For reprint permissions please email us the name of the requested post/article along with the publication name.
Kimberly R. “Kim” Loose, 16, died Friday, September 26, 1986, in rural Walcott, Iowa, in Scott County after leaving her best friend’s 16th birthday party in Blue Grass, Iowa, with 20-year-old Jeffery Curtis Daily, also of Blue Grass.
The teen — one of 10 siblings, with nine still living at home at 304 Salem St. in Blue Grass — had hoped to pursue a career as a psychologist after graduation, but the Davenport West High junior wouldn’t live long enough to graduate from high school.
The teen normally wasn’t allowed to go to parties, and spent much of her free time at home helping to care for two of her young brothers who suffered from autism. Her parents, Larry and Rose Loose, had brought five daughters into the world, quickly followed by five sons. Kim loved taking care of her younger siblings, and her two autistic brothers had fueled her decision to pursue a career in psychology once she finished high school.
Kim had turned 16 years old in July 1986, and looked forward to helping her best friend, Kelli Kress, celebrate her own sweet sixteenth birthday.
After arriving at Kelli’s home, the friends went briefly to a local bar owned by Kelli’s father. It is unknown whether or not they consumed any alcohol while there, but Kim met, for the first time, a 20-year-old named Jeff Daily.
Shortly after the girls returned to Kelli’s home to resume the birthday party, Daily showed up outside the house in a yellow Camaro he’d borrowed from a friend. He then tried talking Kim into leaving with him to attend another party in Walcott, Iowa.
Kim said no. She’d only just met him, didn’t know anything about him, and wasn’t used to socializing with older boys.
Witness statements give conflicting accounts as to whether or not Daily went inside the Kress home.
Finally, Daily asked Kim if she’d at least ride with him to go pick up Joyce Barton and bring her back to the party. Barton lived on the same block where the Loose family lived. She again said no, but the girls were tired of him pestering them and, after all, Kelli thought it would be nice to include Barton in the birthday celebration. Kim then agreed to ride with him to get Barton.
“Make sure you bring her right back because she’s spending the night here for my birthday party!” Kelli called out as Kim and Daily climbed in the Camaro.
As the Camaro pulled away from the curb, Kim yelled out to Kelli, “Tell my mom I’ll be right back!”
Instead of going to pick up Barton, Daily drove north out of town and headed toward Walcott.
A short time later, Kim found herself at the Walcott Mobile Home Park, entering a trailer house allegedly belonging to Rob Kaufman. There, they joined up with Daily’s best friend, 20-year-old Craig Allen Petersen, and Craig’s brother, Kevin Petersen, who was home from college for the weekend. Daily and Craig Petersen both resided in the 500 block of N. Moselle Street in Blue Grass. They’d grown up together and been best friends for years.
By 10:10 p.m. Friday night, Loose’s lifeless body, her eyes still open, would lie on the pavement near the Walcott Motor Home Park’s entrance, dead from blunt trauma hemorrhaging in her chest, a severe brain injury and a broken neck.
Her family would be told about only about one of the injuries — that Kim had died from a broken neck.
By Saturday’s late night hours, Craig Petersen also would be dead, though his body wouldn’t be discovered until the following Wednesday morning. On October 1, a boater found Petersen’s body floating in the Mississippi River about 100 yards offshore in Montpelier in Muscatine County.
The morning after Kim’s death, trouble had clearly begun brewing between the Petersen brothers.
Numerous witnesses (names on file, family has shared all details with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation), said the two were antagonist and fought and argued all throughout the day. The older brother, Kevin — home from college for the weekend — appeared to instigate many of the quarrels, at times almost pleading with Craig.
Craig stood his ground, and was seen shaking his head “no” in refusing to do or agree with whatever his older brother wanted. He remained visibly disturbed by something other than his brother tailing him everywhere he went.
By late evening Craig appeared to have had enough. He stormed off, witnesses said, but his brother waited only a short time before speeding off after him in a pickup truck.
Two eyewitnesses, who suspected the brothers’ disagreement was about to come to a serious end, followed Kevin Petersen in separate vehicles so as not to miss out on any exciting action. Kevin had driven to and parked his pickup near the edge of the Interstate 280 bridge south of Davenport, and gone out on the bridge where the brothers quickly resumed their argument.
One witness stated that within minutes, Kevin Petersen turned away from his brother to angrily confront those who’d begun to gather at the bridge’s edge. “He said everything was under control and that [we] needed to leave,” the witness said.
