Joyce Jefferson (Courtesy Waterloo Courier)

Joyce Jefferson (Courtesy Waterloo Courier)

Joyce Ann Jefferson


Joyce Ann Jefferson
23 YOA
1700 block of Black Hawk Road
Waterloo, IA
Black Hawk County
Reported Missing: Thursday, Sept. 29, 1983
Body Found: Saturday, Oct. 8, 1983


Joyce Ann Jefferson, a 23-year-old mother of three young children, was reported missing from Waterloo, Iowa, on Sept. 29, 1983.

Her badly decomposed body was found early Saturday, Oct. 8, 1983, in a grassy ditch in the 1700 block of Black Hawk Road in southwest Waterloo.

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

At approximately 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Raymond H. Litzkow of 1750 Black Hawk Road notified police and said he found the body in or near a roadside ditch about 3,000 feet from his home.

A fire department ambulance and firetruck were dispatched to the scene, and the body taken by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital.

The state medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide, though Waterloo police would not initially disclose the cause of death, saying it could harm their investigation.

Later reports revealed Jefferson had been stabbed to death.

Litzkow said he couldn’t tell if the body was on his property, which straddles Black Hawk Road, or if it was on the public right of way.

“I didn’t go back and look,” he said in a Waterloo Courier article dated Oct. 9.

Litzkow also said the spot where the body was found had weeds he estimated to be about chest high.

“There’s people jogging by here all the time,” he said, noting that without the tall weeds the body would have been detected sooner.

According to a Waterloo Courier story published Oct. 10, 1983, Capt. Robert Maltas said Jefferson lived in Waterloo but not on a permanent basis.

Waterloo police, who revealed Jefferson’s identify on Thursday, Oct. 13, 1983, said they identified the body using dental records obtained from Minneapolis.

In a Cedar Rapids Gazette article dated Oct. 14, 1983, State Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas L. Bennett said Jefferson had been dead for approximately 10 days when her body was found. He estimated she died Sept. 29 — the same day she went missing — or shortly thereafter.

According to Waterloo police reports, Jefferson sometimes worked as a prostitute and had some known enemies.

Jefferson had no permanent address, but had been living at the Bel-Air Motel, 3031 University Ave., for about the past month, police said.

The motel was located about two miles from where Jefferson’s body was later found, the Gazette reported.

In a Record Herald story published Oct. 13, 1983, police said they had a suspect in the case but would not comment on whether an arrest was imminent.

About Joyce Jefferson

Joyce Ann Jefferson was born January 1, 1960, at Sunflower, Miss., the daughter of Nathan Jefferson and Cecil Purnell.

She’d resided in East St. Louis but most recently had lived in the Waterloo area.

Survivors included two daughters, Tomika Jefferson and Marquitta Jefferson, both of East St. Louis; a son, A.C. Jefferson of East St. Louis; her mother; 10 brothers, Lovie D. Thomas of Carthage, Miss., Willie James Jefferson, Jimmie Thomas and LeRoy Jefferson, all of East St. Louis, Alonzo Jefferson of Oklahoma City, Gentry Hicks of Fort Madison, Monroe Hicks of Cape Giradeau, Mo., Nathan Jefferson Jr. and Ernest Jefferson, both of Milwaukee, and Bobby Joe Jefferson of Sandstone, Minn.; and two sisters, Cora Jefferson and Sarah Ann Jefferson, both of East St. Louis.

Her father preceded her in death.

Services were held at Officer Funeral Home in East St. Louis, Ill., with Chapel of Memories East in charge of arrangements.

Joyce’s mother passed away on Aug. 26, 2011 without seeing her daughter’s murder solved.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about Joyce Jefferson’s unsolved murder 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 may be eligible for a cash reward.

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

The Waterloo Police Department and Iowa Cold Cases are hoping to learn more about Joyce Jefferson’s short life. Anyone with photos or stories about Joyce’s life is encouraged to send the information to Investigator Brice Lippert at the Waterloo Police Department or Jody Ewing at Iowa Cold Cases. Photo credit will be provided for any submitted photos.



9 Responses to Joyce Jefferson

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I came across a posting on Redditt, in regards to Joyce’s murder. It appears the grandson of the individual, who supposedly found her about 3,000 yards from their family home.

    This individual was seeking more information on her case. If anyone is on that site can ask him or her that her case is posted on Iowa Cold Cases. I don’t think he or she can add more information. But they could mention what they heard from their family member.

  2. Becky says:

    Wow…there is no better picture of her? I know newspaper articles don’t transfer well but this poor soul deserves to be remembered as she was in life.
    That being said….this is my first post but I am addicted to this site. You folks at ICC really care about these victims and their families. God Bless you for that.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    There are several unsolved murders of F/B prostitutes in Iowa in the early 1980’s. All of them in their early 20’s. I don’t know if they are connected, but something to look at for a pattern or how they died.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    The other thought, what drew her to Waterloo, Iowa. It’s not like it was a gold rush or they found a large oil deposit. She left East St. Louis for a reason. Was, she brought there by someone to fill a need. Also, who reported her missing. She had only been there for a month, and someone thinks enough of her to report her missing.

    I am sure the bike gangs probably are connected to many crimes around the country, especially with the distribution of drugs.

  5. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I agree with Margaret, that Mystery Addict, mentioned a farm, not a specific farm.

  6. Mystery addict says:

    I remember this. My foster family lived near there and my foster brother found her body, but no one believed him. I don’t know who that man is mentioned above that called her body in. But I do know that area. At the time there was the Rush bar and there was a farm that had a lot of days long parties. It was a rough time in town, money was scarce and drugs were a solution. With drugs come bikers and gangs and at that time there was a riff with the sons of silence and helps angels. That hotel she was staying at has always been a go to hotel for rent by the hour rooms. My guess is she got bought and paid for (she knew no one here, good place to set up shop and get out) & went out to that farm. but those kind of racist assholes on that farm would totally have used her up and threw her away. I honestly wouldn’t be the least surprised if that farm has more bodies on it. The last I knew it was still “in the family” but the generation in it now…. aren’t really better.
    This is also the area of a private “junk yard”. They have never advertised. You need to know them to get onto the property, at all. It’s weird. Steven Avery wierd.

    • Danielle Krumm says:

      Well not to correct you sir but my grandfather who devoted his life to the lord most certainly was not racist or a criminal. Nor does he deserve to have his memory disrespected after serving his country to fight for you and YOUR right to freedom of speech which allows you to bash a man u dont even know on the Internet (tough guy). And as for your opinion on they next generation not being any better…..You obviously don’t know any of us and maybe should do a little research before dragging people through the mud. Especially when u don’t even have the balls to post your name along with your ridiculous accusations. I hope you are a person of faith and know that God forgives you, but I will remind you that he said you should love your neighbors. There is enough hate in this world. Try harder not to contribute next time.

      Granddaughter of Ray Litzkow

    • Margaret says:

      It seemed to me as though “mystery addict” was referencing another farm near there. In which case that would be worth looking into.

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