Erin Pospisil
Erin Pospisil

Erin Kay Pospisil

Missing Person / Suspected Homicide

NAME: Erin Kay Pospisil
DOB: April 14, 1986
SEX: Female
RACE: White
WEIGHT: 130 lbs.
HEIGHT: 5’03”
HAIR: Brown
EYES: Brown
CLASSIFICATION: Endangered/Missing
MISSING FROM: Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
INVESTIGATING AGENCY: Cedar Rapids Police Department
CASE NUMBER: 2001-11725
MISSING SINCE: June 3, 2001


UPDATE: Man arrested for 2007 cold case still ‘person-of-interest’ in Erin Pospisil case

Curtis Padgett (Courtesy Linn County Sheriff’s Office)

Monday, April 15, 2024 

A Cedar Rapids man charged with the 2007 stabbing and beating death of Dennis First is also still a ‘person-of-interest’ in Erin Pospisil’s missing persons case.

Curtis Padgett — arrested March 1, 2023 in connection with First’s homicide — was Pospisil’s neighbor and the last known person to see her alive.

Erin Pospisil is shown age-progressed to 35 years.

He told authorities he’d given her a ride to a friend’s house, but when they got there, no one was home. Erin, he said, got into another car and told him they were giving her a ride.

The Cedar Rapids teen hasn’t been seen since.

Opening statements in Padgett’s bench trial began Thursday, April 11, 2024, and closing arguments concluded four days later on Monday, April 15.

Padgett opted for the bench trial by waiving his right to a jury trial, leaving the final verdict up to a judge.


Watch the Curtis Padgett trial closing arguments here.

Linn County in Iowa
Linn County in Iowa
Cedar Rapids in Linn CountyCedar Rapids in Linn County
Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Erin Pospisil was reported missing to the Cedar Rapids Police Department on June 3, 2001.

The [then] 15-year-old was last seen leaving her home with Curtis Padgett and hasn’t been seen since.

According to Padgett — a friend of Erin’s older brother — he was leaving the Pospisil home at the same time as Erin and agreed to give her a ride to her friend Brit’s home, where Erin and Brit planned to watch movies or go to the movie theater.

Padgett later told officials that when they arrived at Brit’s home in the 1500 block of Second Avenue SE late Sunday, June 3, 2001, that Erin went up to the door and knocked but no one answered.

Padgett said that as Erin walked back toward his truck, an early ’90s model black Chevrolet Cavalier with tinted rear windows pulled up to the curb.

According to Padgett, Erin went up to the car and had a short conversation with someone in the vehicle and then told him “These guys will give me a ride,” before getting into the Cavalier’s back seat.

Erin Pospisil age-progressed to age 29
Erin Pospisil age-progressed to age 29

Padgett said Erin went with them willingly, though no other witnesses reported seeing either a black Cavalier or Padgett’s pickup in the neighborhood that night.

Padgett remains the last known person to have seen Erin alive, and no one knows what happened after Padgett drove away from the Pospisil home with Erin buckled into his pickup’s passenger seat.

Padgett’s name was in the news again after Dennis Lee First, 64, was stabbed and beaten to death Friday, May 11, 2007, in his 2249 C St. SW Cedar Rapids apartment. Padgett lived next door to First and told police he’d last seen First alive two days earlier on Wednesday, May 9.

Dennis First’s homicide remains unsolved.

Bullied student eventually becomes bully

In April 2016, one of Curtis Padgett’s former classmates contacted Iowa Cold Cases to share his own experiences with Padgett as well as other incidents he witnessed.

Adam S. (name on file and available to investigating law enforcement agencies), said he attended school with Padgett in Cedar Rapids in the 1990s.

“He used to get bullied a lot, but I think it was mostly because of the reaction other kids could get out of him,” he said. “If they bullied or teased him enough they would get him to make a scene and people would laugh about it.

“Padgett was somewhat out of shape and didn’t really have any friends, said the classmate, who felt sorry for Padgett at the time.

curtis-padgett-8th-9th-grade-AS-300xCourtesy photo
Curtis Padgett got bullied during his 7th and 8th grade middle school years, and as he got older would explode with anger if teachers or students upset him, said one former classmate.

“One ‘Curtis moment’ I remember is in gym class when we had to run the mile,” said the former Harding Middle School student. “We ran the mile in more of a cross country style, not on a track. When the mile started Curtis just kind of walked to where a bush was and just laid down on the ground and hung out. The gym teacher eventually got mad and Curtis got up and finished walking the mile, getting some 22 minute mile time.”

The other kids made fun of him about it, Adam said, but Padgett hadn’t had any type of crazy response that day. Instead, his personality reflected that of one who’d been defeated … one who’d simply given up.

