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Judith Anne Haecker, an 18-year-old Palmer Junior College student, was found dead in her Davenport, Iowa, home on Sunday, March 7, 1971.
Scott County Medical Examiner Dr. Rollin M. Perkins determined the teen had been hit in the head with a blunt object and then strangled with enough force to break a small bone in her throat.
Perkins estimated Haecker’s death as sometime during Saturday’s early morning hours.
Judith’s parents — who lived just a few blocks away — had dropped her off at her 202 E. 15th St. apartment around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 5.
Judith had complained to them earlier about an annoying man who lived in the apartment complex, but when her parents offered to walk her to her door she declined; she said she saw her girlfriend’s car there and would be fine.
Haecker entertained three friends that evening and into Saturday’s early morning hours, and one guest — who admitted to being fairly intoxicated — said he’d left around 1:30 a.m. Another friend told Judith’s mother that Judith had called around 2:00 a.m. looking for [Haecker’s] sister.
Just before 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, Mrs. Haecker went by her daughter’s apartment to pick her up for a youth service program at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Mrs. Haecker found the apartment door locked, but knew Judith kept a spare key hidden in the hallway and used it to let herself in. Once inside, she found her daughter’s body lying face up on the bed. A window shade — likely knocked down during a struggle — lay on the bed near Haecker’s body.
Valuables had been left behind and police quickly ruled out robbery as a motive.
During the initial discovery stages and before Haecker’s body was removed from the apartment, a male friend stopped by to visit and provided police with a statement. Officials believed another visitor called on Haecker some time after her murder, but slipped a note beneath her door and then left when Haecker failed to answer the locked door.
Also discovered at the scene was a love poem Judith had written.
If you have any information about Judith Haecker’s unsolved murder, please contact the Davenport Police Department at 563-326-7979.
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