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James Allan “Jim Bob” Booher, 51, of Marion, Iowa, was last seen Saturday morning, May 31, 2014, in the 5900 block of Fourth Street SW in Cedar Rapids. On June 3, 2014, his sister, Susie Reynolds, reported him missing to the Marion Police Department, who issued an Operation Quickfind.
On June 9, 2014, Booher’s truck — a tan 1996 Chevy extended cab with a topper and license plate number 447 ZIO — was found abandoned in Cedar Rapids.
Marion Police said early on in the investigation that Booher’s disappearance was considered involuntary and suspicious.
On Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, Marion Police Lt. Scott Elam said Booher’s disappearance is being treated as a homicide.
“We’re treating it as a homicide until we find his body,” Elam is quoted as saying in a Cedar Rapids Gazette article by Lee Hermiston dated Oct. 17, 2014. “The family believes that he’s deceased. We believe he’s no longer with us, either.”
Elam said Booher came from a large family and it was “very unusual” that Booher wouldn’t have made contact with any of them.
“The circumstances were unusual to begin with,” said Elam, who declined to elaborate further about the investigation.
Booher’s family decided to hold memorial services for him on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.
“I think we all need closure,” Reynolds told the Gazette. “I know that won’t be coming for a while. We won’t have any closure until we find his body.”
Family and friends gathered Friday night, Oct. 17, 2014, at Booher’s favorite bar, Just Jules, on Center Point Road NE to pin favorite family photos around the bar. The event also served as a fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses.
Reported Hermiston in the Oct. 17, 2014 article:
Reynolds said her brother had “the biggest smile ever” and loved his twin boys. She described him as “the best carpenter in town” and said he had a knack for finding discarded items, fixing them up and reselling them.
“He was just a fun-loving guy,” she said. “He’s going to be very missed.”
With hunting season underway, Reynolds said she asks that hunters be on the lookout for her brother’s body.
In an earlier Gazette article dated Tuesday, June 24, 2014, the search for Booher led police to a possible meth lab but not Booher.
The Gazette said that according to the Marion Police Department, investigators learned about a possible meth lab in Swisher while investigating Booher’s disappearance. Police obtained a search warrant for a residence at 1576 120th St. NW outside Swisher in rural Johnson County.
Marion police, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Johnson County Drug Task Force and Iowa State Patrol’s Tactical Team in executing the warrant Tuesday morning, June 24. Authorities didn’t reveal what they discovered at the residence but said charges were pending and would come from the drug task force’s investigation.
Hermiston reported in the story:
Marion police Lt. Scott Elam said information about the meth lab came up during their investigation into Booher’s appearance, though police didn’t necessarily believe he was at the residence.
“We didn’t have that specific of information,” Elam said. “It was something we looked into. We didn’t find anything related to that investigation there.”
Elam said sometimes when police are investigating one case, information about another possible crime comes up. This was one of those cases, he said.
“It was just kind of one of those things,” he said. “Sometimes during an investigation, you learn other stuff. It came to light as part of our investigation.
“I don’t know that anything was relevant” to the missing person investigation.
A forensics team that specializes in identifying human remains is helping search for evidence outside a rural Ely farmhouse once linked to a Marion man who went missing a year ago and is presumed the victim of a homicide, The Gazette reported on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
Police said the feds were conducting the Booher’s suspected drug-related homicide.
A University of Indianapolis spokesman said its archaeology and forensics team — made up of a professor and graduate students — was dispatched to the rural Ely site at the request of law enforcement.
“They are the go-to people whenever suspected human remains are discovered,” Scott Hall, media relations director for the university, said in the May 7 Gazette article. He declined to comment further.
Gazette reporters Lee Hermiston and Trish Mehaffey said the forensics search team and law enforcement authorities were at 397 Nederhiser Road, northeast of Ely and just south west of Palisades-Kepler State Park, and that according to federal documents, a man associated with Booher once lived at that address.
The Gazette also reported:
That man, 42-year-old Matthew B. Robbins, is currently in the custody of U.S. Marshals and awaiting a second trial on firearms charges.
According to an April 27 federal criminal complaint charging his former wife, 41-year-old Danielle Ayers, with perjury, Robbins lived at that address. While outlining charges against Ayers, the affidavit describes a text message exchange between Ayers and another person that concerns Booher.
The document states that Robbins and another man robbed Booher about June 1, 2014 — the day after police say he was last seen alive.
A second federal court document dated April 13, outlining a weapons case against Robbins, appears to make a further reference Booher.
The document states that about May 31, 2014, Robbins and a friend identified in documents as “D.B.” purchased meth from someone identified as “J.B.”
“They used the methamphetamine and later contacted J.B. to arrange for the purchase of a larger quantity of methamphetamine,” the document states.
Additionally, the trial document states that when J.B. went to Robbins’ home later that night, D.B. saw Robbins with a sawed-off shotgun.
A day or two afterward, another person — identified as J.G. — went to Robbins’ home looking for J.B. Robbins greeted J.G. at the door holding a .45 caliber handgun, the document shows.
~ Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 7, 2015
Authorities conducted an initial search of Robbins’ Nederhiser Road home in connection with Booher’s disappearance, but Robbins then moved from the home, but not before removing carpet, furnishing and fixtures and burning them behind the house. Read The Gazette’s full article.
Booher’s siblings told The Gazette they hadn’t spoken with Marion police about their brother’s case since February 2015.
James Allan “Jim Bob” Booher, disappeared under suspicious circumstances on May 31, 2014, and is considered by officials and family as deceased.
A memorial Mass was held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Third Avenue and 10th Street SE, Cedar Rapids.
Jim was born March 30, 1963, to Karen Booher McCormick (Gremm) and the late Roy Franklin Booher of Cedar Rapids.
Jim was a 1982 graduate from Kennedy High and Dennison Job Corps, where he received his carpenter apprenticeship. He traveled the southern part of the country building apartment complexes for five years and joined the 308 Carpenters Union in 1988. His specialty was drywall and framing. He took great pride in his work; his family said he considered no job too high or dangerous.
He married Kristina Rodgers on April 8, 1995, and became a devoted father to her twin boys, Billy and Brent, whom he’d helped raise since the boys were three months old. He loved the boys and would do anything for them if he could, Booher’s family said.
Jim loved the outdoors, camping, canoeing with his siblings, waterskiing, fishing, mushroom hunting, buying and selling, and motorcycling with his friends.
He is greatly missed by all his family — mom, stepdad Jim, brothers Tom, Dan, Rick and Rob, stepbrother Kevin, sisters Jane, Cindy, Susie, Julie, Penny and Laurie, stepsisters Carrie, Lora, Julie and Mary and spouses, and 45 nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations for burial expenses be sent to his mother, Karen McCormick, 1961 Sand Piper Rd., Waukon, IA 52172.
If you have any information about James Booher’s unsolved disappearance and/or death please call Lt. Scott Elam of the Marion Police Department‘s Investigations Division at (319) 200-7713.