That all changed as Padgett got older, he said. Though Padgett remained a quiet student, he would “absolutely explode with anger if teachers or other students upset him.” Adam said he has memories of different episodes, some of which occurred over very minor things.

“Once the entire class was dead silent as we took an exam,” he said. “A student behind him accidentally kicked Curtis’s chair leg and he stood up, red in the face, and yelled “DON’T KICK MY F&!#ING CHAIR!”

“That’s the personality trait I remember most — a quiet person that would snap in an instant,” he said.

According to, the effects of childhood bullying can be catastrophic. Many go on to suffer lifelong depression or commit suicide. Others go on to become even more violent bullies themselves, retaliating in a number of ways.

In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied, the Stop Bullying website reported.

Family takes active role in finding Erin
Gazette article
The Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 1, 2009

Erin — a freshman at Metro High School — lived with her father and stepmother, Jim and Carolyn Pospisil, and three siblings when she disappeared. The family distributed fliers and posted billboards with Erin’s photo and description, to no effect beyond a few tips that proved unfounded.

Erin has a small scar above one eye and had red highlights in her hair at the time she disappeared. She was last seen wearing a light-colored tank top and beige overall shorts.

In a KCRG TV-9 story that aired May 7, 2013, Erin’s grandparents, Joan and Doug Minney of Cedar Rapids, said they continue to hold out hope for Erin’s return. The family created the website Help Find a Child and updates it regularly with hopes Erin will one day come home.

The recent discovery of three missing women in Cleveland gave the Minneys a glimmer of hope.

“Our daughter called us and said ‘you are not going to believe this,'” Doug Minney told KCRG. “We got on the internet right away.”

Joan Minney empathized with the three women’s families.

“Just knowing what those families had to be feeling, that they never gave up hope and now they have their children back … that’s what we pray every day,” she said.

Tuesday morning, May 7, Doug Minney passed out more than a hundred small missing persons cards.

“People think it will get easier; I think it gets harder,” Joan Minney told KCRG. “I know someday I’ll know where she is and all that happened, but I just want it to be today.”

On Saturday, May 25, 2013 — National Missing Children’s Day — Erin Pospisil’s family and friends gathered in Jones Park for a balloon launch to remember Erin. Despite the cold and rainy weather, the event — the 10th since Erin disappeared — went forward as planned, though those in attendance took the balloons home to release at a later date.

Jim and Carolyn Pospisil told KWWL the gathering also honored other missing children, all of whom they hoped would one day safely return home.

Dental information / charting is available and entered.

A DNA sample has been submitted and tests are complete.

Birthday Celebration Focuses on Improving Reservation Life

On April 14, 2016, Erin would have celebrated her 30th birthday. Since her disappearance, she’d already missed 15 Christmases and 15 birthdays. To celebrate the milestone birthday year, her family marked her absence by helping local students give back to those in need.

The Pospisils’ goal was to help raise funds for Metro High School – the same school Erin attended – so students could attend a service trip to South Dakota’s Oglala Lakota Nation reservation. There, the group helped repair buildings and outdoor facilities while being fully immersed in this near-Third World culture.

The Pospisils hosted the public fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 17, 2016 at The Quarter Barrel, a restaurant, microbrewery and quarter arcade located at 616 2nd Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids.

Metro’s cost to send each student was $499, and the school worked with Re-Member, a South Dakota based organization, that seeks to improve the quality of reservation life for the Oglala Lakota Indian community. The Pospisils hoped those attending the April 17 event would commemorate Erin’s 30th birthday by contributing $30 or more toward the school’s service trip project. Read the original blog post about this event here.

Learn more about how you can still help.

Information Needed

If you have any information concerning Erin Pospisil’s whereabouts please contact Det. DeVore at the Cedar Rapids Police Department at 319-286-5350.

From KCRG TV-9, May 7, 2013: Family Continues Search for Missing Cedar Rapids Woman


Sources, References, and Other Articles on Erin Pospisil:


Copyright © 2024 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


54 Responses to Erin Pospisil

  1. MikeD says:

    Curtis Padgett’s trial for the murder of Dennis First started today in Linn County. I’m sure Erin’s family is paying attention to it. Let’s hope that if Curtis is found guilty it results in more information or answers for Erin’s family in the future.

  2. Hannah says:

    Did anyone ever check with the friends family to confirm that they weren’t home?

    • Jill says:

      Yes…on a crime show they did on erin..they said that the family just ran out for some snacks maybe?

