George Keller (Courtesy photo

George Keller (Courtesy photo Keller family)

George Raymond Keller

Homicide

George Raymond Keller
61 YOA
Rural Route 34
Woodburn, IA
Clarke County
Case Number: 81-05701
September 28, 1981

 

Case Summary by Jody Ewing

George Raymond Keller, a 61-year-old World War II veteran, was found dead in his rural Clarke County, Iowa home in the early morning hours on Tuesday, September 29, 1981.

According to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Keller, who lived alone, had converted his garage into a temporary home while he was having a house that was destroyed by fire two years earlier rebuilt.

Clarke County in Iowa

Clarke County in Iowa

A Cedar Rapids Gazette article published Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1981, said the fire had been tagged an arson but officials never made any arrests in the case.

An autopsy performed Sept. 29 at a Des Moines hospital showed Keller died from more than one gunshot wound to the head.

DCI agents and Clarke County sheriff’s officials said Keller was found in a pool of blood. The Gazette also reported:

Keller’s sister, Lucy Kent, and brother-in-law, who became suspicious when Keller failed to show up for work at an Osceola gas station Monday night, found him dead at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, officials said.

Authorities said Keller was a chicken farmer and was known as “Chicken George.” He lived alone and did not have a telephone, officials said.

1981-9-30-crg-george-keller-homicide
Courtesy The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Wed., Sept. 30, 1981
Keller’s rural home northeast of Woodburn was destroyed in an arson fire two years before the World War II veteran was shot in the head and killed. Both crimes remain unsolved.

Bob Wetzler, Keller’s employer of more than a year, had notified Ms. Kent of Keller’s failure to report to work, the Gazette said. Mr. and Mrs. Kent and Wetzler went to Keller’s garage apartment, located about 12 miles northeast of Woodburn, and found him lying on the floor just inside the door of his home.

“He had one hand up in the air like he was lunging or something,” Wetzler is quoted as saying in the Gazette’s Sept. 30 story.

DCI Remains Committed to Case

When the Iowa DCI established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, George Keller’s murder 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.

Family Asks for Public’s Help in Solving Keller’s Murder

An August 20, 2014 message sent to Iowa Cold Cases asked for the public’s help in solving Keller’s death, stating:

The family would like everyone to know we have not forgotten George and we would very much appreciate any help opening his case and getting as much publicity about his case as possible.

It’s been too long and there are still people who know something — we just have to drag it out of them to receive justice for George and let him finally rest in peace.

He has one sibling still living — he was never married nor did he have any children.

About George Keller
George Keller gravestoneCourtesy photo Frank, findagrave.com
George Keller is buried in Bethel Chapel Cemetery.

George Raymond Keller was born in Clarke County on March 18, 1920, to Oren Ray and Ina Elizabeth (Snyder) Keller.

He served in World War II as a Tech 4 with the US Army.

Keller was a lifelong bachelor, and though he had no children, he had a large extended family including three brothers and three sisters.

He was buried in the Bethel Chapel Cemetery in Liberty, Iowa, Clarke County.

Information Needed

If you have any information about George Keller’s unsolved murder, please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, email dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us, or contact the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 342-2914.

Sources:

8 Responses to George Keller

  1. Jennifer Sweeden says:

    George was a friend of my dad’s for many years and we used to visit often. As young children, we always knew him as Chicken George. Our thoughts go out to his family and other friends.

  2. Amanda Samson says:

    I believe it was Jerry Broughton who committed this crime but cant be proven

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Amanda, I like that his brother Dennis and a friend Michael Followill, were also involved in the robbery. But Jerry killed Mr. Horner. I guess stealing $5.25, was not enough. It sounds like something he might be connected to the murder of George Keller. I wonder if they ever followed up and interviewed him.

    The other question is what happened to his brother Dennis and Mr. Followill. Did they ever do anytime for their involvement in the crime, which led to the death of Mr. Horner.

  4. Amanda Samson says:

    Mike and Denny did some time but not much

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