Gary Lack

Gary Lack (Courtesy photo Veronica Lack)

Gary Dean Lack

Homicide

Gary Dean Lack
58 YOA
1475 325th Street
Nora Springs, IA
(Section 11, T-97-N, R-18-W)
Mitchell County
January 14, 2004

 

BOARD OF NURSING CASE NO. 05-0365

CAUSE OF DEATH: Drowning (in own blood) after a hospice nurse illegally administered fatal dosage of an unprescribed drug she’d stolen from another client

ORIGINAL INVESTIGATING AGENCY: Medicare, Iowa Board of Nursing and Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals

  • J.B. Bennett, Chief
  • Martha Coleman, Program Coordinator
  • (May 2004 – October 2005)

INVESTIGATION OF PROVIDER #16-1503 — HOSPICE OF NORTH IOWA

DATE OF DEATH: January 14, 2004

For in-depth information on Gary Lack’s 2004 homicide and the death of his son, Adam Lack, in July 2008, please visit Adam Lack’s page here on our website or download Adam’s Voice (PDF or Word document), a 39-page detailed and documented narrative Gary’s wife, Veronica Lack, wrote about Mitchell County’s ongoing illegal point-source pollution plume and the Lack family’s fight for their lives and the lives of neighbors, farm animals and family pets.

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Many people believe Gary Lack died of colon cancer that had spread to his liver.

Gary and Veronica Lack family farm in Mitchell County, IowaCourtesy photo landandfarm.com
The Lack family farm located 9 miles northeast of Nora Springs in Mitchell, County, Iowa.

Lack, who lived nine miles northeast of Nora Springs in Mitchell County, Iowa, indeed suffered from colon cancer. It’s also true the cancer had spread to his liver.

Lack, however, did not die from cancer. He died Wednesday, January 14, 2004, at his home after a nurse from the Charles City, Iowa, Mercy Hospice Office first overdosed him January 12 with a drug she called Kayexalate powder and returned January 14 to overdose him with Haloperidol and DBR (Decadron, Benadryl and Reglan) gel — drugs the nurse had stolen from other patients and the Osage Hospital pharmacy.

According the Iowa Cold Cases founder Jody Ewing, trying to encapsulate the sheer number of atrocities and horrors inflicted upon both Gary and Veronica Lack in the 72 hours preceding Gary’s death would be like trying to condense an entire encyclopedia into 5000 words.

This account is, at best, an extremely “sanitized” version of unspeakable acts of neglect and cruelty, cover-ups, corruption and lies. Ewing says only one other cold case crosses so many professional boundaries in an extraordinary blatant disregard for human life. The other case is that of Gary Lack’s son, Adam Lack.

“Both cases border on crimes against humanity that far exceed a typical premeditated murder,” says Ewing.

Gary Lack died in his wife’s arms after the couple spent nearly three days trying to summon help to their home after Hospice nurse Linda S. Drewelow administered fatal doses of stolen medication.

Gary and Veronica Lack FamilyCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Gary and Veronica Lack with the six children they raised. In back (in black hat) is Anthony, and Gary. In second row, Veronica holds baby William; next to her is daughters Tanya and Heidi, son Ben, and in front, Adam.

The nurse wasn’t just any nurse. And, she hadn’t stolen the Kayexalate powder from just any pharmacy. She’d stolen it, after hours and with no pharmacist on duty, from the Prescription Shoppe pharmacy located inside the Osage Hospital. Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk’s wife ran the pharmacy.

Ms. Drewelow also had stolen the drug Diethylstilbestrol (DES) from the Lack’s home. The drug is now banned in the United States because of its connection to birth defects, and the only way anyone (from the U.S.) can obtain it is through the Mayo Clinic Pharmacy. When the Rochester hospital discovered Gary’s prescription for it had been stolen, they urged Veronica Lack to try to recover it and to ask Medicare to investigate.

Medicare and the Iowa Board of Nursing conducted an investigation into Ms. Drewelow’s actions, which resulted in a Medicare report with 25 pages of citations against Drewelow and Mercy Hospice of North Iowa in five patients’ deaths … all of which occurred during a matter of hours.

Mitchell County in Iowa

Mitchell County in Iowa

Though hospice care is normally associated with end-of-life care, the Mayo Clinic — just two days before his death — had assigned Gary Lack “temporary” hospice care based on two facts: Gary had been to the Mayo Clinic Monday, January 12, and was scheduled to enter a new clinical drug trial for his cancer. Mayo Clinic would have liked Mr. Lack to remain at the hospital during the trial, but he didn’t want to leave his wife home alone; she had her own medical issues and a broken right leg. Mayo allowed the couple to return home so they could help each other.

After Gary’s death, Veronica and her son Adam dressed him in his favorite Hawkeye sweats for his children and grandchildren. Two young men arrived with plans to take Gary to the Champion-Bucheit Funeral home in Osage.

As Veronica and Adam set about notifying family members and close friends of Lack’s death, things were about to take another wicked, unimaginable turn.

Evil Unleashed

Veronica Lack doesn’t believe the vehicle carrying her husband’s body ever made it to Osage. Some time after leaving the Lack’s home and while on route to Champion-Bucheit Funeral home, the two young men received a call from Dr. Paul Royer, a Mercy Hospice doctor who’d never once seen Gary Lack as a patient — dead or alive. Royer instructed the two to take Lack’s body to Mason City for cremation.

No coroner or medical examiner had examined Lack after his death, let alone pronounced him dead or ordered he be diverted to Mason City for immediate cremation. There would be no autopsy. Neither Veronica Lack nor any of her children had signed any papers or given anyone permission to cremate Gary Lack, yet he was cremated the same day he died without ever having been officially pronounced dead. Veronica had not even been allowed to remove Gary’s wedding ring.

