Ethan KazmerzakEthan Kazmerzak (Courtesy Hampton Police Dept.)

Ethan Bert Kazmerzak

Former Missing Person

Remains found in submerged car Oct. 27, 2020

NAME: Ethan Bert Kazmerzak
April 12, 1991
180 lbs.
Dark Blond
Other adult missing
Franklin County
September 15, 2013
REMAINS RECOVERED: October 27, 2020


UPDATE: Vehicle found Monday in pond near Hampton; human remains inside later identified as those of Kazmerzak

On Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, Ethan Kazmerzak’s 2006 Volkswagen was located in a pond northwest of Hampton. With the help of the Story County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, work to remove the vehicle from the water was completed around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, KIMT3 News reported.

Investigators found human remains inside the vehicle, which have been sent to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny for identification.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says it wants to give a special “thank you” to the diligent efforts of the Adventures with Purpose crew that resulted in the discovery of Kazmerzak’s car.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said the human remains found in the submerged car were identified as Ethan Kazmerzak. 

KIMT Channel 3 News reported Thursday that further information on the case was pending the release of full examination results in a few weeks by the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office.

Case Summary

Ethan Kazmerzak, 22, was reported missing to the Hampton Police Department in Hampton, Iowa, on Sept. 15, 2013.

Hampton in Franklin County

Hampton in Franklin County

Franklin County in Iowa

Franklin County in Iowa

He was last seen in rural Hampton around 12 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, and wore a teal/white printed shirt and peach/orange shorts.

According to, Kazmerzak was seen in several area pubs on Sept. 14, including Pit Row and the Red Moose in Hampton as well as Duck’s in Aredale. He reportedly was last seen at a party at a gravel pit pond located behind a house in the 1400 block of 190th Street.

Police say Kazmerzak’s cell phone was last used around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 at the intersection of 190th Street and Olive Avenue, and that his ATM card has reportedly not been used since Sept. 14.

His silver 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, license plate number AUZ 382, is also missing.

He is described as a 5-foot-5 white male with dark blond hair and blue eyes and weighing between 150 and 185 pounds. He also wears glasses.

Distinguishing marks include a beard and a Grateful Dead tattoo on the left upper arm.

Since his disappearance, both the Hampton Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office have been following up on any new leads.

$100,000 Reward Offered (Conditions Apply)

A $100,000 reward is offered for information in Ethan Kazmerzak’s disappearance, and although the reward was set to expire by year’s end in 2015, the Hampton Police Department said the reward may be extended at the discretion of the offeror.

The Reward Terms Include:

  • A reward shall be payable to any person or persons for any relevant and useful information that leads to the current location and/or safe return of Ethan Kazmerzak, and said information will be kept confidential upon request. This reward shall not be payable to any person or persons who directly assisted or participated in the disappearance of Ethan Kazmerzak.
  • This reward is limited to all or part of $100,000 total in the event of multiple claimants to the reward.
  • This reward offer, previously $20,000, will be EXTENDED UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR (2015) OR AT THE DISCRETION OF THE OFFEROR.
  • Anyone having information relating to the disappearance or the current location of Ethan Kazmerzak should call the North Iowa Crime Stoppers at 800-383-0088 or the Hampton Police Department at 641-456-2529.

Information on how to submit a claim for the reward may be obtained by calling one of the phone numbers listed above.

Ethan Kazmerzak (Courtesy NamUs)

Ethan Kazmerzak
(Courtesy NamUs)

According to NamUs, a DNA sample has been submitted and tests are complete. Dental information and charting has also been entered and is available.

Fingerprint information is not currently available.

Ethan Kazmerzak was born April 12, 1991.


Ethan Kazmerzak’s 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI was discovered by a dive team Oct. 26, 2020, in a body of water northwest of Hampton. Hours after the news release from Franklin County Sheriff Aaron Dodd, authorities said human remains were discovered inside the vehicle.

News Release from Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Recovery efforts for Ethan Kazmerzak’s Volkswagen were completed today around 1:30 pm. Kazmerzak and his vehicle have been missing since September 15th 2013. The vehicle was recovered using divers from the Story County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team. Kazmerzak’s 2006 Volkswagen was removed from a pond northwest of Hampton, Iowa.

