? I’m assuming they don’t know cause of death? Is it really classified as a homicide or is it unknown?

  2. I wonder what kind of hospital it was? Such an unusual story. I hope justice is found for Donald soon.

  3. Prayers sent to the family. I pray someone comes forward.

  4. I’m not sure how someone could find this to be funny

    • S/he may have clicked on the wrong icon, and not realized that clicking it again will undo it.

    • Sarah Rushton I can empathize. A few days ago my sister posted family reunion photos, and I thought I’d clicked the very happy face like shown above, and instead it posted an “Angry” emoticon. I simply got lucky by clicking it again and then clicking another one.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Penny!

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