Gary and Veronica Lack familyCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Veronica and Gary Lack (far right) and their children fought hard against upstream point source polluters but found themselves no match for the number of high-ranking officials involved in illegally planned and drained flood channels. Gary, who developed hormone feeding tumors that spread to his colon and liver, was killed in his Mitchell County farm house on Jan. 14, 2004. Son Adam, shown here next to his mother, was killed four years later in July 2008.

On Dr. Royer’s orders, Lack’s body — dressed in the Hawkeye sweats and his wedding ring still on his finger — quietly arrived in Mason City for burning and his ashes then swiftly returned to the funeral home.

When Veronica Lack, her son Adam and the family’s priest arrived Thursday morning at the funeral home so the priest could bless Gary’s body, the company said they’d not be able to view the body.

Instead, Champion-Bucheit Funeral Home presented Veronica with papers they said she needed to sign to “accept her husband’s already cremated remains.”

The papers — an agreement authorizing the funeral home to cremate a body — already had the date filled in: the previous day, January 14, the same day Gary died and was cremated without an autopsy and without the family’s permission.

Signing the document would be a false statement indicating Veronica had given the home “permission” to cremate her husband. Gary hadn’t wanted an open casket funeral, but neither had he expressed any wish for cremation. After all, both he and Veronica had already bought and paid for their future cemetery lots.

Mother and son looked at one another and then to the priest. How could Veronica, in good conscience, sign a back-dated false document? The family would never have allowed Gary’s cremation without first getting the priest’s final blessing. And, Veronica would have kept his wedding ring as a keepsake. She and her son sat stunned, wondering how the body they’d expected the priest to bless that morning had suddenly turned into a box of ashes.

The funeral home made it very clear — they would not be able to release Gary’s cremated remains to Veronica unless she signed the backdated false document. Worse, if she wanted her husband’s cremains for the funeral, she’d be forced to sign an illegal document in the presence of both her son and the priest.

Champion-Bucheit Funeral Home director Thomas L. “Tom” Bucheit had neither answers nor explanations for the family; he said he hadn’t known what happened the day before because he wasn’t even at work that day.

In a Thursday, May 5, 2016, telephone conversation with Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk, Iowa Cold Cases’ Jody Ewing asked for the name of the physician who had signed off on Gary Lack’s death before his cremation — specifically, the name of the medical examiner or physician who’d pronounced Lack dead before Lack’s body was diverted to Mason City for quick cremation. Walk admitted he didn’t know if anyone had signed off on Gary Lack’s death. He also could not provide the name of any physician who saw Lack’s body and pronounced Lack deceased before Lack’s Mason City cremation.

Iowa Cold Cases learned that LPN-turned-RN Linda Drewelow had pronounced Gary Lack dead, and was later cited by the Iowa Board of Nursing for illegally assuming the role of both physician and medical examiner.

When asked, Walk had no answer as to why Dr. Royer had called the drivers transporting Lack’s body and instructed them to take Lack’s body to Mason City for cremation instead of taking the body to the Champion Funeral Home as initially directed.

No proof exists that Gary Lack’s body ever reached the funeral home in Osage before being redirected to Mason City for cremation without an official declaration of death or an autopsy.

In an ironic twist of fate, Lack had been to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester on January 12, 2004 — just two days before his death.

Dr. Prema P. Peethambaram at Mayo had wanted to switch Lack’s chemotherapy to a trial scheduled to open in two weeks, and encouraged Lack to remain at Mayo until the trial began. Lack, however, didn’t want to leave his wife alone on the farm as she currently had a broken leg. He’d need to look after her, and she could help look after him, Lack told Dr. Peethambaram.

Respecting Lack’s wishes, Dr. Peethambaram called Mercy Hospice in Charles City, Iowa, to set up an afternoon appointment to begin temporary hospice care for the period of the trial and as needed. The hospice care was deemed “temporary” because Lack was by no means in his final stages of death from cancer. The “temporary” hospice care distinction simply would allow hospice care for a period of time in which neither Gary nor Veronica Lack were fully capable of caring for the other.

The same day the couple returned home from the Mayo Clinic, the hospice nurse nearly killed Lack with an overdose of Kayexalate, a drug she mixed on her own that would render Lack nearly paralyzed within one day. Two days later she’d successfully overdose him with Haloperidol, a drug she’d stolen from Hospice patient Ray Power, who died just hours before Lack.

On Thursday, Gary Lack’s obituary appeared in the Globe-Gazette, side-by-side next to the obituary for Raymond Joseph Power.

There would be no criminal investigation launched into Gary Lack’s death, even after the county attorney received copies of investigative reports filed against the nurse by both Medicare and the Iowa Board of Nursing.

Why?

Iowa Cold Cases asked Mr. Walk why he hadn’t — after receiving copies of the aforementioned documents* — filed criminal charges against Linda Drewelow. The Iowa Board of Nursing and Medicare had completed their investigations and it was up to the county attorney to file appropriate charges based on those reports. Mr. Walk did not provide an answer to Iowa Cold Cases as to why he’d never taken action or filed criminal charges against Drewelow.

  • Note: This legally recorded conversation with County Attorney Walk, as well as hundreds of pages of court and other legal documents concerning the deaths of both Gary Lack and his son, Adam Lack, are now available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) head office in Washington, D.C.
Tumors, Masses, and Malpractice

Both Gary and Veronica Lack started getting sick in 1995, and by April 1998 when the couple’s pigs were docked over half their dressed weight due to miscellaneous masses and tumors, Gary received his first terminal cancer diagnosis: inflammatory prostate cancer that spread to his bones while the tumors in his neck pinched off blood to his brain.