Investigation at the scene identified human remains in the car, which will be sent to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny, Iowa for identification.

A special thank you for the diligent efforts of the Adventures with Purpose Crew that resulted in the discovery.

Assisting on scene were the Hampton Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Franklin County Emergency Management, Butler County Emergency Management, Story County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, Franklin General Ambulance, Hampton Fire Department and the Franklin County Medical Examiner.

Aaron Dodd, Sheriff

Franklin County, Iowa

Sheriff Dodd later confirmed that the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office had identified the remains as those of Kazmerzak. Multiple things indicated it was Kazmerzak in the vehicle, Dodd told the Des Moines Register in an article dated Nov. 5, 2020.

“It was pretty easy to identify (Kazmerzak),” Dodd said.

Dodd declined to release details about how the vehicle and Kazmerzak ended up in the body of water or if criminality is suspected. Those details will be released when the Medical Examiner’s office finishes its investigation and Dodd’s office gets the final report on the case, he told the Register.

Additional tests being performed by the Medical Examiner’s office could take three more weeks, Dodd said.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about Ethan Kazmerzak’s disappearance and/or death is encouraged to contact the Hampton Police Department at (641) 456-2529 or North Iowa Crime Stoppers by texting “641TIP” to 274637 (CRIMES on most cell phones) or calling 1-800-383-0088.



77 Responses to Ethan Kazmerzak

  1. Jay Smith says:

    I have over all these,many different theories, and most are all the same…Ethan owed a drug dealer money for drugs…????cocaine,meth.most likely meth.maybe they were cooking meth out there and other illegal activities, that’s why no one has spoken a word this entire time???they would al be in trouble for accessory to the fact,ormaybe they just didn’t like eathan,or someone accidentally killed him,or he overdosed,or alcohol posioning,and everyone was to afraid of getting in trouble them selfish selves …..

    • Mike D says:

      From what people who know him have said on Facebook over the years he wasn’t that kind of person. People paint a picture of kind of a band geek who was also into drama and theater. People said he attended the University of Iowa and was part of the marching band there, but didn’t graduate. He appears to maybe be at kind of a lost stage of his life not sure what he wanted to do and there were also rumors about his sexuality. I have the feeling this is one of those cases where we will never know the why and the family are under no obligation to say anything.

  2. Anne says:

    When was the gate put in place? The one the dive team had to drive around?? And why was one installed? Didn’t look like much back there that you need to gate it. Also, I think it is really odd that IF that is where the party Was then why hasn’t anybody from the party come forward?? I have been to plenty coal mine stripping cut parties in my day and nobody would have left like that and not be unnoticed no matter how loud the music was.

  3. Phillip says:

    Ethan was on mushrooms at the party that night.

  4. Jean says:

    The Des Moines Register reported in Feb. 2021 that foul play was not suspected. I can say as a resident of Franklin County that Ethan was brought hime after being identified and his family quietly interred his remains and not a peep has been heard since. I think he was either high or drunk or both and accidentally drove into the water and everyone is too ashamed to admit it.

    • Daren says:

      Respect the deceased please ! No one knows what happened, so to say he was drunk or high is just hear say. Less there is concrete evidence then
      no point guessing.

      • Dee says:

        I honestly think that there were underage drinking kids and someone did see something and no one had the guts to try and save him or say anything because they were all parting to much and did not want to get caught and go to jail, and by it sitting in water for 7 years all evidence will be gone, BESIDES they said his body was in the back seat hmmm does that not ring suspicion here. and yes I am respecting Ethan because in really why has this not been thought of by someone it’s the only logical explanation of why was he in the backseat and all windows were up…

        • Jim says:

          Bodies are found in the back seat most often because the heaviest part of your car is the engine and most waterways have an incline to their depth. It’s only logical the engine would sink furthest due to weight and be in deeper than the rear because that would be the direction the car would normally be going.
          Now since the car is pointing down at this incline the body wil float to the highest point (the rear roof) until all the gasses are realeased and it gradually floats down.
          Of course if they are strapped in and/or going backwards this wouldn’t apply.