Intimidated by Kevin’s rage, the witnesses drove away while watching in the rear-view mirror as the brothers continued to quarrel on the bridge.
It was the last time anyone saw Craig Petersen alive.
Family members reported him missing in the early morning hours Sunday.
Officials told the press Petersen had disappeared sometime Sunday morning while walking across the Interstate 280 bridge.
In correspondence sent to Iowa Cold Cases in August 2014, one of Kim’s four sisters, Julie Loose, said her family was initially told that Kim’s death was a freak accident — that a vehicle’s passenger door had fallen open while allegedly traveling 10 to 20 mph over a speed bump in a parking lot — and that Kim had fallen from the vehicle, broken her neck and died in a “freak accident.”
A Quad-City Times article published two days after Kim’s death cited the Scott County Sheriff’s Department as saying Loose was killed in a one-car accident about 10:30 p.m. Friday, and that the car’s driver, Jeffery Daily, was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The Camaro belonged to Webster Scott, who was not questioned.
Daily, it said, was not injured in the accident.
Authorities said Loose was thrown from the passenger seat of the car near the entrance of the Walcott Motor Home Park off Highway 6.
One witness, allegedly the first to arrive at the scene after Kim’s fatal injuries, said she found only Daily in the parking lot, standing over a young woman. No mention was made of the Petersen brothers, though both were also present at the crime scene and captured in a number of photos.
In a 12:38 a.m. interview with Capt. Dennis J. Conard of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Jeff Daily stated he picked up Kim in Blue Grass between 9 and 10:30 p.m. and they were going to go for a drive to Walcott.
Scott County Medical Examiner Rollin M. Perkins, M.D., ordered the autopsy, conducted by Raj Sekharan, M.D. in the autopsy room of St. Luke’s Hospital at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, 1986.
It wasn’t until 2011 when Julie Loose had her own public brush with a near-death — a car fire where she’d managed to safely escape — that people began messaging her through Facebook, suggesting she ask the sheriff’s office for reports on file in her sister’s 1986 ‘accidental death.’
“I did,” Julie told Iowa Cold Cases, “and was given copies of reports and statements as well as a CD containing pictures from the scene where Kim died.”
The CD also contained autopsy photographs.
Everything the family thought they knew about Kim’s death — as well as Craig Petersen’s death — was about to change.
Once the family began poring through Kim’s case file documents and photos from the trailer park’s parking lot, they made a shocking discovery: the sheriff’s office records and statements witnesses had provided to deputies didn’t match up with the explanation officials had provided the family 25 years earlier.
“Autopsy reports showed several injuries we were never told about, including several triangle-shaped injuries” confined to Kim’s upper body area, Julie said. Additionally, Kim had been wearing a mini skirt that night, though neither leg had a scratch; she had a tiny bruise to each kneecap, but no pavement scrape marks.
Kim’s family also had been told Kim fell from the yellow Camaro’s right side passenger door, though case file reports and photos show the victim sustained injuries to her left side. One report cited a broken car door on the driver’s side — not the passenger side — and in a statement made to sheriff’s deputies, Daily, too, had acknowledged the driver-side broken door.
Also in his statement, Daily reported he’d been driving about 20 mph in a parking lot with a 10 mph speed limit.
Julie said she spoke to Scott County Sheriff Dennis Conard in 2011 about the case file evidence and asked for an explanation of what really happened to her sister.
“He, at that time, stated he could not figure it out. Said it was a suspicious death … that they would reopen the cold case,” Julie told Iowa Cold Cases.
Conard had served as a captain with the sheriff’s department at the time of Kim’s death.
Numerous documents indicated that Kim — an underage minor — had been at someone’s trailer where she’d been provided alcohol, but nowhere did any documents state who last saw Kim alive.
Several photos taken at the scene showed both Petersen brothers present, along with another vehicle and another well-known drag racer who still resides in Walcott.
The Loose family obtained a copy of Kim’s autopsy report and reports from the local fire department in May 2011.
What local officials had referred to as “road rash” on Kim’s body was actually a cherry-red discoloration due to “Cardiac Tamponade” — caused by blunt trauma to the chest where blood begins collecting in the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart) — followed by Hemorrhage Pericardial Trauma. In laymen’s terms, her left thorax — the body cavity area that holds the heart and lungs — had already filled with blood and was starting to fill the right thorax when Kim died. (Each side of the thorax can hold 30 to 40% of a person’s blood volume.)
In addition to the above two conditions cited on Kim’s ‘Certificate of Death,’ the autopsy report also included another injury that in and of itself would have resulted in Kim’s death.
