Jamedia Hines (Courtesy Rashawnda Hines)

Jamedia Hines (Courtesy Rashawnda Hines)

Jamedia Hines


Jamedia Hines
22 YOA
1700 Oakland Ave.
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1987-37149
September 5, 1987
Case Summary by Jody Ewing

On Saturday, September 5, 1987, a 7-year-old boy playing hide-and-seek found a body lying in weeds behind an apartment building located at 1700 Oakland Avenue on Des Moines’ north side.

The victim was identified as Jamedia Hines, a 22-year-old mother of three small children, including a 33-day-old infant.

1700-oakland-ave-dsm-jamedia-hinesCourtesy photo Google
Jamedia Hines was found dead behind this Des Moines apartment house located at 1700 Oakland Ave. in Des Moines.

An autopsy conducted on Sunday, Sept. 6, revealed Hines had died a violent death.

It was “clearly a homicide,” said Polk County Medical Examiner R.C. Wooters in a Cedar Rapids Gazette article published Sept. 7, 1987.

Wooters said the autopsy was performed by Dr. Thomas Bennett, the state medical examiner. Wooters also said detectives investigating the death had requested that the exact cause of death not be made public.

Thirty-four years after her death, Des Moines police made a plea to the public for help in solving Hines’ murder. 

In a KCCI.com story that aired Sept. 17, 2021, police revealed that Hines had been strangled and beaten to death. Investigators said there was no evidence of sexual assault, no fingerprints, and DNA use wasn’t yet a common practice.

Ironically, the same year Hines was killed, 1987, marked the first time a US criminal — serial rapist Tommie Lee Andrews — was convicted through the use of DNA evidence, according to historical data on ancientfaces.com.

Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County
Hines’ death believed to be part of Des Moines drug wars that included “hits”

In an Associated Press story published October 7, 1987, Des Moines Det. Sgt. Larry Edwards said reports of fortified drug houses and death threats among drug dealers showed Des Moines’ drug traffic hadn’t subsided within the past year.

“In 80 to 85 percent of the homicides I’ve investigated this year the perpetrator or the victim have drug abuse backgrounds,” Edwards said. “Some have been committed directly because of drugs, either in arguments over money owed or rip-offs. Others have occurred because the perpetrator needed money for drugs or was high on drugs.”

In fact, most of the unsolved killings in Des Moines that occurred within the past two to three years were drug-related, Edwards said, who also noted:

“There is a fairly well-defined drug culture. Volunteering information is not part of that culture.” Det. Sgt. Larry Edwards in an Oct. 7, 1987 AP interview

Of three deaths in the previous five weeks, police pointed to a pair of shootings and a beating death they said may have been related to drugs. Police believed Hines “owed people money for drugs.”

Courtesy AP/Cedar Rapids Gazette

Courtesy AP/Cedar Rapids Gazette, Oct. 7, 1987

Seven days after Hines’ slaying, Daniel Zenor, 26, was shot to death after answering a knock on his door. Two men were charged in the drug-related case.

In late August 1987, police said a shootout on a residential street left one man shot in the face and another run over by a van.

Des Moines police said they’d received reports of dealers arranging “hits” on each other, and the AP reported that in one case, a dealer allegedly warned that two police officers would be killed if anything happened to a dealer awaiting sentencing.

About Jamedia Hines

Jamedia Hines was born May 27, 1965, and previously lived in Oklahoma. She died Sept. 5, 1987 in Des Moines, Iowa.

She was survived by three children; daughter Rashawnda Hines, 5; son Shawndre, 2, and infant son Martwea, 33 days old.

Information Needed

Anyone with information concerning Jamedia Hines’ unsolved homicide is asked to contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at 515-283-4864.



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8 Responses to Jamedia Hines

  1. Devin says:

    Maybe the serial killer Samuel Little? I know he was a serial killer during this time frame who murdered tons of African American women. Not sure if he was ever in Iowa but he apparently killed 90+ people.

  2. Hines says:

    Please follow my Mothers fb page. (Who Killed Jamedia Hines)
    My family and I are seeking answers. Any questions, comments or concerns youmay have, please feel free to contact me personally. We just want justice! Thank you

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I have a problem, with the fact that the cause of death has not been released
    She was murdered over 30 years ago, what are they waiting for. Did they expect that someone was going to walk in and confess to a crime they did not committ.

    We have other cases involving homicides, where we know the cause of death. Many agencies do hold back some tidbit of information kn these Cases. But again after 20, 30 or 40 years, and the case is unsolved, what good has it done.

    Also, many departments are remiss in keeping in contact with victims families. They have no clue, that this causes the victim’s families. So, it appears to the family that the death of their loved one, is not big deal, and that the police don’t care.

    The one investigator mentions that most of their homicides were drug related. So, he is okay with that. So, it was the victim’s fault that she was murdered.

  4. Mike Byrne says:

    Sounds to me like the Des Moines police are afraid to do their job.Move out of the way and let some new blood take over the investigations of unsolved murders.

    • Hines says:

      My thoughts exactly..I am her daughter and it has been a complete nightmare dealing with Dmpd and getting justice for my mother. Keep us in your prayers!

  5. I wish I could be a part of helping solve these cases its so sad…

  6. Diana Wilson says:

    Terrible. I hate that there has to be cold cases but I sure love shows that tell about these. I am so interested in hearing how their case is solved!

  7. Lori says:

    Me too Jasmine.

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