    • George says:

      I’m telling you after putting some pieces together, actions of police, and investigators. I really think they didn’t want the evidence or the victim to be found. I feel that this is a real cover up. He was working on computers and data. Can you imagine the information he may have had access to. Something very fishy here. It could have been an individual foul play or a conspiracy piece of the pie. In today’s political war and things going on right now that are getting crazy, I seriously would consider a conspiracy plot. The body language of the police chief and others was not favorable. Actions speak louder than words. Someone or some people didn’t want Ethan to be found .

      • Scott says:

        The car was intact with a full windshield when the Adventures with Purpose crew found it. After being forced off the property for a day, they were allowed back onto the property just as it was being pulled out of the water. The windshield somehow was mysteriously missing when it emerged from the water, leading me to believe that it had been popped to remove evidence (of an inside job I assume). The body was located in the back seat which rules out the theory of Ethan accidentally driving into the pond. I also think this may have been a cover up, considering that the sheriff told Adventures with Purpose that the pond had already been searched by the county and basically inferred that it would be a waste of time to search again. All of the secrecy and suspicious activity by the authorities in this case has me wondering what really happened. Something doesn’t seem right. Then, after his body was found and identified, there was a quick declaration of ‘no foul play suspected’ and then silence. How can foul play not be suspected when he was found in the back seat?

        • Belinda L says:

          True .. why else would he be in the back seat and if he was leaving to go home First instinct when you’re leaving to go somewhere you start your car put your seatbelt on in the net seatbelt I may be wrong but I’m not the only one thinking it

          • doofy says:

            according to the people who found him, most people who are not wearing seat belts tend to end up in the back of the car. i dont know if their body floats back there or he tried to get out as the car was filling and went to the back seat. its just sad though it took that long to find him

        • Andre says:

          In their video you can see that the windshield was broken when they found the car under water. They just didnt show it. So it’s not correct that it was mysteriously missing.

        • Jo moran says:

          The crew of AWP said that sometimes bodies are found in the back when they don’t have a seat belt on.

        • Dee says:

          That is exactly what I am saying I watched Jared clear that car all windows were in tack none broken not one than they refused to let AWP back there and the front window is out Ethan in the backseat maybe one of the cops kids murdered him that night and now he is being protected. its bull crap besides the police were crappy to AWP because they did the job better then their own county 7 years ago.. I just wished I knew if this was ever completely solved after everything was done or is this an still ongoing investigation. I know how these things go with them hiding evidence.

          • Dan says:

            Watch it again. As soon as they swim up on the car you can see for a brief second that the windshield was missing when they found it.

      • Dee says:

        Something is up for sure George.

  5. Lori D Evans says:

    car/body have been found, front windshiel missing, body in back seat, car not discovered in 2013 by the dive teams but visible on google earth satellite view. has there been any further reports put out from the medical examiner about cause of death? i can’t find any search results on that.### was he trying to get out of the car and broke the window then fell into the back seat? was he not alone, passed out in the back seat and someone else was driving and broke the window out to escape after driving into the pond? was he unconscious in the car and it was driven into the pond by someone else? Has anything been discovered about “HOW” the car got into the pond in that location based on where the party was on the property?

    • Ash says:

      I had read that the car being visible from google earth was false. It’d be crazy if it was true though!

      • Dan says:

        The car was noted as a shadow on google earth. If you watched the video they said a viewer called in the tip so this part is true

    • Scott Peaker says:

      It has been a year since the car and remains were discovered. Is there any news regarding cause of death?

      • Ash says:

        His car and remains were just discovered 3 months ago. As far as I know they have not released a cause of death yet. I check every so often so and haven’t in the last few weeks so that very well could have changed.

        • MikeD says:

          I’m curious to know, but I’ve seen similar cases where we never hear anything probably because it was determined to be a suicide and the family decides to remain silent about it. I don’t think we’ll hear much unless there was foul play.

          • doofy says:

            he came from a party so he may of been intoxicated enough to make him not aware of his surroundings. notice i said may of been i dont need these web sleuths thinking im starting anything by saying that.

  6. Ash says:

    Are they going to be investigating his death or do they know pretty well what happened?

  7. SB Hurst says:

    So does Adventures with a Purpose get the reward since they found car and remains. They deserve it

    • Paul says:

      They should but somehow the reward disappeared

      Someone is a welcher

    • SH says:

      Our official response at this time…

      We would be honored to accept the $100,000 Reward so we can further our efforts in helping other families like Ethan’s.