“Fracture Dislocation of upper cervical spine with medullary concussion,” often referred to as Traumatic Brain Injury or “TBI,” is very similar to “shaken baby syndrome” and caused by the “rapid displacement of the head, in either acceleration or deceleration, which causes a swirling of the cerebrum within the cranium.” When the head and neck are constantly being thrown back and forth, the brain stem “torques” or “twists” quite easily, in turn fracturing and dislocating the upper cervical spine. In the minutes following this injury, blood and spinal fluid begin building up in the spinal canal below the brain.
Death isn’t usually far behind, and Kim’s autopsy report confirmed the presence of a “considerable amount” of spinal fluid.
When the medical examiner received Kim’s body, they were told by a deputy sheriff (as noted in autopsy report) that Kim was Jeff’s girlfriend (untrue — they’d barely met), and that they’d gotten into an argument and Kim had “jumped from a moving vehicle,” also untrue.
“The local fire department said they were sorry we were not told the truth but the case would be reopened to give the family closure or answers,” Julie Loose said. Scott County officials were notified about the additional findings once the family had time to review the autopsy report.
One witness told the Loose family that shortly before Kim’s death that night, she’d seen Kim injured but still alive and talking. Sheriff’s department and medical examiner reports, however, indicate the victim may have died before the witness arrived.
According to the witness, Daily had attempted to move Kim’s body and had lifted her partway before letting go and dropping Kim, hard, on her head, though Kim did not suffer a skull fracture.
Even as the teen lay motionless on the pavement — apparently dead — Jeff Daily made no attempts to contact law enforcement officials or medical personnel. Finally, someone called an individual who was friends with Ron Morrison of the Walcott Fire Department.
Attempts to revive the 16-year-old proved unsuccessful. Kim was pronounced DOA upon her arrival at Mercy Hospital.
The teen’s ‘Certificate of Death’ lists exact time of death — 10:10 p.m. — suggesting death occurred before efforts were made to contact the Walcott Fire Department.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department had provided the “Abstract of Clinical History” to the State Medical Examiner’s Office prior to the autopsy, and Officer Everett Howard of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department witnessed the autopsy.
Pathologist Raj Sekharan had begun and performed the autopsy based on a faulty clinical history for the victim, including:
“The sheriff’s office said they were sorry we were not told the truth but the case would be reopened to give the family closure or answers,” Julie Loose said of her 2011 discussion with Sheriff Conard after the family read through the contradictory autopsy report.
One witness told the Loose family that shortly before Kim’s death that night, she’d seen Kim injured but still alive and talking. Sheriff’s department and medical examiner reports, however, suggest Loose was likely deceased before the witness arrived.
According to the witness, Daily had attempted to move Loose’s body and lifted her partway before letting go and dropping Kim, hard, on her head, though Loose did not suffer a skull fracture.
Even as the teen lay motionless on the pavement, Jeff Daily made no attempts to contact law enforcement officials or medical staff. Finally, one of the gathering witnesses offered to call “somebody who knew Ron Morrison at the Walcott Fire Department.”
The call came into the Walcott Fire Department at 10:15 p.m., and they left the station at 10:17 p.m. The first unit arrived on scene at 10:21 p.m. and noted the following about the victim’s condition:
Armed with copies of sheriff’s office and fire department reports — along with eyewitness testimony from those who previously feared getting involved — the Loose family reached out to their local Crime Stoppers chapter and provided them with copies of all known documentation in the mysterious deaths of both Kim Loose and Craig Petersen.
Julie Loose also reached out to Craig Petersen’s mother, thinking she’d be eager to finally learn the truth about what happened to her son. Mrs. Petersen, however, questioned Julie as to why she’d want to pursue either death after so many years.
Julie and her family continued to move forward in search of answers for both Kim and Craig, and they got them; witnesses have indicated that the day after Kim’s death, they spent part of the day with Craig and Kevin Petersen. Craig, one witness said, was visibly upset over something and that the brothers kept arguing into the night. (Names on file and family has shared details with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.)
Craig finally stormed off, and his angered brother sped off after him in a pickup truck. Two people, who suspected the brothers’ disagreement was about to come to a head, followed Kevin Petersen out to the bridge, where Kevin and Craig quickly resumed their squabble.
Within minutes, one witness stated that Kevin Petersen turned and said everything was under control and that [the spectators] “needed to leave.” Those driving away watched in the rear-view mirror as the Petersen brothers continued to quarrel on the bridge.