Through help from the Mayo Clinic, Lack’s cancer had gone into remission. It would be another four years before Lack’s son Adam would become a second casualty.

According to Veronica Lack, her husband’s and son’s murders were related to a cover-up — an ongoing point-source pollution plume from Mitchell County’s illegally planned drainage system — designed to drain Wetlands down sinkholes.

On Page 1 of “Adam’s Voice,” Veronica Lack included the following statement from her investigation into her son’s death and how things began:

Section 10 Cedar West Township, Mitchell County, Iowa (and sections to the south and west), never had any drainage outlet. It was an old lake bed or huge sinkhole swale that generally caused the crops to be ponded out. As those farmers in the Wetland wanted to switch from grass and pasture to higher income producing row crops like corn and soybeans, they needed to create a drainage outlet. All of my problems with water pollution, trespassing, theft of topsoil, flood damage, erosion and the deaths of my husband and son stemmed from these farmers’ need to create an outlet for water.

“My father, a Floyd County dairy farmer, had been a farm drainage advocate as a supervisor when the Avenue of the Saints was built through Floyd County,” Veronica said. “I had gone with him to film drainage problems when drainage disputes needed attention. I understood the importance of drainage to farmers.”

Veronica LackCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Veronica Lack, shown here in January 2015, continues her fight to see justice served in her husband’s and son’s murders. She remains Iowa’s strongest voice against point source pollution plumes, illegal draining, and also continues to advocate for clean water for all Iowans.

When feedlot or field runoff is channeled down sinkholes, those swales or sinkholes are direct conduits to downstream farmers’ aquifers and drinking water, Veronica told Iowa Cold Cases.

“Brad Johnson’s farm lies within a gigantic sinkhole swale that the farmers in that 2200-acre swale wanted to drain,” she said. Because of the limited soil depth, they could not tile some areas and had no legal outlet to drain their tile.

When Gary received chemo treatment at the Mayo Clinic on April 15, 2003, for his second terminal cancer since moving to the Iowa farm, Veronica said Roger Mayer, David Mayer and Mark Wagner trespassed on the couple’s farm with a bulldozer and excavator and started digging west through their property line fence and that of Dean Kleckner’s.

“No one should dig a flood channel without doing an environmental impact study first and they certainly should not trespass on another person’s land to dig through a line of existing, NRCS Surveyed and documented sinkholes to channel flood water,” Veronica said.

Plat Map of Veronica Lack propertyCourtesy landandfarm.com
The Lacks lived nine miles northeast of Nora Springs in Mitchell County as shown in this landandfarm.com plat map.

When she and her husband arrived home from the Mayo Clinic and caught them in the act, Veronica said she grabbed a camera and drove down into one of her family’s fields.

“I saw Mark Wagner driving the bulldozer, pushing our soil over onto Dean Kleckner’s land. We ordered them to put our soil back,” she said. “Gary’s chemo bandage was still on his wrist in the pictures I took of him yelling at David and Roger Mayer and Mark Wagner to put our soil back up to this level where he put out his arms.”

The men told the Lacks they were hired by William Brandau to dig a waterway.

“Dean Kleckner told the sheriff the soil would be put back and the fence replaced,” Veronica said. “Because we trusted Dean Kleckner, we thought the damage would be repaired. Dean Kleckner had showed up in a police car on the 16th of April 2003 and said he would have Mayer Digging reinstall our soil and replace our fence-line.”

After her husband’s homicide but before her son’s murder, Veronica said of the situation:

“It wasn’t since William Brandau later purchased Dean Kleckner’s farm and the Brandau’s lied under oath in the 2007 trial that they and Mayer’s Digging employees were in that visit instead of Dean Kleckner. The Mitchell County Sheriff refused to give me a copy of the 2003 trespass charges and the disposition of those charges until 2008, after the civil case the IDNR said I should file, was lost, the disposition stated Dean Kleckner would have Mayer Digging restore our soil and property line fence at the prior grade, but they did not restore it.”

Iowa’s NRCS director Paul Sweeney said in early 2007, “They are channeling it over the road (at Echo Avenue by Brad Johnson’s).”

“We could not taste the anhydrous ammonia, atrazine, and lead dumped into our drinking water supply; the manure had been visible, smelly, and disgusting,” Veronica said.

Over a period of years, the Lacks spent around $150,000 to install new well and plumbing systems, including an extra protection whole house reverse osmosis filter system. Veronica Lack, however, continued to battle the contaminated water effects on her own health; she underwent a double mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis, had about 80 lymph nodes removed, underwent a hysterectomy and numerous other surgeries, and spent more than a decade seeing Mayo Clinic dermatologists for blistering rashes. Her esophagus became badly damaged from the anhydrous ammonia still leaking into the family farm’s water supply.

Once the Mayo Clinic learned of Lack’s death, they not only encouraged Veronica Lack to try to recover the drugs Drewelow had stolen from the Lacks — in the wrong hands, Diethylstilbestrol could case birth defects — but they also suggested Veronica contact Medicare and ask them to investigate.

During the investigation, Hospice nurse Drewelow, Veronica Lack said, admitted to stealing drugs from the Lacks as well as Ray Power, and also bringing Power’s DBR gel over with the Haloperidol pills and administering them to Gary Lack when Lack had no prescription for either. She also admitted to taking the Kayexalate powder from the Osage Hospital Pharmacy on the night of January 12, 2004, with no pharmacist on duty.