      However, the $100,000 Reward which has been renewed annually every September at the anniversary of Ethan missing, and extended yearly beyond its original 2015 effective date, is suddenly no longer available from the anonymous donors claiming the reward expired in 2015 even though it has been confirmed by multiple News Stations as late as September 2020 that the reward was still in effect.

      In full transparency, Ethan’s family was kind in making a smaller donation of their own. We appreciate their gratitude for our efforts in bringing Ethan home.

      Donations and rewards are how we are able to fund our operations in helping families such as Ethan’s.

      We do hope that those donors involved will honor their commitment so that we can use the $100,000 reward to purchase additional gear and continue our efforts in helping other families in locating their lost loved ones.

      Thank you to each and every one of you for your support.

      • CSJ says:

        HAMPTON, Iowa —
        The Hampton Police Department wants to remind Iowans that it has been nearly seven years since Ethan Kazmerzak went missing, and a reward for his safe return still stands.

        Kazmerzak would now be 29 years old. He went missing sometime in the early morning hours on Sept. 15, 2013.

        Police said at the time Ethan went missing, he had dark blond hair, had a beard, wears glasses, and has a Grateful Dead tattoo on his upper left arm. He was last seen wearing peach/orange colored shorts and a white/teal printed shirt. He was driving a silver 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI with Iowa license plate AUZ382. The car and Ethan still are missing.

        There is still a $100,000 reward offered for any relevant and useful information that leads to the current location and/or safe return of Ethan Kazmerzak. Police said the reward has been pooled together by a group of anonymous donors.

        Anyone with information is asked to call North Iowa Crime Stoppers at 1-800-383-0088or the Hampton Police Department at 1-641-456-2529.

        • Tim Hansen says:

          That must of been The chief Bob Schaffer HPD. His untruthfullness should be questioned . Look into things that disappear under his management for other court cases if someone digs you’ll find things m

    • MIkeD says:

      Some articles are saying they believe it to be his car and some flat out say that it is his car that was found. No word yet if there are remains inside of it, but I imagine the chances are pretty high.

      • Lisa says:

        I hate to say it .. but I hope! 🤞 So that his family & friends can find closure after all of these years!

      • Brent says:

        This dive team is the one that located. They verified the plate number, and human remains inside.

        • MikeD says:

          I found out about that YouTube channel a few weeks ago. They are doing a great job and completely exposing law enforcement’s lack of initiative in a lot of cases. Glad to see they came to Iowa and helped out with this case. There are a number of cases in Iowa that I feel could be solved in this way. Helen Kelly’s is one of them.

          • MikeD says:

            People are sharing Google Maps images where you can actually see the vehicle from the satellite photos in the pond. I’m sure if it’s legit, but it’s the right area.

            • SteveC says:

              Video says location of find is at:

              42.808763, -93.232556

              I have looked at Google Maps and do not see anything – I wonder what others are seeing.

              • Kirsten says:

                I looked on google earth and came up with this
                42°48’24.6″N 93°13’36.3″W

                Rest in peace Ethan

                • Tracey123 says:

                  Your spot on, car can be seen clearly, RIP Ethan

                  • Marcella says:

                    I searched on my iPhone maps app. I located the ponds near that location and sure enough I could see what appeared to be a large object in the water. I marked the location and indeed was the spot. Wow…..happy the family found him. Praying they find answers to what happened.

                  • Jojo says:

                    According to the press conference by the police, the car was found on a property at the corner of 190th Street and Nettle Avenue. If you go to that location on Google maps, it’s the property on the Northeast corner of that intersection. On that northeast corner of that property is the lake. Toward the South east corner of that lake you can see a mound. That’s about the area where they set up to pull out the car. You can compare it to the areal photos of the recovery and the drone video from Adventures with Purpose.

                • Ash says:

                  isn’t that the wrong pond??

              • Craig Bernhardt says:

                If you type in these you will see it
                42.805191, -93.216831

      • Deb says:

        A body was inside the car. KWWL

    • Kris says:

      Confirmed there are human remains in the car

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      It would be interesting if this is the same pond, he was last seen. He would have been right under everyone’s nose. However, there have been a number of missing people who have been found in their vehicles in various bodies of water around the country.