  3. MikeD says:

    I remember hearing Erin’s stepmom say in a podcast that police wanted to search CP’s truck, but he had sold it not too long after Erin went missing. Shouldn’t there be a paper trail for that? At least a title transfer? I guess I want to rule out that the truck wasn’t just abandoned in a forrest or Cedar River etc.

  4. Loretta Haslup says:

    Does anyone have a picture of this dude Curtis Padgett

  5. Harding alum says:

    I was in the same Harding Middle School gym class that Adam S. described and remember Curtis Padgett’s 20+ minute mile. He laid down near some bushes along Collins Road near the northeastern-most softball/baseball diamond while all the rest of the students were closer to the school waiting for Curtis to finish his mile “run”. It’s like he didn’t even want to try. I remember thinking he could have just slowly walked the mile in a faster time than what he ended up getting.

    I also remember his occasional sudden angry outbursts if someone tried messing around with him. Some students definitely tried to provoke a response from him on purpose just because the response was often so outrageous.

    I think he only made it through 1 year at Kennedy High School before dropping out or going to Metro Alternative High School. His freshman picture in the 1995-1996 Kennedy yearbook is the same as the one on this webpage and there were no other pictures of him in future yearbooks.

    I’d guess Curtis’ home life growing up couldn’t have been very good, seeing the way he turned out.

    I’m surprised any girl would have ever been remotely associated with him, unless one were to use him to buy cigarettes or to get a ride somewhere. Even then, you’d think they’d find someone other than Curtis.

  6. cheri says:

    i am erin’s aunt and fully believe curtis padgett did abduct erin and i believe he knows exactly where she is.

    • Kylee says:

      After reading a small snippet of her story, he absolutely seems responsible. Got rid of the truck, started having violent outbursts, dropped out of school.. did he have family working in law enforcement? I hope they get the bastard to give your family justice and closure.

  7. Lu Eggers says:

    The Key To All Of This Is Curtis Padgett…I’m Sorry.But To Me His Story Doesn’t Sound Credible……It Sounds Made Up….

  8. Bill says:

    It would seem Curtis Padgett has been significantly slandered here…very one-sided. Surly Padgett was thoroughly investigated. Why a section was titled Bullied becomes the Bully is ridiculous…the article is about one student’s recollection of a bullied student easily angered or agitated…that doesn’t equate to being a bully. Shame on this website for including that information is such a way.

  9. MikeD says:

    Today is Erin’s 34th birthday. I’m another person who knew Curtis Padgett from school and I don’t really have anything good to say about him. I don’t really remember seeing him around in high school so I think he dropped out or transferred to Metro High School. He wasn’t a good student. I’m not saying he did anything to Erin, but I wouldn’t trust his story.

    • MikeD says:

      It’s been a year, but I’ve talked to some friends that also know Curtis from school and they backed up what another comment on this page said about him being homeless. The last time Curtis was a blip on anyone’s radar was in 2019 when he received a public intoxication charge in Linn County and he still owes $147.75 for it according to court records.

  10. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I agree with the comments in regards to the supposed friend Brit. Supposedly according to Curtis, he drives her over to Brit’s so that he hang out, and she not there. So, it would be interesting to know her story. I hear everyone’s concerns about Curtis, but he was a friend of Erin’s brother. So, I would assume she would not be afraid of him. Also, I wonder if her brother had any concerns about him.

    There is a case in Alabama, where a missing woman, disappeared after her evening shift. Supposedly, she supposedly told her mother that she was going to visit a male neighbor, to see a gift he purchased for his mother’s upcoming birthday. The male neighbor’s alibi, was that he was not home but on a date. Well, he committed suicide a few years ago. Also, his girl friend was arrested the girlfriend last October in connection with the disappearance, and most likely death.

  11. Amanda says:

    I agree with anon. Did L.E investigate Curtis Padgett indepth? Like search his car for evidence of foul play towards Erin? What clothes was Curtis wearing at the time and did he have any scratches or cuts on him around that time? What about Erin’s friend Brit, that Curtis supposedly dropped Erin off at. Did Brit ever come forward to confirm or deny such events took place? Did they actually have plans and either party backed out? I wish L.E would release more info, without jeopardizing the case.

  12. anon says:

    Who was the next person to see Padgett after he allegedly dropped Erin off? What time was Padgett seen by this person? Under what circumstances? What was Padgett wearing? What was his demeanor? What had Padgett been wearing when Erin got into his truck? Where now is the truck that Padgett was driving at the time of Erin’s disappearance?

  13. Was he ever seen after her disappearance? I couldn’t find his picture on her page.

  14. This is so sad, where is he now days? Does anyone know? It’s scary to think he was so close to an unsolved murder and only an older picture. I can’t believe the only picture available is from 7th or 8th grade.

