Geraldine Maggert

Geraldine Maggert (Courtesy KWWL)

Geraldine Lempke Maggert

Homicide

Geraldine Lempke Maggert
25 YOA
Home Residence: Cedar Rapids, IA
Body Found near Coralville Reservoir
Johnson County
Last Seen Alive: March 22, 1968
Body Found: April 6, 1968

 

 

KWWL reporter Kristin Rogers covers the 49th anniversary of Geraldine Maggert’s unsolved murder
Airdate March 22, 2017

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

The nearly nude body of Mrs. Geraldine Maggert, 25, was discovered in a wooded ravine near the Coralville reservoir in Johnson County on Saturday, April 6, 1968. Boy Scout troops hiking about four miles northeast of North Liberty stumbled upon the body at a popular party and picnic area known as “The Rock.”

An autopsy showed the Cedar Rapids woman died from a beating and exposure; she also was about three months pregnant.

Because Maggert’s body was discovered on federal property, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was called into the investigation. Officials conducted an extensive air and ground search and dragged the Iowa River in search of the woman’s clothing or any other personal items, but were unable to locate those items or the weapon used in her murder.

Composite leads to identification

No identification existed on or near the body, and after releasing a composite to local media, Maggert’s family and co-workers recognized her and contacted authorities.

1968-6-27-Oelwein-DR-collins-maggert-redmanCourtesy The Oelwein Daily Register
Publication date June 27, 1968 (Click to enlarge)

Maggert was divorced from her husband, Richard Maggert of Ithaca, New York, and the couple had a four-year-old daughter, Richine, who lived with Maggert in a second floor apartment at 3111 1st Ave SE in Cedar Rapids. The single mother worked as a secretary at the Cedar Rapids Urban Renewal Relocations Office.

Richard Maggert told police he’d spoken to his ex-wife by phone in recent weeks, but knew nothing about her death. The day following Maggert’s funeral in Elkader, Iowa, Richard Maggert flew to Cedar Rapids to meet with police and voluntarily submit to a lie detector test; he passed, and has never been considered a suspect in Maggert’s murder.

Last Day Seen Alive

On Friday, March 22, Maggert’s parents, Roslyn and Lester Lempke arrived early in the morning to take their granddaughter for a visit at their Elkader farm. Once they’d gone, Maggert called in sick and said she wouldn’t be coming in that day.

Just before 12 p.m., Maggert was seen leaving her apartment and carrying a suitcase. She then went to her local bank, where she withdrew funds.

Geraldine Maggert (Courtesy The Gazette)

Geraldine Maggert (Courtesy The Gazette)

Maggert didn’t report to work the following week, and concerned co-workers first checked Maggert’s apartment before telephoning the Lempkes. The couple stated they’d not known Geraldine had plans to go anywhere, but felt perhaps she may have flown to New York to see her ex-husband.

The co-workers drove to the Cedar Rapids airport, where they found Geraldine’s car, and so assumed she had in fact gone to New York to see Richard.

Mrs. Lempke, however, still felt ill at ease; she felt certain her daughter — the Lempke’s only child — would have informed her of any plans to leave the state or go on a trip.

Mrs. Lempke made the two-hour trip to Cedar Rapids and went to local police to notify them of her concerns. Officers accompanied Mrs. Lempke to Maggert’s apartment, where police climbed a ladder in order to gain entrance to the apartment. Once inside, they found neither Maggert nor any signs of a struggle, but noted the young woman’s suitcase was missing.

“Occasional Leads”

Nearly three months after Maggert’s body was found near the Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County Attorney Robert Jansen told the Cedar Rapids Gazette local officers and state agents were still investigating “occasional leads” but were not yet “close to an arrest.”

In the June 27, 1968 article, Jansen said agents originally thought Maggert’s murder might somehow be connected to that of Sheila Jean Collins — a 19-year-old Iowa State University freshman whose partially clad body was found January 28 near Colo, Iowa — but told the Gazette, “Now we feel there is a 99 percent chance of no connection.”

