Kaiden Estling

Kaiden Estling (Courtesy wcfcourier.com)

Kaiden Estling

Hit-and-Run Homicide — SOLVED

Kaiden Estling
14 YOA
Highway 150 near 118th St.
From: Maynard, Iowa
Killed Near: Fayette, Iowa
Fayette County
June 28, 2018
Investigating Agency: Fayette County Sheriff’s Office


UPDATE: Arrest Made Friday, June 26

FAYETTE COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — Nearly 2 years to the day that a teen was killed while driving his moped south of Fayette, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office announced an arrest in the case.

The sheriff’s office arrested and charged Kelli Jo Michael, 26, of Des Moines on Friday, June 26, 2020, in the death of Kaiden Estling. Michael was charged with one count of vehicular homicide and one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

Full Story at KWWL.com

Kaiden Douglas Estling, 14, of Maynard, Iowa, was killed by a hit-and-run driver Thursday, June 28, 2018, while riding his blue moped on Highway 150 just south of Fayette.

The teen was found in the west ditch, but died despite lifesaving efforts.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the moped crash on Highway 150 near 118th Street, about two miles south of Fayette, around 10 p.m., June 28.

Fayette County in Iowa
Fayette County in Iowa
Fayette, IAFayette in Fayette County

Fayette County sheriff’s deputies said the driver who struck Kaiden’s moped didn’t stop, notify officials of the crash or attempt to help him.

Sheriff’s deputies determined that Estling was driving southbound on Highway 150 on a blue 2016 Yongfu YN50QT-21 moped when he was struck by another vehicle. Estling then lost control of his moped and ended up near the west side ditch. The other vehicle fled the scene before deputies arrived, the Oelwein Daily Register reported June 29.

According to a media release from the sheriff’s office, they were assisted on scene by the Fayette Police Department, West Union Police Department, Fayette Ambulance, and Fayette Fire Department. The Iowa State Patrol Technical Collision Investigator is assisting Fayette County in its continuing investigation into this hit-and-run accident.

Kaiden Estling was a student at West Central School in Maynard, a close-knit charter school where everyone knows everyone. The school district issued a message on its website: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic accident on the evening of June 28th that fatally injured West Central student Kaiden Estling.”

The school organized counseling support for students on Saturday, June 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. for individual or small group student needs.

Classmates, friends, and others gathered at the school on Sunday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m.

Public pleas have been issued for anyone who can help find the vehicle that struck and killed the boy around 10 p.m. The sheriff’s office didn’t release a vehicle description, but Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher asked potential witnesses of the collision to contact the sheriff’s office at 563-422-6067.

Residents were also asked to be on the lookout for a vehicle with recent damage.

Kaiden’s mother, April Estling, told KCRG-TV9 on August 19 that she was devastated that somebody could do that to her son.

What kind of a monster could do this. I mean I cried the first time I hit a squirrel. I felt horrible. That was just a little squirrel. This was a human. This was a 14-year-old boy that had the rest of his life ahead of him,” she said in the interview.

She made a memorial for her son where the accident happened and visits it weekly to find peace.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers initially announced a $1,500 reward for anybody with information leading to an arrest in the case. On Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, they announced the reward had been increased to $6,500. The increase came following a donation, according to Crime Stoppers officials.

This hit and run accident remains under investigation by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Technical Collision Investigator and assisted by an Iowa State Patrol Technical Collision Investigator.


Arrest Made in Case

Kelli Jo Michael (Courtesy KWWL)

On Friday, June 26, 2020 — just two days before the two-year anniversary of Estling’s death — the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office announced they had arrested and charged Kelli Jo Michael, 26, of Des Moines, in his death.

Michael was charged with one count of vehicular homicide and one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. She is being held in the Fayette County Jail on a $50,000.00 cash only bond.

According to a KWWL.com story that aired the day of the arrest, Estling’s mom, April, has worked to keep the word out about her son’s death, searching for the person who did it. She wrote on her Facebook page Friday after the news of an arrest:

“This has been the longest, hardest 2 years of my life. And I can officially announce that #justiceforKaiden has arrived!! I ask that you respect Kaiden Estling family and friends and give us the privacy and respect that we all deserve!! Thank you Fayette County and everyone else who helped solve this case and give my son the justice he deserves.”

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Des Moines Police Department in the investigation.

Family suing Des Moines woman charged in crash

Kaiden Estling’s mother is suing the woman charged in her son’s death, the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

According to the Register, April Estling filed suit Sept. 11 against Michael and the owner of the white 2008 Pontiac Torrent that Michael was driving when she allegedly hit Kaiden Estling, according to the suit. The car owner was dropped from the suit Sept. 24.

In the Oct. 13 story, Register reporter Philip Joens wrote:

The suit asks for compensatory damages covering earnings during Kaiden Estling’s lifetime, damages caused by his family’s pain and suffering and money for Estling’s funeral expenses.

Michael’s attorney, Stephen Allison, denied all the allegations in the lawsuit, according to an Oct. 2 court filing. A trial in the criminal case is scheduled for May 10, 2021.

~ Des Moines Register, Oct. 13, 2020

About Kaiden Douglas Estling (from obituary)

Kaiden Douglas Estling, 14, of Maynard, Iowa died on Thursday evening, June 28, 2018, from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run incident south of Fayette, Iowa.

Funeral Service: 10:30 A.M. Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at the West Central School Gymnasium in Maynard with Pastor Andy Sayer officiating.
Visitation: 3:00 to 8:00 P.M. Monday at the Jamison-Schmitz Funeral Home in Maynard and from 9:30 to 10:30 A.M. Tuesday at the school.
Interment: Long Grove Cemetery, Maynard.

Online obituary at www.jamisonschmitzfuneralhome.com

Kaiden Douglas Estling was born November 12, 2003, at Waterloo, Iowa, the son of April Ann Estling. He attended West Central Community Schools and would have been a freshman this coming year. Kaiden was a member of the Fayette Community Church and Warrior Servant Martial Arts in Fayette. He enjoyed football, basketball, track, fishing, music, girls and hanging out with his friends and cousins.

Kaiden is survived by his mother: April Estling of Maynard; brother: Amir Estling of Maynard; maternal grandparents: Kay and Doug Estling of Oelwein; aunts and uncles: Carmen (Joe) Wedemeier, and Steve (Jamie) Estling all of Oelwein; cousins: Eric, Brendon, Jared, Jacob and Taylor; and several step cousins.

He was preceded in death by his great grandparents: Leo and Verna Estling, Vern Thein, and Bernadine and Harold Squires.

If you have any information

Anyone with further information about this crime is asked to contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 422-6067 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at (855) 300-TIPS (8477). Tips also may be left at WWW.CVCRIMESTOP.COM.


4 Responses to Kaiden Estling

  1. Ken Westin says:

    How did they discover who killed Kaiden? Did Ms. Michael turn herself in or did they use cell phone records to find out who was using their phone at that time and place?

  2. Philinise Hamlin says:

    JusticeFor Kaiden! Contuined prayers for the family as they try to get through each day after his murderer is finally caught! You can rest ,Kaiden. Rest In Peace.

  3. Jennifer Kugel says:

    I heard someone was arrested is this true?

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