Jeffrey Deaver

Jeffrey Deaver (Courtesy Des Moines Register)

Jeffrey Thomas Deaver


Jeffrey Thomas Deaver
25 YOA
1132 5th
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1983-37472
October 15, 1983


Case information compiled by Jody Ewing
Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

Jeffrey Thomas Deaver — a 25-year-old orthopedic technician employed by Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa — was found stabbed to death in his Des Moines apartment on Monday, October 17, 1983.

Polk County Medical Examiner Dr. R.C. Wooters ruled cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the chest, including one directly to the heart, from a large, sharp instrument. A defensive wound on Deaver’s left arm indicated he’d made an attempt to defend himself.

Wooters ruled date of death as Saturday, Oct. 15, 1983.

In a Des Moines Register article dated Oct. 18, 1983, Deaver’s co-workers said they contacted Seneca Apartments manager Carolyn Patrick after Deaver failed to report for work Monday morning. Patrick and Russ Perkins — a man remodeling part of the apartment complex — went together to Deaver’s unit.

A Des Moines police spokesman said there were signs of violence in the apartment.

Deaver’s body — his shirt blood-soaked — lay slumped in his recliner against the apartment’s north wall.

Officials discovered blood stains on the bathroom floor as well as a bloody washcloth in Deaver’s bedroom, which they believe Deaver’s killer used in attempts to clean up before leaving the apartment. The weapon used to kill Deaver was not located at the crime scene.

Des Moines Police Det. Lt. Ed Harlan told the Register that everyone they’d spoken to indicated Deaver was a “real nice guy” and had no enemies of which they were aware.

Signs of Trouble

In July 2012, one of Deaver’s former classmates (name on file) contacted Iowa Cold Cases and stated she’d last seen Deaver alive at the Jefferson Apartments in an apartment belonging to her co-worker, Judy Davis. The witness said she was surprised Deaver would hang out with someone like Davis, because Davis and her boyfriend sold illegal drugs.

According to the witness, Judy Davis conveyed to Deaver that [Davis’s] boyfriend was “very angry” because Deaver had “screwed her and/or some delivery,” and Davis cautioned Deaver to “stay out of sight.”

Jeff Deaver was found dead two days later.

About Jeffrey Deaver
jeffrey-deaver-gravestoneCourtesy photo Carl Nollen,
Jeff Deaver is buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Des Moines.

Jeffrey Thomas Deaver was born September 10, 1958 in Marshalltown, Iowa, to Harry Thomas and Bernita Jody (Purvis) Deaver. He graduated from Des Moines Technical High School in 1978.

He married but was later divorced.

His father served as Chief of Police in Mitchellville, where Jeffrey had resided up until six months prior to his murder.

In addition to his parents, Jeffrey Deaver was survived by three sisters: Cindy Deaver Huseby, Debbie Deaver Stephenson, and Angie Deaver; and two brothers, John Deaver and Bob Deaver.

Jeffrey was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Des Moines.

His mother passed away in 2000 and his father in 2013 without ever learning the truth about what happened to their son.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Jeffrey Deaver’s unsolved murder please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864.

  • Micheal Huseby (nephew of victim), correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, March 26, 2012
  • Des Moines Police Department correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases on July 10, 2009
  • Correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases from Jeff Deaver’s classmate (name on file), July 29, 2012
  • “Mitchellville police chief’s son is slain,” The Des Moines Register, October 18, 1983
  • “Des Moines man killed,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Tuesday, October 18, 1983
  • Jeffrey Thomas Deaver (1958 – 1983) — Find a Grave Memorial


Copyright © 2020 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

15 Responses to Jeffrey Deaver

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    So a classmate of Jeffrey supposefly saw him alive at the apartment of Judy Davis. She lived at the Seneca Apartments. So, the question is, did he have a relationship with her or just hanging out with a co- worker.

    Also, where was the Seneca Apartments in relation to the Jefferson Apartments. Also, what did she do at the hospital.

    • Cindy Huseby says:

      Hi Patrick, who was the classmate? Also do you know the who this Judy Davis is? I have tried to search for her without any luck. This was a horrible tragedy, the unsolved murder is always in the back of your mind wondering who and why?

  2. Angela Deaver says:

    Yes It would be nice to know who did this to my brother!!! We all miss him very much and think about him all the time.

    • l says:

      Have they ever tested evidence for DNA?Testing is a lot more accurate today and if the haven’t that’s something the family needs to push for.We miss him so much and would be great if we see a break in the case while we are still living.

    • Terry Goo says:

      Yes it would be nice Angie.Would like to see an arrest made in our lifetime. We miss him and justice needs to be served.

  3. Laurie Fontana says:

    Jeff’s graduation date is incorrect; it should be 1978.

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Laurie, thanks so much for providing the correct graduation date. If you can provide me with the name of the third sister and the brothers, I’ll get them added to his page right away. I did not have that additional information. All best, and thank you in advance.

  4. Connie Barr Dilliner says:

    Why isn’t Jeff’s two brother’s not listed?

  5. Lori says:

    Stabbing someone is as up close as it gets. The person that kills with a knife many times cuts themselves, (OJ, Jodi Arias) and in 1983 there was no DNA. I hope the police have tested the bloody washcloth…it may contain 2 sets of DNA. Justice is close.

  6. Jackie D says:

    My impression is that he knew the person. This person that stabbed him knew him well. Either loved him very much or hated him that much to kill.
    He may not even have known this person’s true feelings of him.
    But I am sure the police must of checked all that out closely.

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