KWWL reporter Kristin Rogers spoke with Geraldine’s daughter, Richine Sartain, in March 2017 about the 49th anniversary of her mother’s unsolved murder. Sartain said she hadn’t heard anything from investigators for several years.

“They kind of just said at the time you know it wasn’t looking good; they just didn’t have anything to go on,” Sartain said KWWL’s March 22 story. “Some of the depositions were gone, missing, and so I haven’t really heard anything since then.”

The Johnson County’s Sheriff’s Office told KWWL they’d looked at Geraldine’s case for a while but that it was not being looked at right now.  

About Geraldine Maggert

Geraldine Maggert was born March 13, 1943 in Elkader, Iowa to Lester Philip and Roslyn L. (Ihde) Lempke.

She married Richard Maggert but the couple later divorced. They had one child, a 4-year-old daughter, Richine, who lived with Geraldine in Cedar Rapids.

Geraldine worked as a secretary at the Cedar Rapids Urban Renewal Relocations Office. She was last seen alive March 22, 1968, according to the Social Security Death Index.

Private memorial services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 1968, at the Peace United Church of Christ in Elkader. Geraldine is buried at the Elkader Cemetery in Clayton County.

Her murder remains unsolved.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Geraldine Maggert’s unsolved murder, please contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 319-356-6020. 

Sources and References:
  • Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Murder unsolved, Cedar Rapids woman last seen alive 49 years ago today,” by Kristin Rogers, KWWL.com, March 22, 2017
  • Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, December 13, 2012
  • Personal correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases (source on file), October-November 2012
  • United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 March 2015), Geraldine Maggert, Apr 1968; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • “Closing the book on cold cases,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, August 19, 2011
  • “Brutal Murders of 3 Iowans Still Unsolved,” Muscatine Journal, June 28, 1968
  • 3 Major Unsolved Crimes,” The Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 27, 1968
  • 3 Murder Cases Remain Unsolved Mysteries, Iowa,” by Sue Anderson, Associated Press Writer, The Oelwein Daily Register, June 27, 1968
  • Three Iowa Slayings This Year Remain Unsolved,” by Sue Anderson, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Thursday, June 27, 1968
  • “Still Seeking Clues in Geraldine Maggert Death,” Cedar Rapids Gazette May 17, 1968
  • “Mrs. Maggert Did Not Take $1,000 from Bank,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 23, 1968
  • “$1,000 is Hunted,” The Muscatine Journal, April 20, 1968
  • “$1,000 Missing in Murder Case,” The Oelwein Daily Register, April 20, 1968
  • “Slaying Victim Withdrew $1,000 from Her Bank,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 20, 1968
  • “Tracing activities of woman before her death,” Ames Daily Tribune, April 20, 1968
  • “New Details Add Mystery to Slaying,” The Iowa City Press-Citizen, April 19, 1968
  • “C.R. Leads in Woman’s Death Being Checked,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 11, 1968
  • “Talk with Husband of Slain Girl,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 10, 1968
  • “Woman Dead; No Suspects,” William Simbro, Des Moines Register, April 9, 1968
  • “Slain Girl Worked in C.R.,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 8, 1968
  • “Identify Slain Iowa Woman,” The Waterloo Daily Courier, April 8, 1968
  • “Woman Identified as C.R. Divorcee,” Oelwein Daily Register, April 4, 1968

 

Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

19 Responses to Geraldine Maggert

  1. sad says:

    was any dna saved from this case?Was Richard the only male in this womens life? She was With child. Had she seen R.M. within the last 3 months? This was someone she knew.!

  2. d says:

    anything new here?

  3. Raven says:

    I recently read about this tragedy in a book my grandaunt wrote about her life. She was apparently friends or neighbors with Geraldine’s parents. She helped the family move out Geraldine’s things after her funeral. My grandaunt wrote that they found no scraps of paper with a phone number or anything in the home, but they found it odd that there were several bags of candy in the kitchen.