      The problem is the cost of using side scanning sonar, or dive teams to search all the bodies of water. If we were able to repurpose the various tools we used to search for submarines would be useful.

      I served on a submarine, and know what we had as search tools.

  8. Snakelady says:

    I have watched CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, etc & started wondering. What if his car was still operational & there was a 2 or more team that attacked him, could they take him & his car outa state somewhere, sell his car on the black market or chop shop & then take him somewhere after that. That would be why his car’s not found yet in the waters where he was. If so, have the detectives tried combing the filling stations & restaurants the next towns over from where he was last seen. Maybe he broke down & a trucker picked him up & someone else stole his car & drove off. Maybe he’s in witness protection somewhere, wonder if the detectives checked there. I hope he’s found soon & GOD be with his family & friends.

  9. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I wonder if the police ever checked the car VIN number through either CarFax, or the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The NICB, is funder by a number of insurance companies to provide various supports in regards to insurance fraud, and also auto thefts. They have some databases that they should be able to check the VIN. Also many of their investigators are retired law enforcement investigators.

    There are a number of missing person cases from around the country, where their vehicles have never been recovered. I have a list of a few of them. I hope to send the list to NICB, and have them check their databases.

    Also, a number of missing person cases have been solved when they found the vehicles in different bodies of water. The problem is funding the underwater search efforts.

  10. Molly says:

    It sounds crazy and goes against everything in me. But I think the family should consider allowing the reward to be claimed by the offender or those involved in his disappearance. They don’t deserve it and Ethan’s loved ones wouldn’t want to do good for that person. But it could get the answers, and that’s what really matters.

  11. Linda S Smith says:

    I really think the waterways need to be searched in the area he was last known to be in. My thoughts and prayers are with Ethan’s family and loved ones. He’s been missing far too long. They need answers, justice if his disappearance was at the hands of another, and some measure of closure.

  12. kimberly montgomery says:

    Private Investigator Kim Montgomery Agency five years no new reports about this young man . But I am not going to stop

  13. Elizabeth Messerly says:

    A friend comments that he looked like a technician at the following company

  14. Private Investigator Kim says:

    I know half of his classmates and I have talked to them , I even went over to the road where the phone pinged off, during the day lots of Semi go through. They last phone call was 12:15 to his mother but she miss the call. So 12:15 to the time he was suppose to go to his Grandfather has not been filled. Only 24 hour stores are Wal Mart in Mason City and Casey’s Central in IowaFalls, Iowa and truck stops. Hope we get answers.

  15. Kim says:

    Did they even search the area where the party was? And how far of a search was it ? Was is 50 miles ?

  16. LuAnn Eggers says:

    Shared in Stacyville Iowa..Im sure someone knows something…maybe too scared to come forward with the information..Hopefully they will find Ethan and this case can have a happy ending and the family can have some closure..Thoughts & Prayers To The Family…

  17. Jason says:

    Who did he talk to at 12:30 am on 9/15/2013 and where was he living at the time? What was his mental state when last seen? Would be helpful to have more facts.

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Jason, I share your concerns about needing more facts in this case. We do our best to post the known details about cases but there are times officials don’t reveal specific information because it might be something only a person’s kidnapper or killer would know. We regularly watch for updates in the case and hope Ethan’s family finds answers soon.

  18. Joshua Pepe says:

    Yeah he’s definitely dead…

    • noone says:

      Why would you say that?

    • Sarah says:

      How can you be such a cold person? He has a mother, father, and siblings that probably read this. This breaks my heart. And i pray that one day you sir never have to be faced with this horrible event and someone says this about your loved one… Keep hope alive.

  19. Has anyone check bodies of water?? His car hasn’t been seen since he disappeared, unfortunately when a person disappears with their vehicle this tends to be the case.

  20. I wish they would put out a little more information…if they think this is more of him disappearing on his own or otherwise. Is the $20K reward still valid? This old story that is posted says it expired in 2013 and then they would decide if they would extend it.

  21. I agree with you Chuck Pauline Miller.

  22. People do not just disappear. Someone some where knows something.

  23. Liked, shared(southeast Iowa)&prayers.

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