Medicare investigators provided Veronica Lack with a copy of their investigative report: it contained 25 pages of citations against Drewelow and Mercy Hospice of North Iowa in five patients’ deaths within a period of 48 hours.

Medicare cited Drewelow for stealing Ray Power’s drugs and illegally dispersing them to Gary Lack, resulting in Lack’s death. Medicare also cited Drewelow for not providing Ray Power with proper care; she’d picked up his prescriptions the week before he died but never delivered them to him.

Veronica took Medicare’s investigative findings and handed the 25-page report — along with her own records and notes – over to Mitchell County Sheriff Curt Younker and then to Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk.

“Neither would charge [Drewelow] nor investigate the deaths of any of the five people who were killed under Linda’s care,” Veronica stated on page 18 in her “Adam’s Voice” testimonial.

Dr. Paul Royer suffered no ill consequences of his actions, either.

The Iowa Medical Examiner’s Board sent placed a simple letter in Dr. Royer’s permanent file. In the letter, the Board warned him “not to lie on death certificates as to cause of death.”

Dr. Royer refused to correct his lies, Veronica said, leading to yet another battle with the couple’s life insurance company.

Unprecedented Violence and Harassment

After Gary Lack’s death, his son Adam remained in Iowa to protect his mother and family’s farm and continue his fight against the upstream point source polluting Mitchell County farmers and the officials who protected them.

In the night’s dark hours, vehicles frequently began parking at the end of the Lack home’s driveway, letting mother and son know they were being watched. Whenever Adam or his mother went outside to confront them, the drivers would spin out, shooting rocks at the homeowners and the house. Gary Eggers, a nearby neighbor, told Iowa Cold Cases he endured the same type of harassment.

Adam Lack graduates from Brown UniversityCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Gary and Veronica Lack’s son, Adam Lack, graduated from Brown University on an academic scholarship before returning to Iowa to protect his mother after his father’s death. Adam was methodically killed in Mitchell County, Iowa, four years later on July 13, 2008.

Adam’s truck, Veronica’s Blazer and the family’s Trailblazer were routinely vandalized — windshields broken, brake lines repeatedly cut, and other damages — and the Lacks had gone to Sheriff Younker to file charges related to the vandalisms.

Veronica said he’d told them he couldn’t do anything unless they provided the vandal or vandals’ license plate numbers as proof of who’d actually vandalized their vehicles. Doing so proved nearly impossible, as the offenders usually shrouded the front license plates with cloth or other coverings.

The bullying tactics went on for years after Gary Lack’s homicide.

By July 2008, Adam Lack, an operations supervisor at Hanlontown’s POET Bio-Refining ethanol plant, had been dealing with a “Hot Ferm” and had just accomplished something never before done at an ethanol plant; he’d been working to get the ferm’s heat to spread to other ferms by physically going out and turning valves. He’d been working 13-hour days with no days off for weeks, but in mid-July completed the job and got the “hot” ferm through to production.

The time he’d spent inhaling ethanol fumes had caused his face to badly swell and sent his asthma out of control.

He’d worked all day Saturday, July 12, 2008, and arrived home just after 10:30 p.m., just in time to see the Chevy Impala parked in the driveway while another individual ran from the house toward the vehicle and jumped in on the Impala’s passenger side.

Dave Letterman had just begun his late night monologue when Veronica Lack heard the sound of her son’s truck. Looking out the window, she also witnessed the man running back to the Impala and getting in on the passenger side. She saw Adam’s pickup out beneath the yard light before it disappeared to follow the Chevy Impala.

The Impala led Adam up to an unfamiliar area north of Highway 9 on a blacktop road with no shoulders and a sharp curve. When Adam rounded the curve, the Impala sat parked across both traffic lanes, and he took the right ditch rather than broadsiding the vehicle. Though his pickup rolled, he’d worn his seatbelt and the airbag deployed. He survived the accident intact, but part of his legs and feet were pinned beneath the dashboard. He removed the keys from the ignition and waited for help.

The first 911 call to report the accident came in just minutes before midnight, but no medical staff arrived. Instead, the farmers and firefighters against whom Lack had testified the previous year — testimony that included how Brad Johnson knifed anhydrous ammonia in through waterways and drained it down a line of sinkholes on his farm — began circling their prey.

Judge Bryan McKinley presided over the 2007 trial and is visibly present in some of the 26 photos County Attorney Mark Walk would later use to threaten Veronica Lack.

“I got your boy.”

Those present at the scene of Adam’s eventual death and captured in photos included not only McKinley, but Deputy Hintz and Mitchell County Coroner Dr. Mark Haganman.

Adam Lack photo #22 Courtesy photo Veronica Lack
“Picture #22” of 26 photos shows Adam Lack, still alive, inside his Dodge pickup just moments before a final drop snapped his neck at the C-2 and C-3 vertebra.

Sometime after 7 a.m. July 13, 2008, St. Ansgar Fire and Rescue personnel strung chains across the ditch to Adam’s truck, and, according to the 26 time-stamped photos taken at the crime scene, began to repeatedly lift Adam’s truck and then drop it back down on him.

One eyewitness, who was visiting a friend and told to “come along” to the crime scene, said he had never witnessed anything like it in his life.

“Adam was crying out, ‘Help me. Get me out of here,'” the individual said, and one of the men present laughed and said “We’ll get you out of there, all right.” The outsider then watched as one of the men wrapped a chain around Adam Lack’s neck.