    • Raven says:

      Unfortunately no. It just seemed odd to me that she’d mention bags of candy in a book about her life.
      I didn’t know her very well and she died a few years ago. I’m the family genealogist so I was lucky enough to have the book passed on to me.

  4. Theresa says:

    I agree it was someone she knew. She may have planned to get an abortion elsewhere i.e., New York) hoping to recuperate at her ex’s place without telling him she had been pregnant. Unmarried women were not normally allowed a prescription for the pill back then, and abortions were generally not performed except in large cities except for back alley abortions which had horrific approaches. She may have asked the father for some money for the procedure and/or met him to tell him her plans. Aside from the previous information, the fact that her car was found at the airport and none of her belongings had been found made me believe that it was a paid hit.

  5. answer to sad news says:

    I heard Richard had a false alibi. The police need to go back and talk to him. He has been arrested over the years for domestic abuse.

    Latest one is at

    http://mugshots.com/US-Counties/Florida/Lake-County-FL/Richard-Hugh-Maggert.7514953.html

  6. Don says:

    The Police seemed to rely heavily on the polygraph results in those days. I don’t think polygraphs are that reliable.

  7. answer to sad news says:

    His wife (wife #2) was pregnant for only a month or two when Geraldine went missing. He was supposedly having an affair with the landlady of where they were living at the time.

    I agree about how reliable the polygraphs were.

  8. Reva Svoboda says:

    It has been brought up from about 1974 several times. An FBI agent actually said for our own safety just leave it alone. . . She worked for Cedar Rapids Urban Renewal as a secretary. For either Raymond H Krug or Floyd ( I don’t remember his name but would if I heard it ) Raymond SHOULD be revisited ! ! I remember so-so-so many things that leads me to believe for SURE he was involved. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found her on the new sight that I was exploring.I had thought that maybe it all was a memory that had been solved and that my memories were just not accurate. I feel deeply about this situation !

  9. Jodi Frye says:

    Was the DNA of the baby collected? Bet their is a lead there.

    • Chances are, it wasn’t, because nobody would have anticipated the technology we have now. However, if the person/people who did this are ever caught, they will also face the charge of nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy.

  10. The late 60s and 70s seemed to have a few murders in or close to that area that are still unsolved. I believe at least one other was pregnant. Another, rumored to be.

  11. V.A. Mills says:

    Such a horrible tragedy for this Mother and child, and also the Boy Scouts who witnessed the ungodly scene. It most likely was “burned” into their memories all their lives. Very, very sad indeed. She was a very pretty woman….with so much life taken from her. God rest their souls.

  12. I would have checked out the guy who got her pregnant.

  13. Tina Carroll says:

    did they have suspects

  14. Herb Hunter says:

    This is the only victim I am unsure about. It could’ve been someone else in my opinon. But for sure if it is one of the Quarter Moon Reaper’s victims, this was hired done. She worked on Mays Island and probably went to the same diner Maureen Farley worked at. If my theory is right the suspect is a grad student by now, majoring in Astrophysics at Coe and perhaps is working at this diner as well.

    But the pattern is the same. Dumped from a car into a ravine. He probably went further because it was a job he made money for, so he did a more professional job of not calling attention to the crime.

    The started to tie this one to the one in Ames, but then backed off. Probably because detective work back then was as forensic driven. But the fibers are still there if they still have the evidence in storage. You’ll find the same fibers on Streed, Oberbroecking, and Farley. The same fibers may not be there in Waverly because he is from there and perhaps used his parents’ car. But if he did, the Waverly fibers will also be the same.

    Yet the Waverly victims all seem to be pleasure for him, while the Cedar Rapids victims seem to be business. This parallel could lend itself to the fact he feel more at home in Waverly than he does in Cedar Rapids.

  15. Twicka mcnamer says:

    She was pregnant heading to California for abortion. If they had done DNA of fetus you would have the killer.

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