Jackie Douthart (Courtesy Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Jackie Douthart (Courtesy Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Jackie Leigh Douthart


Jackie Leigh Douthart
24 YOA
Old Highway 34
Mount Pleasant, IA
Henry County
Went Missing: May 22, 2011
Body Found: March 17, 2012


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Jackie Leigh Douthart, the mother of a small child, was reported missing to the Mount Pleasant Police Department on May 22, 2011, when she didn’t return home after a night out with friends.

Henry County in Iowa
Henry County in Iowa
Mount Pleasant in Henry CountyMount Pleasant in Henry County

When last seen, Jackie was wearing a zebra-striped shirt, a black vest, blue jeans and flip flops.

Douthart’s disappearance, along with that of Elizabeth Syperda — a 22-year-old Mount Pleasant woman who went missing July 17, 2000 — frustrated both investigators and residents of Mount Pleasant, a city of about 8,700 people in southeastern Iowa.

The last person to see Douthart alive was 24-year-old Mount Pleasant resident Benjamin J. “Ben” Biggs, who told authorities he dropped her off near North Cherry Street early on May 22.

Biggs had a record for drugs and assaulting a police officer, and was considered a “person of interest” in Douthart’s disappearance.

Biggs shot himself in the head June 29, 2011, after a high speed chase and standoff with law enforcement in Quincy, Illinois.

In an August 2011 interview with KCRG TV-9, Douthart’s mother, Tammy Haynes, told reporter Erica Pennington that all she could do was cry after hearing the news of Biggs’ death.

Benjamin Biggs mugshotCourtesy photo connecttristates
Benjamin Miggs mug shots, 2007

“He was the most interested party and he’s not here anymore to keep questioning,” Haynes said. “I just figured that since he was gone, somebody might step forward, but nobody has.”

That same month, the family announced a $2,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Douthart.

Remains Found

On March 17, 2012, two children riding their bikes from Lockridge to Rome along Old Highway 34 — about 10 miles west of Mount Pleasant — discovered a human skull in a ditch.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), along with investigators from Henry County and the Mount Pleasant Police Department, searched the surrounding area and discovered a human body’s skeletal remains.

Jackie Douthart

Jackie Douthart’s initial missing person poster

On May 23, 2012, DCI agent Jeff Uhlmeyer said the remains were those of Jackie Douthart.

“Nuclear DNA profiling failed to develop a profile for the remains,” Uhlmeyer said. Uhlmeyer said investigators found possessions belonging to Douthart along with the remains, which led to their conclusion the bones were those of Douthart.

Although investigators did not have a cause of death, Uhlmeyer said they believed foul play was involved. They also believed the main suspect was the now deceased Benjamin Biggs.

Justice for Elizabeth’s family

Jackie Douthart’s family didn’t have the opportunity to see her suspected killer face a criminal trial, but the wheels of justice did begin to turn in Elizabeth “Liz” Syperda’s mysterious disappearance.

Liz’s family remained convinced she was murdered by her estranged husband, Michael Syperda, whom they described as dangerous and violent. Michael Syperda was arrested and charged with domestic abuse not long after his wife disappeared; the arrest was in connection to a violent confrontation he’d had with his wife and her roommate one month before Liz vanished.

On Nov. 30, 2017 — more than 17 years after Liz went missing and with the whereabouts of her remains still unknown — Michael Syperda was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in her death. Michael chose a bench trial, whereas a judge, rather than a jury, would determine his innocence or guilt. The trial began May 1, 2018, and on June 25, 2018, Henry County District Court Judge Mark Kruse announced his ruling: Guilty of first-degree murder.

The judge scheduled Michael’s sentencing date for Aug. 23, 2018, though under Section 707.2(1) of the Iowa Code, the crime of Murder in the First Degree mandates a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.

About Jackie Douthart

Jackie Leigh Douthart was born August 19, 1986 in Keosauqua, Iowa, the daughter of Joseph Douthart and Tammy Marie Walker.

She grew up in the Bonaparte area and attended Harmony High School. She worked at Hardee’s, enjoyed the outdoors, rock hunting, camping, all types of music and time with her daughter and family.

She was reported missing May 22, 2011, and her remains were discovered March 17, 2012.

Survivors included one daughter, Zoey Douthart of Bonaparte; her mother, Tammy Haynes of New London; her father of Bonaparte; her fiancé, Brent Bradley of Mount Pleasant; two sisters, Jennifer Sanchez of Leroy, Minn., and Josie Douthart of Bonaparte; her grandmothers, Vivian Douthart of Farmington and Tennie Frazer of Belle, Mo.; nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her grandfathers.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Douthart’s disappearance and death is asked to contact the Mount Pleasant Police Department at 319-385-1450 or Burlington Crime Stoppers at 319-753-6835.

Henry County remains identified as Douthart — KTVOtv Channel 3. Airdate May 23, 2012

KCRG TV-9 Cedar Rapids reported on the human remains found west of Mount Pleasant, Iowa in March 2012.
Airdate March 19, 2012



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28 Responses to Jackie Douthart

  1. Amy Aguilera (Smith) says:

    This is like a sister to me. I grew up with this family and i am soo hurt that someone could do this.

  2. Janie says:

    Is the drawing that the psychic did pretty accurate? I’m not sure where it is now, I’ve looked for it. I think it was on the Justice for Jackie fb page but I can’t find it now.

    • Cindy Lyons says:

      Yes the drawing is eerily very accurate. I still have it somewhere in a tote and i believe I have it on a flash drive if you want a copy let me know.

  3. U are missed so much cuz we all love u

  4. Miss u tons, hope you are resting peaceful

  5. Yes it is, very heart breaking.

  6. Zoey douthart says:

    Hello, I am doing research on my mother Jackie Douthart. Because I would like to know more. Now that I am older I am realizing that I cannot bring my mom back. I mean realized it before but I was never really old enough to realize I will not be seeing her again for awhile. I miss my mom of course. I used to have this theory she would still be alive and we just got everything wrong which I know that is impossible. But yet I still have hope for something I know wont happen. I have been a different person since I have known I wasn’t going to be able to see my mom anymore I know this wont matter to half of you but thanks for reading. Thanks to all that prayed. <3

    • Nat Murphy says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your future Zoey.

    • Charlie Studebaker says:

      I’m sorry for your loss little one. And also for the lack of answers available to you. You are in my prayers.

    • Hailey says:

      It matters to me, Zoey.
      I am heartbroken and very sorry you don’t get to see your mother daily.
      But never forget, she’ll be watching over you til the day the Lord calls you home.
      My condolences to all your family.

    • Margaret Wolgast says:

      Of course it matters. I hope you find the answers you need and obviously deserve. I think things happen for a reason and maybe this very tragic event will guide you down a path in which you can help people in similar situations. And although there is no love like a mom’s, remember, I’m sure there are many people who treasure and love you. Good luck Zoey.

  7. So sad for the family, but at least maybe they’ll have some closure now.

  8. How sad. Thanks for the info. Condolences to the family.

  9. Ana Farrier says:

    to bad Ben Biggs took the easy way out

  10. At least now her loved ones know where she is. That would be the worst. Not knowing.

  11. Rip Jackie and my condolences go to her family!

  12. Megan Comer says:

    I’m SO happy this is being shared. I’ve been following this since it’s happened. I pray we bring justice soon!!!

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