Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

John Shuey


John Shuey
26 YOA
1427 23rd Street
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1986-12024
March 24, 1986

John Shuey, a 26-year-old drywall installer, was found stabbed to death in his Des Moines apartment on Monday, March 24, 1986.

Des Moines police found Shuey dead in a pool of dried blood on the living room floor of the 1427 23rd Street apartment after Shuey’s neighbor, Pat Smith, contacted the building’s landlord with concerns about Shuey’s welfare. The landlord then notified authorities.

Smith had detected an odor coming from Shuey’s apartment over the weekend but received no response after knocking several times on Shuey’s door.

1427-23rd-st-des-moines-john-shueyCourtesy photo Polk County Assessor
John Shuey was stabbed to death at this 1427 23rd Street, Des Moines apartment building.

An autopsy determined Shuey died from a stab wound to the chest, which police believe resulted from a botched robbery.

According to a Des Moines Register article dated September 10, 1986, Shuey had reported a break-in three months earlier on December 22, 1985, in which a .22-caliber rifle, a VCR and videos were stolen from his apartment. Shuey had lived in the building only two months at the time.

One month after Shuey’s apartment was burglarized, Smith also filed a report after she said an intruder broke the glass in the building’s main door and came up the stairs. According to the Register, Smith said she’d grabbed a knife and confronted the man, who fled after telling her he had the wrong address.

Neighbors described Shuey as a quiet, nice person. His murder remains unsolved.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about John Shuey’s unsolved murder is asked to contact the Des Moines Police Department at 515-283-4864 or Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.

  • Des Moines Police Department, correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, July 10, 2009
  • “Robbery eyed as motive in fatal stabbing of man,” Tom Alex, The Des Moines Register, September 10, 1986
  • “Des Moines man stabbed to death,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Wednesday, March 26, 1986


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3 Responses to John Shuey

  1. I knew his parents, his dad taught history in Chariton, Iowa, his mom worked at JCPenneys, very nice people, so sad!!!!

    • Kevin Brewer says:

      I grew up with John in Chariton so sad. Can’t believe it hasn’t been solved, the house was broke into prior to his murder, their has to be fingerprints

  2. arlyce (brendeland) engles says:

    If this is the same John that I went to High School with at North Polk in Alleman Ia. His father worked there. Mr Shuey had two teenage sons, that were just as nice as he was. I think of John often! His life was taken way to soon!

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