    • Nikki Behnke says:

      Last I heard he was living a little ways off of the bike trail near hy vee on Centerpoint road. In a tent. Wooded area. I dated Curtis’s brother and I think everyone needs to watch out for him. He IS DANGEROUS. I happened to live through my ordeal, miraculously.

      • Chris says:

        Nikki, you should submit a more recent photo of him if you happen to have one.

      • May we ask what ordeal you went through with him? Did you ever bring it to the authoritie’s attention? If not I would highly recommend it. Pattern of behavior could bring more to light the potential of whether or not he might have committed a crime. Second, someone capable of things like that definitely doesn’t need to be running free.

  15. Brent Busch says:

    Anybody got a picture of Curtis Padgett? Strange he was near two unsolved deaths.

  16. Tami says:

    This may seem like a long shot but I thought that this Jane Doe looked similar to her.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks for the reference. Erin didn’t have porcelain caps or a old nose injury.

    • Julie Shira Celona says:

      Just in case you happened to be wondering. A medical examiner or even a 3rd year medical student would be able to tell the difference between a caucasian individual from someone who clearly was not regardless of how much damage was done to the remains. The skull shape, jaw line and orbital sockets which are the openings with in the skull that hold the eyes in place alone will prove that.

  17. This kinda looks like a younger version of my sister in law amy Chris Sisson

  18. I remember this like it was yesterday……..

  19. I pray for someone to come forward. Prayers sent to the family and friends.

  20. Nichole says:

    Was “Curtis” not a suspect?

    • Carolyn says:

      He has been questioned several times. CRPD doesn’t claim anyone is a “suspect” because they don’t acknowledge that this is more than awhat they have labeled as runaway case.

      • Jody Ewing says:

        One thing really worth noting here: the IDPS Missing Person Information Clearinghouse states that Erin was last seen “leaving in an early 90’s model black Chevy Cavalier,” but that information is based solely on what CURTIS PADGETT told authorities.

        Padgett’s account of what happened was released to the MPIC and subsequently reported in the news media and even reported here on ICC — all based on Padgett’s statement.

        The truth is, Padgett is the last known person to have seen Erin alive and there is no evidence to support his claim that she ever got into a black Cavalier. This in no way faults either the MPIC or media or others who reported the Cavalier connection; news media make every attempt to help solve these cases as quickly as possible by providing all known details about the case. Those details are subsequently reported by other news agencies, and there are instances where years pass before the original source (who may or may not eventually become a suspect in the case) is ever questioned.

        Who can answer one simple question: Where was Erin last seen alive after leaving her home with Curtis Padgett?

  21. liberty says:

    Do you know of anyone who has access to Westlaw’s asset locator who could run a search for all of the Beets’ clan’s assets and see if any of them owned a black chevy cavalier at the time? I no longer have access to Westlaw.

  22. I remember this…. sad it’s ben 14 years already. Hoping her loved ones get answers soon

  23. I pray her family gets answers someday soon!

  24. Beth Clymer says:

    I remember this story, she’s my son’s age…

  25. Might be worth checking into

  26. I will pray that she is found. God bless.

  27. liberty says:

    Was this young lady acquanted at all with members of the Cedar Rapids Beets clan?

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Excellent question, Liberty. Even what we’ve got listed on Naomi Wilson’s page doesn’t begin to put a dent in the atrocities (sexual assault, rape, attempted rape, arson, squatting, check fraud, just to name a few charges) the Beets brothers and some of their family members committed while hiding in plain sight behind the cloth and pulpit.

      Erin’s disappearance occurred in the same city and within the same time frame as when the Rev. Wendell A. Beets was sexually molesting (and had been, for years) one of his teen parishioners. (I didn’t use the word “allegedly” because Associate Linn County District Judge Michael Newmeister indeed found Wendell Beets guilty as charged…and we’re talking “decades” worth of crimes when it comes to the Beets family.)

      With three of the Beets brothers playing “musical chairs” and constantly relocating churches to new addresses (even swapping churches, in some instances), does anyone know if Erin ever attended any services conducted by one or more of the “Rev.” Beets brothers?

    • Lexi says:

      Curtis Padgett has just been arrested for First’s murder. Hopefully this results in answer’s for Erin’s family.

Comment Policy

We encourage thoughtful discussion here but ask that comments remain civilized and constructive … i.e. without personal attacks or name-calling. Be respectful of others and remember that victims' family members visit these pages, too. If you'd like to provide us with information regarding a suspect or have other sensitive details to relay, please email us directly. Thank you in advance.

Share Your Thoughts