Harrison County in Iowa

Harrison County in Iowa

John Lee Erickson


John Lee Erickson
48 YOA
Killed near Mondamin, IA
Harrison County
Body dumped near Onawa, IA
Monona County
April 30, 1997


On Wednesday, April 30, 1997, Vietnam veteran John Lee Erickson, 48, of Council Bluffs was shot in the head near Mondamin, Iowa, in Harrison County. His killer or killers then dumped his body in a ditch off I-29 south of Onawa in Monona County.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation investigated the homicide.

His death came exactly one week before his 49th birthday.

A husband and father of four, Erickson worked as a meat cutter and owned and operated the Fifth Avenue Meat Shoppe in Council Bluffs. The military veteran served as an SP4 with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

His murder remains unsolved.

About John Lee Erickson

John Lee Erickson was born in Council Bluffs on May 7, 1948, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1966. 

john-erickson-gravestoneCourtesy photo Dan E. W at findagrave.com
John Lee Erickson is buried at Garner Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mr. Erickson and his wife, Perlene, had been married for 15 years.

In addition to his wife, survivors included a daughter, Sarah, of Council Bluffs; three sons, Josh, Zack and John Jr., all of Council Bluffs; a stepson, Jeff, of Council Bluffs; his parents, John and Jerene Erickson, of Council Bluffs; a sister, Carolyn Erickson, of Savannah, Ga; a brother, Steve, of Council Bluffs; nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 5, 1997 at Beem-Belford Funeral Home. 

Visitation with the family was held Sunday, May 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the funeral home.

John was laid to rest in the Garner Township Cemetery with military rites conducted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 737.  

The family asked that memorials be offered to the Josh and Zack Erickson Educational Fund.

His wife, Perlene Jo (Floerchinger) Erickson, died without answers on Monday, December 13, 2010, at Jennie Edmundson Hospital, where she’d worked for the past 33 years as a Physical Therapy Technician.

Information Needed

If you have any information about John Lee Erickson’s unsolved murder please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Council Bluffs, at (712) 322-1585.

  • Sheriff Patrick Sears, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, January 12, 2015
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
  • John Lee Erickson (1948 – 1997) — Find a Grave Memorial
  • Obituaries: Perlene Jo Erickson, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, December 15, 2010
  • “United States Public Records, 1970-2009,” database, FamilySearch.org, John L Erickson, Residence, Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States; a third-party aggregator of publicly available information.
  • “Find A Grave Index,” index, FamilySearch.org, John Lee Erickson, 1997; Burial, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States of America, Garner Cemetery; citing record ID 106022153, Find a Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/.
  • “The United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch.org, John L Erickson, 30 Apr 1997; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • “BillionGraves Index,” index, FamilySearch.org, JOHN L. ERICKSON.
  • “Obituaries: John L. Erickson,” The (Council Bluffs) Daily Nonpareil, Friday, May 2, 1997, P6.

3 Responses to John Erickson

  1. Jodi Frye, there are different ways officials can determine if a victim was killed and dumped elsewhere; one example is when the cause of death would have resulted in specific amounts of blood loss that’s not found at the dump site. Another example is lividity; after death, gravity pulls red blood cells downward, leaving a purplish red discoloration beneath the body where the blood cells congeal. So if this discoloration is found on the victim’s backside but he/she is found in a prone (lying face down) position, coroners know the victim lay face up (in a supine position) in the hours after death before later being moved.

  2. Jodi Frye says:

    How do they know he was shot in one place and dumped in another?
    How can someone live with themselves after taking anothers life? Sick people out there! Thanks for keeping their stories out there! Ur doing a great thing!

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