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On February 18, 1975, Iowa State Trooper Charles Black discovered a 1966 green Ford van on Interstate 80 at the eastbound “on” ramp at Altoona. The van bore a 1973 Washington license plate number L84590 and, apparently abandoned, was impounded.
On April 7, 1975, the father of 23-year-old Gregory Dickey contacted authorities and stated the van belonged to his son. The younger Dickey had left Davenport, Iowa, on February 11 — just one week before Black found the vehicle.
When officials broke into the van in search of clues as to where Gregory Dickey may have been headed, they discovered his body in the van’s back seat under a blanket, a cord wrapped around the young man’s neck.
A coroner ruled Dickey’s death as “murder by strangulation.”
When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Gregory Dickey’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.
Gregory Neal Dickey was born May 15, 1951.
He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Enid, Oklahoma, in Garfield County.