One of the first drops crushed Adam’s right arm. Another broke his femur. Palas Graham continued to snap photos as the ongoing lifting and dropping mashed Adam’s trapped legs and ankles and then smashed his already dislocated left arm. Photos show Adam’s right arm, his hand balled into a fist, pressing hard into the ground in one last attempt to raise his body from the impending ground.

Another photo shows Adam left lying alone, his fist still pressed into the ground, as officials in front of the pickup gather together and two other individuals are seen walking away from pickup near the tailgate. Some photos show Adam still trapped and alone while other laugh or smile several feet away.

Nearly 10 hours after Adam took the ditch instead of hitting the Impala, and with blood now splattered inside the pickup’s cab and across the windshield, the chain lifted and dropped Adam’s truck once again. This time, the drop snapped Adam’s neck at the C-2 and C-3 vertebra, bringing his nearly day-long torture to an abrupt end.

Mitchell County authorities gave conflicting reports about Adam’s death, at times stating he’d died “instantly” in a “single-vehicle accident,” and other times stating they’d given him a breathalyzer and going so far as to spread local rumors saying Adam was intoxicated.

He was not.

This time, however, officials weren’t able to bypass an autopsy.

The Mason City coroner confirmed what Veronica Lack already knew: Adam Lack had no alcohol or any other drugs in his system. The only unusual thing the coroner found was evidence of job-related “ethanol fume exposure” attributed to Adam’s work at the POET Biorefining ethanol plant.

On July 20, 2008, the week after Adam’s funeral, Veronica Lack said Brad Johnson turned out in front of her at the level B section of Echo Avenue. He stopped in the middle of the road three times, Veronica said, his arm out the window and preventing her from passing through.

“He gave me this gloating look, and yelled ‘I got your boy,’ the same as he had done in the court case in 2005 when he had charged Adam with assault after Adam asked Johnson to stop harassing me,” Veronica Lack said.

Veronica sat parked along the road, in shock, until Johnson finally drove off.

“And I then, even though I don’t remember, I drove the last mile home,” she said. (See Adam’s Voice, pages 33-34.)

“You know you have five other children.”

~ Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk to Veronica Lack when she refused to sell her land to polluting offenders for less than half its value

The polluting Mitchell County farmers became more determined than ever to force Veronica to sell her land for a pittance. She’d since learned about and obtained copies of the 26 photos taken at her son’s murder scene, and when she refused to sign off more than a hundred acres she and her late husband owned, Walk showed her the photos chronicling her son Adam’s gruesome death.

“You know you have five other children,” he said.


Gary and Adam Lack’s murders remain unsolved.

Veronica Lack, despite ongoing health problems, continues to fight for Iowans’ health and has filed a Civil Rights lawsuit in efforts to force the state to protect and warn the half-million Iowans at risk in this Point Source Pollution Plume.

About Gary Lack

Gary was born August 29, 1945, at Osage, Iowa, the son of Harold and Mildred (Kinney) Lack of rural Orchard, Iowa. He attended grade school in Orchard, and graduated from Osage High School in 1963.

Three generations: Adam Lack with father and grandfatherCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Adam Lack, back right in yellow, with his father, Gary Lack, and grandfather.

Gary attended the University of Northern Iowa upon completion of high school, and married Veronica M. (Naumann) Lack on January 16, 1979.

Gary worked for a short time after college at the John Deere Foundry in Waterloo, Iowa. He then worked at Lehigh Portland Cement Company in Mason City for nearly 20 years, where he was a representative of Local D-106.

Gary retired from Lehigh in 1985.

The couple resided in Rockford, Iowa until 1986, and then lived in Cedar Falls and Mason City, Iowa, until 1989, when they sold their Mason City home and bought a motel in Buffalo, Wyoming.

After four wonderful years in Wyoming, the family sold the Wyoming motel and in 1993 moved to Nora Springs in Mitchell County, Iowa, where they still lived at the time of Gary’s death.

Gary died Wednesday, January 14, 2004, at his home. He was 58.

Dr. Paul Royer, associated with Mercy Hospice, ordered Gary’s cremation — his wedding ring and all — without the family’s permission in efforts to conceal Lack’s deadly poisoning by a Mercy Hospice nurse.

A memorial Mass was held Saturday, January 17, 2004, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Osage, with Rev. Mark Reasoner officiating. Inurnment was in the Orchard Cemetery in Orchard, Iowa, in Mitchell County, with the Champion–Bucheit Funeral home in Osage in charge of arrangements.

Adam Lack's gravestoneCourtesy photo Veronica Lack
Gary and Adam Lack’s gravestone monument represents two tree trunks cut down in their prime. Both were laid to rest in the Orchard Cemetery in Orchard, Iowa, Mitchell County.

Gary’s survivors included his wife, Veronica M. Lack of Nora Springs; six children, Dr. Anthony L. Lack of Baytown, Texas, Heidi M. (Dr. Robert) Thunhorst of Iowa City, Tanya R. (Shawn) Hamilton of Kansas City, Missouri, Benjamin J. (Fernanda De Collo) Lack of West Des Moines, Adam M. Lack of Nora Springs, and William D. Lack and his fiancée, Brandi Moon of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; three grandchildren, Erica N. Lack, Gustav M. Thunhorst, Gabriella D. Lack; his father Harold Lack of Orchard; one brother James (Helen) Lack of Orchard; one sister Margaret Lack and husband Stewart of Hood, Virginia; paternal aunt Marilyn (Philip) Larson of Mission, Texas; and many cousins.

Gary’s mother Mildred Lack, along with his maternal and paternal grandparents, preceded him in death.