Craig Petersen was reported missing later that same night.
Just as more local individuals began placing hesitant calls to the Loose family to share what they knew or had heard about Kim’s and Craig’s deaths, the Loose family received a call from Scott County Sheriff Conard, who said [Kim’s] death was “ruled an accident and the case was closed.”
Stunned family members wondered what had transpired from the time he’d told them it was a suspicious death and would reopen the cold case.
Petersen’s death was not mentioned in the call.
“They never connected Craig’s death to Kim’s as he was missing and then washed up in Muscatine County,” Julie Loose said.
According to a Cedar Rapids Gazette article published Thursday, Oct. 2, 1986, Petersen went missing in the very early morning hours on Sunday, Sept. 28, 1986, barely a day after Kim’s death.
Muscatine County officials recovered his body from the Mississippi River just hours before Kim Loose’s funeral was scheduled to begin.
John Kelsey of rural Buffalo was bailing out his boat near Blue Bill Ridge two miles west of Montpelier around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday when he spotted a body floating about 100 yards off shore. Kelsey finished bailing out his boat and then went to retrieve the body, the Muscatine Sheriff’s Department reported.
According to a Cedar Rapids Gazette article published Oct. 2, 1986, the body was taken by Buffalo Ambulance to Muscatine General Hospital. Once positively identified as that of Craig Petersen, officials transported the body to Des Moines for an autopsy.
According to the Gazette’s Oct. 2 story:
The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department said John Kelsey of rural Buffalo was bailing out his boat near Blue Bill Ridge, two miles west of Montpelier, about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday when he spotted the body floating about 100 yards off shore. He finished bailing out the boat and then went to retrieve the body, which was taken by Buffalo Ambulance to Muscatine General Hospital.
Dr. Marc Sink, who performed Petersen’s autopsy, noted in his official report that cause of death was “Drowning” and that Petersen’s death had occurred within “Minutes.”
Sink could not definitively specify manner of death, and in “Findings Considered In Determining Cause of Death” (Section 19b), Sink wrote “Undetermined.” In Section 20a — which asked to specify ACCIDENT, SUICIDE, HOMICIDE, OR UNDETERMINED — Sink noted “Prob. suicide.”
Sink estimated Petersen’s time of death as 3 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28, 1986.
Terry and Ann (Barnett) Petersen of 531 Moselle St., Blue Grass, buried their son in Davenport’s Memorial Park Cemetery three days after Kim Loose’s parents buried their child in the same cemetery.
Petersen’s mysterious death had occurred barely over one day after Kim Loose died of three separate but equally fatal injuries. No conclusive evidence ever proved whether Petersen had jumped (voluntarily or by coercion), fallen, or been pushed from the I-280 bridge into the Mississippi River, but witnesses did place Kevin Petersen — and not Jeff Daily — at Craig Petersen’s crime scene.
Were the two deaths and the victims’ connections to Kevin Petersen and Jeff Daily sheer coincidence? Were both deaths accidental?
The Looses don’t think so, and former Scott County Attorney Bill Davis — reportedly a good friend of the Daily family — did not file criminal charges in either death.
The Iowa Supreme Court revoked Davis’ law license effective April 17, 2008, for failing to comply with an Iowa Supreme Court Commission order to turn over trust account records from his private practice.
Davis had served as Scott County Attorney for 29 years and prosecuted many of the county’s most notorious cases.
“[We] don’t know what happened, but know Kim got no justice,” Julie Loose said.
In May 2016, Julie’s daughter, Samantha Loose, 22, graduated with her master’s degree in criminal justice from St. Ambrose University, Davenport.
The family still wants answers.
They have copies of reports, but nothing from Scott County officials that explains how they went from a suspicious-death-to-an-accident conclusion in Kim’s case, particularly after the family realized the full extent of Kim’s numerous injuries . . . injuries that defied any previous logic or explanations of Kim simply having fallen from a slow-moving vehicle.
The medical examiner, however, dutifully noted and fully described all three fatal injuries, even though they didn’t fit the history report (provided by county sheriff deputies) of the decedent’s actions in the immediate hours preceding her death. They didn’t know Jeff Daily wasn’t the victim’s boyfriend. They didn’t know about the parking lot, and in fact were led to believe Kim had jumped from a vehicle traveling along a road or highway at a normal or fast rate of speed.
That same night, a short distance away, a couple was involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving 60 mph. Both occupants survived.
