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


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21 Responses to Jeffrey Deaver

  1. Angie says:

    I’m Jeff’s Youngest sister I think they need to do a DNA test on the towel or washcloth. I was just told two names that are involved in his death.

    • Jennifer says:

      Have you contacted a detective with the DMPD? I would start raising hell. They should have the evidence right there.

  2. 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?

      • Rob says:

        This was under Polk County comments section:

        “Regarding the death of Jeff Deaver, I last saw him at the Jefferson Apartments in the apartment of Judy Davis. Judy was my co-worker. My boyfriend (now ex-husband) at the time used to purchase illegal drugs from Judy. One day Judy told me that Jeff screwed her and/or some delivery and her boyfriend was very angry and Jeff better stay our of sight. The next day I heard that Jeff was murdered. I went to school with Jeff starting in Jr. High School. I was surprised he was hanging out with someone like Judy Davis..”

        Judy Davis class of ’72 Roosevelt, lives in Henderson, NV

        • Angela Marie Deaver-Tolkan says:

          So, our you the one that stopped at my house? If you know this, why didn’t you tell the police at that time? I do have Judy’s boyfriends name at the time this happened.

    • Christie Khounchanh/ Christie Deaver says:

      Judy Davis lived at Jefferson apartments! The lady that saw Jeff at Judy Davis’s apartment also lived at Jefferson apartments and worked with Judy Davis. The only person who lived at Seneca apartments was Jeffery Deaver. Jefferey Deaver was seen at Judy Davis’s apartment by a high school classmate of Jeff’s two days before his death! So who was Judy Davis’s boyfriend and what drugs and or what drug deal went wrong? I feel that if they know who Judy Davis’s boyfriend at that time was and go and question him and Judy Davis then you have your killer which is probably Judy Davis’s boyfriend at that time. That’s to say if they are even alive today. Also Judy Davis probably has a different last name by now! Judy Davis told Jefferey Deaver to stay out of sight from her boyfriend because of the drug deal that Jefferey Deaver messed up so that sounds like this boyfriend of Judy Davis sounds dangerous! Your killer is the boyfriend of Judy Davis!

      • Patrick Kerrigan says:

        Christie, it appears from Jeff’s classmate, that he was hanging out with her co-worker Judy Davis. It makes me wonder, what was their relationship.

        Also, if he screwed up a drug deal, that her boyfriend set up, why would she even allow him into her apartment. Also, where her apartment in relation to his apartment building.

        Also, does anyone know besides the classmate know where Judy worked, and if she moved, married her boyfriend.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Connie Barr Dilliner says:

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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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