On July 13, 2008, Gary and Veronica Lack’s 33-year-old son Adam Lack became another Mitchell County fatality who’d fought against the ongoing point-source pollution plume and the county’s illegally planned drainage system designed to drain Wetlands down sinkholes.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Gary Lack’s 2004 unsolved homicide or his son Adam Lack’s 2008 homicide, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the Washington, DC, office at (202) 278-2000, or fax related documents to (202) 278-2478. You may also email washington.field@ic.fbi.gov or send information via the FBI Tips and Public Leads online form.

The Iowa/Nebraska FBI office may be reached at (402) 493-8688 or by email at Omaha@ic.fbi.gov.

Sources:

 

18 Responses to Gary Lack

  1. Jeffrey jarvis says:

    It is sad and sickening that the corruption of big companies and state and federal employees can go unnoticed and unaccounted for when it leads to the death of helpless Americans. When there is so much proof and circumstantial evidence that would put away any ordinary citizens, these corrupt men and women get off Scott free. My prayers go out to the family and everyone in my home state that have no one to protect them. When all is gone and man has no one to rule over may they, that are left, that created their fate be tormented with the deathes they caused before the fall waste to their own scourge.

    • Veronica Lack says:

      Mr. Jarvis, the groups of big industrial Ag and Big Koch Brothers Oil Corp Anhydrous Ammonia and Big Chemical Corps create the chemicals and water soluble Nitrogen fertilizers that are increasingly polluting Iowa’s Source Waters and shortening the life spans and causing learning disabilities with the levels of Lead and Arsenic and deadly decontaminants being drawn into our Source Waters by Ammonia Nitrogen as N, while their profits have climbed their pressures denied access to what was contaminating our wells and killing our animals.

      Iowa’s water quality is now testing at the highest levels in the Nation for these two Nitrogen fertilizers that are creating the Green Slime on our rivers and streams and growing the Dead Zones in the Gulf.
      This was done under the Republican Administration of Iowa’s longest term Governor who refused to enforce Iowa’s 16 Drainage Laws and the Clean Water Act on the Corporate Ag farmers and destroyed the lives and farms of some Iowa Small farmers who fought to stay in compliance with Iowa’s Drainage Laws. Adam’s RUSLE3 equation was our hope to enforce those laws and limit the contamination of our Source Waters with Anhydrous Ammonia and CAFO Nitrogen fertilizers and to keep the drinking water of cities Downstream from being polluted with these Nitrogen fertilizers and other farm chemicals.
      Towards the end of 2016 Bill Stowe who treats the water for Des Moines, Waukee, Urbandale, and other towns had to switch Rivers as the Raccoon River was so contaminated with Anhydrous Ammonia and CAFO Nitrogen Fertilizers he could not treat that water safely as the Ammonia Nitrogen as N did not combine well with the Chlorine and the deadly decontaminants that form from mixing Chlorine and Ammonia

  2. Veronica Lack says:

    My Iowa Civil Rights Commission Complaint was filed in 2010 after the then director of the Iowa DNR gave a radio address to Iowans saying that his Non-Enforcement of the 16 Iowa Drainage Laws and The Clean Water Act had not affected the health of any Iowans.

    He was not counting the Iowans in the Plume from Mitchell County Iowa that has grown and has taken out wells in Floyd, Butler, Bremer, and Black Hawk Counties (in 2015).

    The Big Oil Corps that produce Anhydrous Ammonia and Industrial AG CAFO’s Nitrogen fertilizers, produce and profit from the sale and even the application of these two very Water Soluble Nitrogen Fertilizers (like the KOCH Brothers) that Iowans are drinking at ever increasing levels, because our Iowa Drainage Laws and the Clean Water Act have not been enforced on some Iowa farmers. Up until 5/13/2009 NRCS enforced those laws on me, an Iowa farmer, in Cedar (W) Township, Mitchell County, IA. Before May of 2009 and since the IDNR and our Governor and legislature has hidden the data we Iowans paid for like the well tests for what was contaminating our wells even when the IDNR condemned our wells. When I was forced off two 200 acre farms in Mitchell and Floyd County in 2008 and 2009 after Adam was murdered. the Mitchell County Soil and Water Conservation Board dug away the over $150,000 of unfunded Conservation work I was required to install by NRCS to be in Compliance with my 1995 Corps of Engineer’s Agreement for Drainage. The Mitchell County Soil and Water Conservation Board created a Plume into the Upper Cedar Valley Group Aquifer that continues to contaminate Public and Private wells in parts of 4 Downstream Counties.

    In those 320 foot wide Flood Channels planned by Bradley Johnson former MCS&WC Chair illegally dug out through my farm and Carl Christiansen’s farm, their are composting piles of animal and bird waste on his and my old home farm, even after we were warned about avian flu and the huge dangers to bird losses for Iowa producers. My worry is to the health dangers of the possible 1/2 million drinking this contaminated water Downstream. Just take your cell phone and look up go to

    When our wells were condemned by the IDNR, we Downstream drilled to deeper aquifers, that new water was tested for Nitrates and Coliform and E.coli Bacteria but not the Nitrogen fertilizers, specific herbicides, pesticides, Arsenic, Cadmium Lead, Cyano or Microcystin, and decontaminants that had been killing our animals and damaging our family’s health in the upper aquifer.

