Lucas County in Iowa
Lucas County in Iowa
Chariton in Lucas CountyChariton in Lucas County

Fred Barton Sanders


Fred Barton Sanders
43 YOA
Chariton, IA
Lucas County
DCI Case # 66-01164
Date of Death: October 1, 1966
Body Found: November 11, 1966

On November 11, 1966, hunter Richard Thorne found a man’s skeletal remains in a brushy area under the Rock Island Railroad viaduct across the Chariton River one and three quarters of a mile south of Chariton, Iowa, in Lucas County.

Papers and a wallet adjacent to the remains identified him as Fred Sanders, a U.S. Army veteran who served during World War II with the 745th American Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion.

Courtesy The Chariton Herald-Patriot, Dec. 1, 1966

Courtesy The Chariton Herald-Patriot, Dec. 1, 1966

A Chariton Herald-Patriot article dated Dec. 1, 1966, said papers found in a billfold indicated Sanders had been released from the Oregon penitentiary in March following a conviction for non-support.

Sanders, the article stated, was divorced and the father of six children.

On Sanders’ cemetery gravestone, family members list his date of death as October 1, 1966.

Investigators initially speculated Sanders had taken a fall while riding the rails. His only detectable injury, however, was a fractured wrist.

Though the Herald-Patriot article attributes cause of death as exposure, when the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Fred Sanders’ death was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

About Fred Sanders
Courtesy photo Doris Christensen,
Fred Sanders is buried at the Chariton Cemetery in Lucas County.

Fred Sanders was born in Lawrence, Kansas, on December 10, 1922, to Clara Jane Hothan and Clyde Barton Sanders.

He married Norma Cathryn Schoonover in 1942, and the couple had six children.

He served in the United States Army during World War II as a Technician Fifth Grade with the 745th American Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion’s Continental Air Command.

The Rev. Eldon Jandebeur, pastor of the First Christian Church, officiated memorial services on Dec. 1, 1966, with the Miley Chapel in charge of burial arrangements.

Fred Sanders was laid to rest in the Chariton Cemetery in Lucas County, Iowa.

In addition to his children, Sheriff Wayne Swanson said Sanders also had two sisters, a brother and his mother surviving.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Fred Sanders’ unsolved murder please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email



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2 Responses to Fred Sanders

  1. All of these bother me. To think of a family member gone, especially murdered with no answers, I just can’t imagine. Add he was a veteran and its even more devastating. He served a country in which he returned to and was murdered in. Just so messed up. Prayers they find who did this. This was 48 years ago, even if the murderer were deceased, to have closure for the victims remaining generations would be respectful and right.

  2. Joshua Brown says:

    Its just disturbing at how many there are and what about the ones that were missed or we dont know about. Creepy.

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