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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.
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.