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Karen Theresa Streed
Case # 71-00703
Home Residence: Cedar Rapids, IA (Linn County)
Body Found in Amana, IA (Iowa County)
Investigating Agency: Iowa County Sheriff’s Office
Disappeared October 18, 1971
Body Found October 24, 1971
On Sunday, October 24, 1971, Karen Theresa Streed, 21, was found dead in the old Amana millrace canal located between West Amana and South Amana, Iowa. She had been missing one week and had been shot four times in the head.
Streed, who was employed by the American Optical Co., told co-workers she planned to hitchhike to Iowa City to see her husband, Ron Streed, a student at the University of Iowa. The couple lived at 112 Seventh St. SW in Cedar Rapids, and Ronald Streed commuted to classes at U of I.
Mrs. Streed was last seen Monday evening, Oct. 18, at Sixth Street and Sixteenth Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids at about 6 p.m. She was wearing a black poncho cape, a light-colored T-shirt, levi jeans and boots.
Lynn Trumpold, 17, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Trumpold of Middle Amana, was hunting Sunday evening along the millrace between West and High Amana when he spotted Streed’s body floating face down in the water. He made no effort to retrieve the body, and rushed home to tell his father, who called the Iowa County sheriff.
Streed’s husband made the identification from personal items found on his wife’s body.
The couple had married June 24, 1970, in California, and Mrs. Streed had been a resident of Cedar Rapids for about a year.
An autopsy performed at the U of I Hospitals in Iowa City determined Mrs. Streed was killed late Oct. 18 or early Oct. 19 and that her body had been in the water two to five days. In addition to the four gunshot wounds to Streed’s head, there also were marks on her head showing she had been struck with a blunt instrument three times.
Investigators in Streed’s death included the Cedar Rapids Police Dept., the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and sheriff’s deputies from Iowa, Linn, and Johnson counties.
Streed’s father, Mathias Casey, a 17-year veteran of the Foxboro, Mass., police department, worked with investigators on his daughter’s case but was not a part of the official investigation.
Ron Streed had organized a search for his wife earlier on Sunday in the Coralville reservoir area. About 100 volunteers combed an area about 10 miles from where Mrs. Streed’s body was found.
Authorities said Streed was clothed but that her black poncho, a green Army slicker and boots were missing. Scuba divers were unable to locate any of the missing items.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that as officers were organizing a search at the bridge Sunday night, a man with a California license plate on his car drove up to the scene and offered to help in the search. Officers questioned him, and when he told conflicting stories and could produce no identification, he was arrested on a charge of having no driver’s license and taken to the Johnson County jail.
Three scuba divers and a man in a boat combed the millrace from the highway 220 bridge south of West Amana for about 195 feet east to the point where Streed’s body was found.
Then-Iowa County Sheriff William Spurrier said there was nothing to indicate Streed’s body had been carried to the place it was found, and speculated that the killer dumped her body upstream and it floated to the area.
Karen Streed was one of four young Iowa women slain within the month. Maureen Farley, 17, was found bludgeoned to death near Cedar Rapids on September 24. On October 17, the body of Jeanine Marie Christensen, 18, was found in her Storm Lake apartment. She had been raped and strangled, and police later arrested Miss Christensen’s fiance, Michael Dean Peterson, on a first-degree murder charge. On Oct. 23, the day before Streed’s body was found, the body of Miss Karen Ann Goers, 23, was discovered in a ditch along a Mahaska County road. She had been shot several times in the head. Charles Silvers, 31, of Oskaloosa was held in connection with Goers’ death.
When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Karen Streed’s murder was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA forensic technology.
Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.
The DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.
In July 2015, Iowa Cold Cases partnered up with the Iowa Newspaper Association for a year-long project designed to feature statewide unsolved cases with hopes of encouraging tips or new leads that might help solve some of Iowa’s decades-old cases. By October 2015, approximately 200 Iowa newspapers had signed up to participate.
In Your Weekly Paper, A WordPress weblog for Benton, Iowa, and Poweshiek Counties, Brian Rathjen published an article Sept. 9, 2015 about Streed’s 1971 unsolved murder as well as the September 1980 Amana Holiday Inn double homicide of Rose Burkert and Roger Atkison.
Rathjen said the following about Ms. Streed’s autopsy:
The autopsy report, completed by the University of Iowa, confirmed the brutal cause of death and also indicated marks on her head from being struck three times with a blunt instrument. (Streed’s autopsy was done by Dr. Earl Rose, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsies of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, both connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.)
~ 2015 GONE COLD: Years later, deaths of hitchhiker, hotel guests remain a mystery, by Brian Rathjen, Your Weekly Paper
Karen Theresa (Casey) Streed was survived by her husband, Ronald; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Matthias Casey of Foxboro, Mass.; three sisters, Sandra, Paula and Regina, all at home; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Winfred Busch of West Roxbury, Mass., and Mrs. Catherine Casey, Dorchester, Mass.
After a long illness, Matthias Casey passed away June 18, 1987, at the age of 60. Karen’s mother, Constance B. (Busch) Casey, died April 12, 2012 at the age of 87.
If you have any information about Karen Streed’s unsolved murder, please contact the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office at (319) 642-7307 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.