Jones County in Iowa
Jones County in Iowa
Oxford Junction in Jones CountyOxford Junction in Jones County

Henry J. Hults


Henry J. Hults
62 YOA
Rural Route
Oxford Junction, IA
Jones County
Case # 63-00430
March 22, 1963


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Henry J. Hults was found dead in the back yard of his Jones County, Iowa home about 6:30 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 1963. The 62-year-old Hults—who’d been divorced for less than a month—lived alone in rural Oxford Junction.

Officials found his badly burned body about 15 feet from his house, along with several burned patches in his yard where Hults had possibly dropped to the ground and tried to extinguish the flames.

Jones County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. C.R. Smith, Wyoming, reported that a pathologist’s report showed death was due to burning, the Anamosa Journal reported on Monday, March 25, 1963. Before issuing the report, authorities thought the death might have been caused by a heart attack.

Citing the pathology report, officials ruled the case a homicide.

Hults’ death was investigated by Jones County Sheriff Lewis Dreibelbis, deputy sheriff Ralph Albaugh, and Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Bob Gregson of Des Moines.

Hults and his wife, Mary, had come to Oxford Junction about four years earlier to operate a nursing home. They had divorced within the past month and Mrs. Hults continued to operate the nursing home.

The couple had been longtime residents of Anamosa before moving to Oxford Junction.

When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Hults’ 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 the resolution of 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.

Henry Hults’ case remains unsolved.

About Henry Hults (Courtesy The Monticello Express and The Anamosa Journal)

Henry J. Hults was born September 18, 1900, in Anamosa, the son of Fred and Taalkie (Dirks) Hults.

He farmed in the Anamosa area until moving to Oxford Junction four years prior to his death. He and his wife, Mary, operated a nursing home together but had divorced in February 1963. 

Henry Hults gravestoneCourtesy photo papajeff,
Henry Hults is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Anamosa, Jones County.

Survivors included a son, William of Anamosa; two daughters, Mrs. Robert (June) Peterson of Des Moines and Mrs. Robert (Betty) Hora of Anamosa; seven grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Tena Wroblewski and Miss Minnie Hults of Anamosa, and Mrs. Augusta Bieber, Wyoming.

Private funeral services were held Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at the Goettsch Funeral home in Anamosa with the Rev. LaVerne Beener officiating. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery in Anamosa.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about Henry Hults’ unsolved murder is asked to contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, email, or contact the Jones County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 462-4371.

  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, December 13, 2009
  • “Investigation of Death of Hults Still Underway,” The Monticello Express, March 28, 1963
  • “Henry Hults Dies of Burns Friday Morning in Oxford Jct. Mystery,” The Anamosa Journal, Monday, March 25, 1963, Pages 1 and 5
  • “Divorces, Suits Fill Dockets Of District’s Court,” The Anamosa Eureka, Thursday, February 28, 1963, Page One
  • “Divorce Sought,” The Anamosa Eureka, Thursday, December 13, 1962, Page One
  • Find a Grave Memorial


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7 Responses to Henry Hults

  1. Debbie Shaw says:

    someone out there knows.

  2. Mystery addict says:

    I thought the same when I read it…. probably had gas on his shirt or something like that and lit a spark…. could have been a stove back fire with flannel clothing? Need more justification for a homicide case….

  3. I had those same questions, Jack Toomey, but this must be one of those cases where they have additional info (that only the killer would know) so may not have released those details to the public. Jody at ICC

  4. Jack Toomey says:

    I wasn’t there but it’s puzzling to me how this case was classified as murder. This could have easily been a case where the victim accidentally set himself on fire with smoking materials. Odd that this was not classified as accidental.

    • Calvin Peterson says:

      More often than not, PD tends to apply the homicide label when they either know something or have a suspect in mind to keep the wheels moving on a hard to prove case. It’s more of a flag in NCIC for down the road investigation than a quick bust

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