Kathleen Holliday

Kathleen Holliday (Courtesy photo Des Moines Register)

Kathleen L. Holliday


Kathleen Louise Holliday
37 YOA
Home Residence: 10001 N.W. Beaver Drive
Grimes, IA
Body found in Saylorville Reservoir
Polk County
DOD: March 12, 1977


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Kathleen Louise Holliday, a rural Grimes, Iowa mail carrier, finished up her mail route on Saturday, March 12, 1977, and then vanished without a trace. Her body was found two months later in the Saylorville Reservoir — just as a psychic had predicted.

Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Grimes in Polk CountyGrimes in Polk County

The 37-year-old Holliday, who lived alone, had last been seen wearing brown square-toed boots with walking hells, blue jeans frayed around the bottom, a red or blue short-sleeved shirt and a blue denim jacket. She was reported missing when she didn’t show up for work the following Monday.

No mail was reported missing, nor was any clothing missing from Holliday’s home. Officials found her purse in the pickup truck she usually drove, and several hundred dollars in cash at her home.

Polk County Sheriff’s Detective Paul Womack told the Des Moines Register on March 17, 1977, that “her disappearance is not consistent with her normal living patterns and habits,” and said officers concluded foul play was involved.

Polk County Sheriff Bob E. Rice told the Register that the last known person to talk to Holliday was a man from Alabama.

Rice activated the Major Investigations Team — a group of detectives from metropolitan law enforcement agencies — and the group secured a court order to search Holliday’s bank accounts and safety deposit boxes. Missing from her safety deposit box was $25,000 in negotiable savings bonds Holliday had recently purchased with money she’d received in a recent divorce settlement.

The bonds could be cashed by anyone who possessed them, and the recent divorce settlement also seemed to explain the cash discovered in Holliday’s home.

Holliday’s 38th birthday arrived April 15th — the mail carrier still nowhere to be found.

A psychic’s predictions come true
Psychic Greta Alexander

Psychic Greta Alexander (Courtesy photo Robert J. Modersohn, Des Moines Register)

Law enforcements officials seldom employed psychics or clairvoyants to help solve cases, but when Detective John Hampel spoke with criminal psychic Greta Alexander, and the Delavan, Illinois woman correctly identified 10 of 11 people involved in the investigation, Sheriff Rice — still baffled by Holliday’s disappearance — agreed to have her flown to Iowa.

Alexander told authorities that Holliday was dead, would be found by three people, would be found within five miles of her home, and that there would be “some water involved.” One of the three people who would find her, she said, would be wearing black boots.

On Tuesday, May 10, 1977, James Carroll, Connie Sims and Dwight Baker were out in a boat on the Saylorville Reservoir. Around 6:30 p.m., Baker spotted something in a marsh-like area about two miles south of the mile-long bridge southwest of Polk City.

It turned out to be Holliday’s badly decomposed body — just three miles from her home.

greta-alexander-psychic-brainzdotorgCourtesy photo brainz.org
Greta Alexander, an Illinois housewife, discovered her psychic abilities after being struck by lightning. Her successful work as a psychic sleuth includes the investigation surrounding the disappearance of Kathleen Louise Holliday on March 12, 1977. Alexander had reportedly predicted to law enforcement officials that Holliday was dead, would be found by three people within a five mile radius of her home, and that there would be “some water involved.” On May 10, 1977, Holliday’s body was discovered in the Saylorville Reservoir in Polk County, Iowa by three people in a boat – just as Greta had apparently foreseen.

The psychic had but one detail incorrect; none of the three boaters wore black boots.

Polk County Medical Examiner Dr. R.C. Wooters identified the body — clothed in attire similar to what Holliday had been wearing when last seen — through her dental records. Due to the body’s advanced state of decomposition, he said it would be difficult to ever determine an exact cause of death.

Additionally, law enforcement officials were unable to determine whether Holliday died where her body was found or whether she had been killed elsewhere and then dumped in the reservoir. Rice believed, however, robbery was the motive for her murder.

Rice and other deputies marveled at the psychic’s accuracy, yet not even she could name Holliday’s killer.

Saylorville LakeSaylorville Lake (Courtesy photo Ryan Stone)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the man-made reservoir by the end of that year.

Today, the 5,950-acre Saylorville Lake — which borders Polk City about 11 miles north of Des Moines — is a popular destination for camping, hiking, fishing, and many other recreational activities.

Kathleen was born April 15, 1939, and was the mother of three children.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding the unsolved murder of Kathleen Holliday, please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 515-286-3800.

Copyright © 2020 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


9 Responses to Kathleen Holliday

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    The questions was weather the bonds were ever cashed. Also, who knew about the bonds? Maybe her ex-husband, his or her attorney. Maybe even family members. The other question is weather the Postal Inspectors were ever involved in her case. They could have provided extra help in the investigation. They have been involved in the disappearance of a mail carrier here in Chicago, along with the Chicago Police Department.

  2. Logan says:

    I think the psychic did it did she have an alibi

  3. Nedra says:

    Mary, I have looked for you and your family for years. Also your Aunt. How are you doing? Steve and Nedra Ehrenhard, Belinda, Sheila, Jeff and Brian.

  4. Mary says:

    My mother had three kids one girl three boys

  5. mary says:

    my brothers are on facebook i could not locate you to many simmons

  6. Tammy says:

    Mary! I have looked for you and your brothers! I am sorry that I didn’t see your response sooner… I was the lil blonde girl that live catty corner from you guys and probably drove you all crazy :) I still live just up the road from your old house, and think of you ALL everyday as I drive past it. Words cannot describe how sorry I was to hear the news of your mothers passing. Her birthday is my Anniversary, I think of her daily. She was an great lady. I always enjoyed your house, (and all your critters) I was 6 shades of green with envy over your lil farm life. I would love to get together, also always wondered how your brothers were doing. My name is Tammy Simmons now, not sure if you are on facebook, but I am. Look me up darlin, I’ll try to check back much sooner this time!! SOO nice to see your message here tonight! I’m so sorry & wish it didn’t have to be on this forum… Like I said I think of you & your family every time I pass that house and my heart goes out to you. ps tell your brothers I’m not mad at them anymore for using me as a target practice behind the hay bales and shooting me in the back of the head with the BB gun ;) Hope to hear from you someday…. I’m always praying & hoping for your peace and closure..

  7. mary says:

    tammy, thank you for your note. i am one of her children i was wondering how close you lived to us.

  8. Tammy says:

    I grew up as her neighbor and played with her 3 kids, they were such nice people… I still think about them all and wonder how they are doing… This is such a sad story… I hope whoever did this is caught.

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