    Civil Rights Pioneer Franklin McCain occupied a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960. He was refused even a cup of coffee, while being allowed to purchase school supplies. I was denied my well test reports and warning letters that included the contaminants that the IDNR was condemning my well for. So I filed my complaint under “Public Accommodations” as he and two other North Carolina students at A and T University did. My coffee was not even tasting good, as the pollutants increased and because we were denied access to the well test data. My animal loss numbers climbed, multiple tumors in multiple family members concurrently and our dog’s Mast cell tumor was the reason as well as neighbors like Carl Christiansen claiming his tumors were caused by our wells being polluted. We need access to the contaminant data that our tax dollars have paid to be done, by County sanitarians and IDNR agents who collect the water tests and have the Iowa Hygienic Labs process our well tests and now with our newer facilities and data storage we need usable access to the data.

    I had installed an Oxidizing whole house filter, a carbon filter, and a professional Reverse Osmosis (4 sets of filters) to try to reduce the contaminants, but my coffee still released a gas while percolating. Iowans need to know the levels of CAFO and especially Anhydrous Ammonia before they Chlorinate for the CAFO bacteria. Decontaminants can kill so we should also test for Trihalomethanes or Chloamines or the decontaminants that the Ammonia Nitrogen as N levels cause when we are told to Chlorinate by the IDNR.

    • Veronica Lack says:

      The address of my old 200 acre farm in Cedar (W) Township Mitchell County, IA was 1475 – 325th Street, Nora Springs, IA 50458 if you want to view the two areas of composted bird/animal waste use your IPhone GPS.

  3. Because of drinking our contaminated well’s water Gary had been treated at Mayo Clinic after having two Tumors removed from his neck in May of 1998. Others he was unable to have removed on his spine, were treated with chemo and he had gotten that first cancer in remission and there were signs of healing where that cancer had spread to his bones in a CAT scan in November of 2003. But in early 2003, because of a Colonoscopy at Mayo Clinic, after Iowa doctors in Mason City and Charles City had refused him that test earlier, Mayo had to remove over a foot of Gary’s Colon, and set up a concurrent round of Chemo for the second kind of cancer that had spread to his liver. But since 2002 Gary had been having high levels of potassium causing his heart to race, and weaken him until Dr. Peethambaram (his Oncologist) would hospitalize him and supervise his treatment with about a 2oz bottle of Sodium PolySulfonate in Sorbitol Solution. We were refused our well test reports and the list of contaminants that were testing positive in other wells that were being condemned by the IDNR around ours. The normal treatment for hyperkalemia or high potassium levels is drink lots of water to flush the potassium in your blood out through your kidneys. We are still being refused access to the well tests for the contaminants we were drinking then, or which ones the IDNR condemned our well in 2004 and then our new well after we had replaced our 2004 well with was again condemned about 5 years after we paid for the new 2004 well.

  4. Gary told me that he hated to leave me to fight them by myself, so that is probably why he made Adam promise to stay in Iowa and help protect me after Gary was killed. Adam then finished his Brown U degree at the U of Iowa. Adam was very interested in all renewable energy sources, after his research with Professor Hazeltine, and after 9/11 when his friends, Ray and Paul were killed when they went back up to help slower and disabled down the many stairs of the Towers, and then when Demi was killed in Iraq after being left alone to cover, even though he had been shot, for a group of marines to escape, he ran out of ammo and was slaughtered. Adam believed his friends were killed for the interests of Big Oil Corps and Adam wanted to make the US less dependant on fossil fuels and moving into Wind, Solar, Hydroelectric, renewable fuels like Biodiesel, Ethanol, and away from nuclear and dirty coal and fracking for dirtier oil at the expense of our water quality.

    • Adam was out trying to clear a path through the snowbanks so he and I could get Gary back to Rochester after Linda had overdosed and improperly mixed up Gary’s treatment for Hyperkalemia on the evening of 1/12/2004, Linda did not even have access to the prescription Dr. Peethambaram had written. Linda finally showed up after Betty McGee the Homemaker Aide showed up with some groceries and helped me hook up oxygen for Gary, and Betty or the lady with her had called Linda (so Linda came out when those two called, but not when Gary and I had repeatedly called the Hospice Office or the Charles City Hospital Mercy Hospice number to try to get help. Linda and the other Hospice nurse had been refusing us any help after Linda had mixed up the 4 times dose of Kayexalate on the 12th instead of Gary’s Mayo Clinic doctor’s prescribed Sodium Polysulfonate in Sorbitol solution that set in the Medicap Pharmacy until two days after Gary was dead. I was billed for it later, but it had been taken from the Pharmacy by a Hospice employee without them signing for it.

      That properly prescribed prescription that I was billed for in February, would have allowed Gary to lower his potassium level again, even though the IDNR still hides all the different contaminants in our well and it’s aquifer, the fertilizers were part of the reason for Gary’s high potassium levels.

      But Linda rushed in and grabbed the glass she had left setting on the nightstand (it still contained six more of the tubes of DBR gel, she had applied 2 tubes earlier on Gary’s neck and chest). She went out to the kitchen and came back in with that same glass without the tubes of clear DBR gel, but was stirring shiny water with two pink sponges on sticks. She started swabbing that liquid into Gary’s throat and I yelled at her to stop as I had been using a damp wash rag to wipe the vomit out of his throat/mouth so he wouldn’t choke. He glared at Linda, but looked back at me and that is when he said, I hate to leave you, to fight them by yourself.

      Linda stepped back by the TV, and announced, he’s dying now, do you want me to call Adam in?

