Jeffery "Jo Jo" Zolliecoffer Courtesy photo Waterloo Police
Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer

Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer


Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer
23 YOA
Cedar River
Waterloo, IA
Black Hawk County
Last Seen Alive: September 7, 1989
Body Found: September 15, 1989


On Friday, September 15, 1989, a child playing by the Cedar River told nearby adults he had found a mannequin or body in the river. When police were notified at 6:40 p.m. that day, they discovered the body of Jeffery “Jo Jo” Howard  Zolliecoffer about a half-mile north of Waterloo’s business district.

Black Hawk County in Iowa
Black Hawk County in Iowa
Waterloo in Black Hawk CountyWaterloo in Black Hawk County

Zolliecoffer, 23, had been shot three times, including a shotgun blast to the back of the head. His body had been wrapped in a quilted blanket, secured with copper wiring, and looped through two cement blocks.

Waterloo police believe it took several days for his body to rise from the river.

Zolliecoffer’s case went back eight days to when he was last seen late Thursday evening, September 7, 1989, at Goodies II, a bar formerly located in the 100 block of Sumner Street.

There were conflicting reports of whether Zolliecoffer left the bar on his own will or was forced out by several men; it was the last known time anyone ever saw Zolliecoffer alive. He was reported missing September 9, 1989.

A September 16 autopsy performed by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Peter Stevens of the State Medical Examiner’s Office determined Zolliecoffer died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Waterloo Police Sgt. Lyle Ames ruled the death a homicide.

Police have followed up on many leads over the years but have not made an arrest.

Some family members believe the murder was drug related while other members advised Zolliecoffer was against anyone who used drugs. To this day, the family hopes a new lead will come in and provide closure after all these years.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Renews Hope for Family

Almost 25 years after Jo Jo’s body was pulled from the river, a call to his family from the newly formed Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers provided the family with renewed hope that justice would one day be served.

“With crime stoppers coming back in, re-opening the case, we got our hopes back up as to getting Jo Jo some peace,” Zolliecoffer’s brother, Willie Lumpkin, told CBS 2/FOX 28 news in a story that aired June 6, 2013.

Lumpkin told CBS/FOX that when his brother initially disappeared, the family thought they’d eventually find him “beat up or something,” but that didn’t turn out to be the case.

“We just hope a lot more people will come forward and get with crime stoppers and help us get this case solved,” Lumpkin said in the interview.

About Jeffery Howard “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer

Jeffery Zolliecoffer was born November 3, 1965, and attended Waterloo schools.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about the cold case murder of Jeffery “Jo Jo” Zolliecoffer is asked to call the Waterloo Police Department at 319-291-4340 ext. 3, or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-TIPS (8477).

Anyone with information leading to an arrest is eligible for a $1,500 reward.

You may also submit tips anonymously through the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Confidential Web Tip Information System.



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21 Responses to Jeffery Zolliecoffer

  1. Chris says:

    It’s about TIME this case is solved.

  2. Tommy Shaw says:

    Such a handsome young man. Tragic

  3. Tommy Shaw says:

    Outrageous! All of this time has passed. A photo of the quilt may be of some help. How absolutely horrific for this young man to die in such a way!

  4. anon says:

    Why has google removed the “street view” for 717 Franklin Avenue in Des Moines?

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Anon, I looked and Google hasn’t actually removed the “street view” for 717 Franklin Ave. in Des Moines, but rather removed the image of the house itself. (I have no idea why.) I still have a large photo of that apartment building, and when I checked and, both sites still had images of the house as well.

      Do you believe someone who may have lived in this home had something to do with Jo Jo’s death?

  5. Chris says:

    It’s common knowledge in Waterloo who did this. The cops know, just can’t prove it ..

  6. andrea says:

    This might be a stupid question, but is local law enforcement even aware of the federal prosecution of the owners of Goodies II for making false statements to the federal government? The above link is to the appellate decision on their case. It also mentions, in passing, a number of state prosecutions of the Goodson family members.

  7. Amy Macklem says:

    We had just moved back from Texas when this happened .He was a good guy and definitely didn't deserve what happened to him . I still think of him often . I know that it all started in Texas with the per suit ending in Waterloo but we didn't have any names of the men at that time . sad situation

    • Shannon Vanarsdale says:

      Hey I’m jojo’s cousin Shannon VanArsdale. What do you mean started in Texas? Please call me at 602 900 3715.

  8. Danielle Strong says:

    I am praying someone comes forward in my uncle’s murder, with any information!!! He had a child( my cousin) who never got to know his dad!!! It pains me, that he and the rest of the family never got answers or justice for him!!! I love you Daddy Jo-Jo and still praying for answers!!!

  9. Sarah Stuelke, hundreds of victims’ loved ones have this very same question. I wish I had an answer.

    • We will find you says:

      Release the picture of the quilt. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the quilt is the key. Waterloo detectives has never cared about Africans Americans deaths in Iowa. I am family and we heard there is a cover-up with this one and they do know what happened!

  10. I know…it’s so sad.

  11. I remember this case from the news like it was yesterday. Why is there no closure for his loved ones?

  12. Kevin Sawyer says:

    Jo jo.was a trip had some good times with him at east

  13. I went to high school with him. I hope they find whoever did this.



  15. Cindy Zolliecoffer says:

    I hope they find my cousins killer he looks so much like my dad…

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Cindy, I’m so sorry for your loss and also hope his killer is identified soon. This was such a cowardly, horrific crime, and you and your family deserve answers. Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has made some incredible progress on cases since they organized two years ago, and they haven’t forgotten Jo Jo. All my best to you.


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