kevin-morseCourtesy photo Daniel Morse
Rev. Kevin Lane Morse

Rev. Kevin Lane Morse


Rev. Kevin Lane Morse
44 YOA
Missouri River Levee
Nebraska City Bridge
Fremont County, IA
June 20, 2002


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Kevin Lane Morse, a 44-year-old minister, was shot on Thursday, June 20, 2002, while fishing along the banks on the Missouri River in Fremont County, Iowa.

Fremont County authorities said Morse’s body was found near a levee next to the Missouri River below the Nebraska City Bridge along Highway Two. Fremont County Sheriff Steve McDonald said Morse, who managed the Country Acres Care Center south of Sidney, had called the facility’s director of nursing shortly before 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon and told her he had been shot. He wasn’t able to say where he was, and then his cell phone went dead.

Fremont County in Iowa

Fremont County in Iowa

McDonald said the employee then called 911 to alert authorities of the call. The nursing home director told dispatchers Morse had gone to Nebraska City to return pop cans for the mental health facility that he was running. He had mentioned to his employees and residents that “the carp would be biting near the mulberry trees.”

As officials initiated a search from Sidney to Nebraska City, another employee and her husband found Morse’s pickup parked at the levee. McDonald said a county sheriff’s deputy arrived at approximately the same time. Morse had already died from the gunshot wound.

According to Sheriff McDonald, the subjects who fled the crime scene were described as two white males in their early 20s. One of the subjects wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans, and reportedly carried a rifle. The other suspect wore a dark blue T-shirt and blue jeans.

Massive Manhunt in Two States
nebraska-city-bridgeCourtesy photo Wikipedia
Kevin Morse was fishing along the banks below the Nebraska City Bridge when he was shot by two unidentified men in their early 20s.

The discovery of Morse’s body touched off a massive investigation and manhunt in two states. Officers from several agencies arrived at the scene, including the Fremont County and Otoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa and Nebraska State Patrols and the Nebraska City Police Department, and other agencies.

Officers employed two area drug dogs and fanned out across the area. Two boats were deployed along the river, and a Nebraska State Patrol helicopter and Iowa State Patrol airplane circled the area hoping to spot the subjects.

The subjects had not yet been located by late Thursday evening, and McDonald warned nearby residents to be alert of anything suspicious. On a Rootsweb message board, Nancy Boyd wrote that it was the first time they locked their doors and put a handgun on the bedroom headboard.

Those who knew Morse described him as a nice man who was well liked in his community.

Despite the intensive investigation, the case eventually went cold and Kevin Morse’s murder remains unsolved.

About Kevin Morse

Kevin Lane Morse, one of two children of Lane Frederick and Helen Carolene Morse, was born at Red Oak, Iowa on July 30, 1957. He grew up in Emerson, Iowa and graduated from Nishna Valley High School in 1976. He attended Iowa Western Community College in Clarinda, Iowa and began working for the Earl May store in Shenandoah, Iowa.

Kevin Morse gravestoneCourtesy photo Marty & Harley at
Pastor Kevin Morse was buried at the Emerson Cemetery in Mills County, Iowa.

Kevin and Mary Anne Churchill of New Market, Iowa were married on August 4, 1978, and established their first home in Shenandoah. In 1979, they moved to Emerson and Kevin began a nine year career with the Mills County Road Department. During this time he studied for the ministry and in 1988, they moved to Malvern, Iowa where Kevin became the pastor of the First Baptist Church.

In 1990, Kevin resigned his post at the First Baptist Church and took a job with People’s Service. This same year, Kevin founded the Family Worship Center Church in Malvern and the congregation quickly grew and made many improvements to the building. Kevin delivered a positive up-beat message and enthusiastically supported the church activities. In 1998, Kevin took a job with the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa that would allow him more flexible time to pastor. Kevin was ordained as a minister in the Pentecostal Church of God.

In July of 2000, Kevin became the administrator of the Country Acres Care Center at Sidney, Iowa. During this time, Kevin helped develop a plan to convert the Family Worship Center building into a Christian based youth center.

Kevin and Mary were blessed with three children: Daniel Lane, Kristine Anne, and Caleb Mark. They had joined the Victory Fellowship Church in Council Bluffs where Kevin was active in the church programs. He had been a member of the Emerson Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders. In addition to his church activities, Kevin enjoyed hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.

Kevin was survived by his wife of 23 years, Mary Morse; children Daniel, Kristine, and Caleb all of Malvern; parents Lane and Carolene Morse of Emerson; sister Karla McGrew-Pearson and her husband Calvin of Emerson; three nieces; aunts, uncles, other relatives and friends.

Rev. Morse was buried at the Emerson Cemetery in Mills County, Iowa.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about Rev. Kevin Morse’s unsolved murder is asked to contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, email, or contact the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at (712) 374-2673.



Copyright © 2024  Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


15 Responses to Kevin Morse

  1. Jennifer marie Needham says:

    a lot of people think his wife had something to do with it. he had a pretty hefty insurance policy and right after he passed she was out getting her nails done im sorry but if someone just loses a spouse theyre supposed to love like they said they shouldnt have been out doing that they should have been greieving. and it was awful suspicious that she got remarried not too long after his death to the man she was seeing behind Kevin’s back. its so sad that his son was on the crew that answered the call to the river that day. i could not imagine the feelings or thoughts going thru his sons head when he realized it was his dad.RIP Kevin

    • Mike Pauzed says:

      Before you post you should know your facts !
      Yes it is a great loss .
      Never believe what you hear . As i know the family rather well and I believe if you know them you wouldn’t say things like this on social media.

    • Stay Strong says:

      The articles regarding her fraudulent criminal activity linked below certainly lends credence to your claim that widow Mary was morally compromised and may have been involved Jennifer.

    • Daniel Morse says:

      As his son, I can tell you not only are you so off base with your comments,you should be ashamed of yourself. Your insensitive, baseless comment that is only meant to take a cheap shot behind your little computer screen. Glad that when my children, who never got to meet there grandfather look this up some day they can see how horrible and nasty internet trolls are.

      • Renee Harmon says:


        I am so sorry you lost your father and also sorry that years later you are exposed to reading about his passing and what other’s suspect happened. From an outsider’s perspective, it is always “interesting” to consider all the angles of a story, however, I think we often forget that there are many loved ones who are still impacted and feel the hurt of the loss. I wish you peace and love and hope your father’s case will be solved. From what I read, he sounds like an amazing man who was a positive light in this world. Take care.

  2. Stay Strong, Keep Fighting For Justice! says:

    It appears that the Rev. Kevin’s wife and daughter haven’t exactly walked in the path of the straight and narrow that the Rev, Kevin preached and practiced….

    Medicaid Theft and Fraudulent Practices, Contempt of Court

  3. Penny McDaniel says:

    He was a wonderful, loving man who would have done anything to help someone in need.

  4. Tim Bench says:

    What a tragic story.

  5. Praying for the family

  6. Diana Wilson says:

    I love to read about cold cases. Not happy someone had to die….

  7. Amen all the way prayers for this man and family and friends.

  8. prayers to this Man’s family, I wish they could find who did it! please know I care.

    • Jennifer marie Needham says:

      maybe if they had done a lie detector test on his former wife Mary they would have realized she wasnt the “grieving widow” that she let everyone think she was

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