Benton County in Iowa

Benton County in Iowa

James Charles Huff, Jr.


James Charles Huff, Jr.
26 YOA
3319 56th Street Trail
Center Point, IA
Two miles SE of Urbana, IA
Between Linn and Benton counties
DCI Case # 77-00102
Crime Date: January 1, 1977
Date of Death: January 5, 1977


Location of Huelsenbeck farm (Courtesy Google)

Location of Huelsenbeck farm (Courtesy Google)

James Charles Huff, Jr., a farm hand who worked at the Lindsey Edgar “Ed” and Jean Huelsenbeck farm about two miles southeast of Urbana, was taken to St. Lukes Hospital in Cedar Rapids on January 1, 1977 for severe injuries he’d sustained to the head.

He was later transported to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, Iowa, where he died a few days later on January 5.

The Palo Ambulance Service responded to the call, and upon arrival found Huff unconscious and bleeding from a severe head wound. The 26-year-old’s body also had sustained several bruises all throughout his body.

Courtesy photo Dean Close, Vinton Today
The Huelsenbeck farm, located at 3319 56th Street Trail, where 26-year-old James Huff, Jr., was found unconscious with severe head injuries.

Huff, who’d begun working at the Huelsenbeck farm on his 26th birthday, had worked for the couple for just over one month. An Ohio native, Huff had moved to Iowa to be closer to his father.

The Huelsenbeck’s farm, located at 3319 56th Street Trail in Center Point, Iowa, lay in a hilly area between Benton and Linn counties.

In a Waterloo Courier article published January 6, 1977, Benton County Sheriff Kenneth Popenhagen stated that the Huelsenbeck’s son, Michael Huelsenbeck, 17, said he found Huff unconscious in the barn.

According to the Courier’s story:

Popenhagen said it appeared Huff’s injuries had been inflicted over the course of several days.

Popenhagen also stated that an autopsy was never able to confirm the actual cause of death.

Though Huff’s multiple “inflicted” injuries may have prevented pinpointing his actual cause of death, the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation — in its early stages of transitioning to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) — had reason to believe foul play factored into Huff’s manner of death and assigned it case file number 77-00102.

When the Iowa DCI established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, James Huff’s homicide 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 forensic 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 James Huff

James Charles Huff, Jr. was born in Canton, Ohio on November 24, 1950, to Edna and James Charles Huff, Sr.

He died at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 5, 1977, in University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, where he had been hospitalized.

Huff, who resided at 2220 Mt. Vernon Road SE in Cedar Rapids, had been a Cedar Rapids resident for five years.

Memorial services were held at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 9, at the Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories with the Rev. Ramon Booth, of the Central Assembly of God officiating. Burial followed in the Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Friends were allowed to call at the home after noon on Friday, January 8. 

Survivors included his mother, Mrs. Edna Hazel, Canton; his father and stepmother, Mr. and Mrs. James Huff Sr., Cedar Rapids; a sister, Mrs. Janet Confalone, Canton; two stepsisters, Elizabeth Lahmon, Cedar Rapids, and Linda Huff, Cedar Rapids; four stepbrothers, David, Marion, Larry, Mt. Vernon, and Terry and Dale, both at home; his grandfather, Joseph Oliver, Jackson, Ohio; and grandmother, Mrs. Hilda Linhart, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Information Needed

If you have any information about James Huff’s unsolved homicide, please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email, or contact the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 472-2337.

Sources and References:


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3 Responses to James Huff Jr.

  1. Fred Reinfeld says:

    The Huelsenbecks said he had fallen and received bruises several times in the days leading up to his death.

  2. LakeLife says:

    So someone kept him in that barn & hurt him over the course of two days.
    Very sick!
    Praying for justice!!

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