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July 22, 2010 | WHO-TV Channel 13 Des Moines
DES MOINES — Roxanne Beck was just entering her teen years 33 years ago when her father, Frank Goff of Des Moines, was murdered. And the killer, Goff’s children believe, was one of his own brothers.
Now, there will never be an arrest and there will never be justice. Goff’s brothers are both dead.
“It was hard,” Beck says, “It was really hard. I was only thirteen. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life.”
The year was 1977. Star Wars was a big screen hit, Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the United States, and — as was often the case — Frank Goff was arguing with his brothers, Jerry and George.
This time, the argument turned deadly.
Police believe Jerry and George taunted Frank into going to their parents’ home on Southeast Jackson Avenue on Friday night, September 23, 1977. There was a party going on but that changed when Frank walked in the door and was immediately shot in the neck.
Police told the family they believe Frank lay on the floor bleeding to death while his brothers dug the bullet out of the wall and concealed other evidence. Frank’s son, also named Frank, was just 10 years old at the time.
“They just told me that he’d been shot,” the younger Goff recalls, “And back in those days you couldn’t go up to the hospital if you were under 14 or whatever. So basically we spent the night in the waiting room in the basement of the hospital. I did not see him after that night, to tell you the truth.”
Frank Goff died the next day.
“He was my best friend,” Beck says. “I was only 13 and it was really hard to get over. I mean you never get over it. But it was really devastating for me.”
Police questioned his brothers — the family says police told them they believed Jerry was the trigger man — but there wasn’t enough evidence to make an arrest.
“That’s just what the detectives thought at the time,” Beck says. “They believed that he did it because his story didn’t match up with what he was telling them and they caught him in so many lies. They just didn’t have any physical evidence.”
Even with so many people at the party, police apparently were not able to find enough witnesses to make an arrest.
Days turned to months, then years as the case went cold.
Jerry died in 2002 and is buried at Laurel Hill cemetery in an unmarked grave. Records show he died of respiratory arrest. George, a career criminal, died in 2009.
Frank Goff’s kids believe the two got away with murder.
“People do more time in jail for speeding tickets these days than anybody ever did a day for that murder, you know? And it’s like, so yeah we never get justice as far as that goes,” Goff says.
And with their uncles both dead — they doubt there ever will be justice.
“Oh no. No,” Beck said. “There hasn’t been [justice] for 33 years. And there will never be obviously, you know what I’m saying? Because you can’t prosecute a dead person.”
The family wants to know why police haven’t been able to make an arrest, considering the number of witnesses at the party, the fighting between the brothers, and the gun found at the murder scene.
We asked police for copies of the police report and other information about the case. A police spokeswoman replied and said the case is locked and no information can be released.
Earl Franklin “Frank” Goff was born June 24, 1941. He was buried at Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery in Des Moines.
WHO-TV Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck reports on the unsolved murder of Frank Goff. July 22, 2010
If you have any information about Frank Goff’s unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864.