Hulda FischerCourtesy photo Jackson Sentinel
Hulda Emma Fischer

Hulda Emma Fischer


Hulda Emma Fischer
84 YOA
DCI Case # 75-00175
418 North Fifth St.
Maquoketa, IA
Jackson County
February 25, 1975


Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing

On February 25, 1975, Hulda Fischer, 84, was stabbed repeatedly with a butcher knife and strangled in her Maquoketa, Iowa, home located at 418 North Fifth Street. Neighbors discovered her body when they went to check on her.

Jackson County in Iowa
Jackson County in Iowa
Maquoketa in Jackson CountyMaquoketa in Jackson County

Ronald Keller, who owned an upholstery and antiques store in Maquoketa, and his business partner lived across the back yard from Fischer’s home, and when no one saw Fischer for a day, Keller — who had keys to her house — went with his aunt and neighbor, Hattie Petersen, to Fischer’s home.

They found her lying face down in her basement, and at first assumed she had fallen. They called Thomas Goodwin, a business partner, and when Goodwin turned the body over, a butcher knife was found sticking in Fischer’s chest.

Nothing was missing from the elderly woman’s home and officials said theft wasn’t a motive.

According to the police department, there was a least one suspect but not enough evidence for a conviction.

In a story published Feb. 28, 2015, retired Maquoketa Police Chief Bob Andersen told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald he doesn’t think the case will ever be solved. Andersen, the lead investigating officer in the killing, said no new information has emerged in Fisher’s death since the case went cold decades ago.

“It was one of those cases that you had a lot of information that didn’t go anywhere and very little information that did,” Andersen told the Telegraph Herald.

hulda-fischer-home-600pxCourtesy Jackson Sentinel
This is the arrangement of homes at the corner of North Fifth St. and Grove St. The home at the left is that of the victim, Mrs. Hulda Fischer. Her neighbor Mrs. Hattie Petersen lives in the home in the center and the Antique Room, from which Tom Goodwin and Ron Keller came to assist when Mrs. Petersen became suspicious. A trail of footprints in the snow between the Petersen and Fischer homes has gained some attention for law enforcement personnel, as there is but a single set from the back door of the Fischer home to the sidewalk leading from the Petersen home.

The neighbors who found Fischer’s body and a one-time suspect in the death have all since died, Andersen said.

“It would have been nice to solve it and find out what the cause was,” he said. “Maybe with TV doing cold cases now, something will come up.”

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

About Hulda Fischer

Hulda Emma Fischer was born April 3, 1890, in Chicago to Theodore and Hulda Yeskie Skibbe. On Feb. 25, 1914 she married John L. Fischer in Chicago. He died March 6, 1965.

Services were conducted at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, 1975, at the Haylock-O’Hara Funeral Home in Maquoketa with Dr. John Koning, Davenport, officiating. Burial was in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Hulda was a 50-year member of the Maple Leaf Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and belonged to the Rebekkahs.

She was survived by two sons, LeRoy of Oildale, California and Arthur of Vista, California; one sister, Mrs. Carrie Wolters, Chicago, and four grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, two brothers and a sister.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Hulda Fischer’s unsolved murder, please contact the Maquoketa Police Department at (563) 652-2468 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email


7 Responses to Hulda Fischer

  1. doofy says:

    my thought is that if the officer thinks it will never be solved then give us a name and some more details of the crime if there is any.

  2. Susan Brown says:

    The only person with keys took witnesses with him to find the body?? Interesting

  3. Melanie Wood says:

    I really don’t understand how or why anyone would want to hurt an elderly woman. But the criminal minder, They don’t have a conscious. They feel no empathy. No remorse. That’s how they can sleep at night.

  4. horrible thing to do, and this was not an elderly woman, she still had a lot of life to live

  5. I so agree with you Diana Wilson. I wonder how they sleep at nights.

  6. What a horrific crime.

  7. Diana Wilson says:

    I wonder if the people that kill can really live with themselves.

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