  5. Adam Lack says:

    Bob Krause and Desmond Adams, I hope to see you, and others who fought like my son Adam for our State’s Water Quality, at the State Convention on the 18th, to thank you and ask for help to warn Iowans to have their Source Water tested for the Arsenic (As+3) and Lead that the high levels of Anhydrous Ammonia (Ammonia Nitrogen as N) and CAFO Nitrogen fertilizers draw into our drinking water in a Plume from Mitchell County that took out one of the City of Waterloo’s wells in 10/2015. Also since the sinkholes in Mitchell County now have 40 to 50,000 acres of farm run-off channeled to the Aquifer Recharge Area the CAFO Bacteria will rise and when a well is Chlorinated for that bacteria, deadly Trihalomethanes can develop, as Chlorine and the Anhydrous Ammonia or Ammonia Nitrogen as N, don’t just pull the two known carcinogens (Lead and Arsenic) into our water.
    Adam’s Mom, Veronica Lack

  6. In 2004 two IDNR geologists wrote me that there was no way to remediate my farm’s well and Paul VanDorpe told me they had known that no one not even animals should have been drinking our well’s water. He said that they had known since 1993 when I had first complained to the IDNR about Brad Johnson’s huge sinkhole taking the roar of manure, farm silage, and field run-off after Johnson/Sponheim/Urbatsch had pressured Bill Groskurs to dig the two ditches to try to drain the low center of Section 10 to the Echo Ave Box Culvert north of Brad and Ivan Johnson’s farmstead. Gary had been killed in January and had suffered as the rest of us Downstream from the list of contaminants that damaged our health and caused cancers and other health effects but the IDNR only told us to test for Nitrates and Bacteria and to Chlorinate when the Bacteria levels were up. In 1999 FEMA had funded a chlorinator for my farm as many of my animals were dying from miscellaneous masses and tumors. But as the IDNR was condemning my well they refused to tell me what chemicals were killing us or what we should test our water for to see if we could buy a better filter.

    The IDNR hid the fact that Anhydrous Ammonia and CAFO Nitrogen fertilizers were building up to ever increasing prior unheard of levels and that the Ammonia Nitrogen as N levels were abrasive and drew Arsenic and Lead into our Source Water. Ammonia also reacts with the Chlorine that the IDNR keeps telling us to use when the Bacteria levels are up and can cause deadly Trihalomethanes.

    EPA officials claim Iowa’s water is far worse than Flint Michigan’s in this Plume.

    So in 2004 I drilled a new well using Shawver’s Well Drillers and registered my new well with the IDNR. In 2006 the IDNR condemned the Eden Presbyterian Church’s well 2 miles away. But again didn’t tell us even within a few miles of that church what the contaminants were. But across the road from that church to the east were piles of dead pigs and we were refused even the answer to the question what aquifer was the church’s well using when the IDNR agents said the church could not have its Ice Cream Social because the IDNR would not allow children to use the bathroom and flush with that water. And again they told us to test for only Nitrates and Bacteria, not whatever was killing our animals and our neighbors Downstream.

  7. Lois Richardson says:

    Dateline needs to be notified!

    • Kat says:

      I agree with you, however they would say what wonderful Christian People they are!

      • Dee Urbatsch told me after Gary’s murder, you can’t prove the Gary’s cancers were caused by the water, because Gary was cremated.

        She knew I would never have given permission for his being burned before our children could say goodby.

        Who called and got Doctor Royer or whoever to call the Champion Funeral Home’s employees to turn from taking Gary to Osage and instead take him to Mason City for Cremation with his not even having been seen by a doctor and pronounced dead.

        I kept having thoughts that Gary was just unconscious or still alive when they burned him.

        • Jody Ewing says:

          Veronica, what Dee said is only further proof of why local officials committed these heinous (and illegal) acts of having Gary cremated before he could be seen by a doctor and pronounced dead. I would agree with Lois’ “Dateline” suggestion, but the story of what happened to Gary and then to Adam could fill far more hours than Netflix’s recent serial documentary, “Making a Murderer.”

          So many people are visiting Adam’s and Gary’s pages (some days it hits 9,000+ visitors for either one of them) that the page won’t always open in my browser — Adam’s in particular. I may have to split the comments up into two separate pages. No other case on ICC even comes close to the number of comments or monthly visits.

          While one may think it’s impossible to say anything “good” about any of these unsolved murders, you at least have one *extremely* important thing going for you with Adam’s case: there were just soooo many witnesses who provided different accounts and told so many lies (not to mention all the photographic evidence) and the truth is catching up and now nipping closely at all their heels. It’s only a matter of time. Once one single witness stumbles and falls, the others will come crashing down like dominoes.

          • In the first hearing to try to get Adam’s Death investigated Judge Bryan McKinley refused to recuse himself and he asked if I had gotten the letter that was sent to me, and I said yes, that is where I learned there were about 40 people just standing around and giving no aide to Adam. And the Mitchell County Property and Liability Attorney Rourick refused to answer the subpoenas for the names of the 40. Veronica

  8. Tammy says:

    This needs to be made into a major motion picture! And do it while the criminals are still alive so they can be ostracized and just maybe brought to justice! Shame to all the people in this area for looking the other way. To any of you that have not helped this family, don’t you dare step one foot into a church. You are no better then a member of the KKK or the Nazi’s during WWII.

    • Andolino, Leonard says:

      The FBI and other investigative agencies should have no problem finding the conspirators and murderers. It would seem they abound in this case.

      • Andolino, You are so right, the investigation notes by Medicare and the Iowa Inspection and Appeals Office, 25 pages of citations, as well as Nurse Linda’s, signed confession to the Board of Nursing’s investigation, and my notes given to those investigators, give any real outside of Iowa Investigators the list of witnesses and evidence in Gary’s murder. But so far Mitchell County and Iowa hides it all. Veronica Lack

        • Andolino, the one investigator that seemed to work the hardest on Gary’s case got sent to Iraq just as he seemed to come close. Maybe it was a coincidence but…

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