A Personal Note from ICC Founder Jody Ewing
The eyewitness reports in this case are indeed some fascinating reads, especially when those who went in for a second or third interview gave a second or third version of what happened. (That’s not counting all the contradictory statements made from one individual to another.)
These documents were made available to Julie Loose, who kindly provided me with a copy of all of them. At first, since officials ruled Kim’s death an accident and Craig’s a suicide, I uploaded and posted links to each and every interrogation or interview. Shortly after that, Julie and I talked about it and agreed these official documents should NOT be made available to the general public. It’s very easy to recall details 30 years later when one originally told the truth, but given the widespread attention these two [likely connected] suspected homicides now receive, it would be reckless to provide those involved with copies of what they said back then.
To my knowledge, city or county (or state) officials do “not” provide the interviewee with a copy of the report once it’s typed up and put in the case file. The whole purpose of re-interviewing people (particularly eyewitnesses) is to see if their version of what happened shows inconsistencies.
I also have a copy of the crime scene photos in this case (including pre-autopsy and autopsy photos taken by the medical examiner), and it’s abundantly clear why the family never questioned what local law enforcement told them until 25 years after the homicide when they viewed these photos for the very first time. (Yes, I’m deliberately using the word homicide because her death was clearly no accident.)
In fact, after seeing the sheer extent of violence inflicted on her body, I couldn’t believe officials (perhaps not deliberately, who possibly didn’t see the photos or read the autopsy report), had kept the information from the victim’s family for 25 years and led them to (erroneously) believe Kim simply broke her neck in a “freak motor vehicle accident.”
Kim has marks on her left hand (she was left handed), which suggests she put up a fight for her life. The autopsy report confirms the injuries were far beyond the scope of falling from a slow moving vehicle, and the report clearly and accurately describes the extent of Kim’s fatal injuries. Under cause of death, they wrote the only thing they’d ever been told about the death (the result of a motor vehicle accident) but they still described in detail the extent of three separate but fatal injuries.
Quite frankly, any medical examiner taking time to view these photos and autopsy report would likely reach the “overkill” conclusion — nothing of the sort of injuries the victim would have sustained had she fallen from a slow moving vehicle. And, despite the false victim history given to the coroner’s office, the report serves as a shining example of documented “what law enforcement told them was cause and manner of death,” even as the truth bled through every page.
I applaud those who have finally come forward with information about what they witnessed. It’s possible that three living individuals could still face criminal charges in Kim’s death, though it’s almost certain — after reviewing Craig Petersen’s case — that only one person would be charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Law enforcement officials are extremely busy, and it’s not necessarily uncommon for those at the federal or state level (particularly if they were never called in to help investigate the crime) to believe the city or county’s “it-was-an-accident-Case-Closed” statement. End of conversation. This is to be expected because relationships from the county to state to federal level are based on trust and the assumption that one investigating agency is being truthful with a higher-ranking organization.
Photos and autopsy reports help tell these truths.
Photos and documented reports quietly concealed for 25 years makes a crime no less valuable than another homicide committed only yesterday.
The Loose family has indicated they are open to sharing case file documents and photos with those who wish to look further into Kim’s death, but ask that requests be made through Iowa Cold Cases.
Iowa Cold Cases is also asking for any information about events occurring the night Kim died, such as her presence at one or more local bars, her presence that evening at a trailer in the Walcott Mobile Home Park, her ride with Jeff Daily and/or other individual(s), and any other details you feel may be relevant or connected to her death.
If you have any details or knowledge you think might help solve this case, we urge you to contact Iowa DCI Special Agent in Charge Mike Motsinger at (515) 725-6010.
Kimberly R. Loose was born July 17, 1970, the daughter of Larry and Rose Loose. She resided in Blue Grass, Iowa, with her parents and eight siblings.
She died Friday, September 26, 1986, in Walcott, Iowa, from a broken neck and other serious injuries sustained at the Walcott Motor Home Park along Highway 6.
Kim was a junior at Davenport West High School, and would have graduated in 1988. She’d hoped to further her education and become a psychologist.
Memorial services were held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, 1986, at Runge Mortuary.
Visitation was from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, and 9 a.m. to service time on Wednesday.
Kim was laid to rest in Davenport’s Memorial Park Cemetery.
Survivors included her parents, Larry and Rose Loose of Blue Grass; sisters, Lorrie, Julie, Tammie and Terrie; and brothers, Larry III, Steven, Michael and Todd, all at home; and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Haskell, Milton, Iowa; and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stoudt, Davenport.
She was preceded in death by one brother, Larry Jr., who died as an infant.