Kimberly Ratliff

Kimberly Ratliff

Kimberly Marie Ratliff


Kimberly Marie Ratliff
22 YOA
Residence: 1806 Tostevin St., Council Bluffs
Body Moved To: 1414 West Broadway
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Pottawattamie County
Investigating Agency: Council Bluffs Police Department
Body Found: January 12, 1999
Est. DOD: January 9, 1999
Arrest Made: Oct. 16, 2020 — stepbrother Matt Kennedy charged, accused of first-degree murder
Verdict: On Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, a Pottawattamie County jury found Matt Kennedy not guilty in Kimberly Ratliff’s 1999 murder

Recent Updates

Jury hands down not guilty verdict in 1999 murder case

Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 —

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) – A Pottawattamie County jury has found Matt Kennedy not guilty of the 1999 murder of Kim Ratliff.

The week-long trial has been plagued by time. Ratliff was 22 years old when she was found murdered and put into her car 22 years ago.

The 52-year-old broke down in tears after hearing he had been cleared of first-degree murder. Kennedy was accused of killing his step-sister Kimberly Ratliff.

She was killed in 1999, her throat had been slashed. The prosecution tried to link small samples of Kennedy’s DNA, which was found on Kimberly’s clothing, and said he was the last known person to see her alive.

The case fell apart after the car her body was found in disappeared from the police tow lot several years ago.

Full story at

Man charged with multiple counts of child abuse

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020The Daily Nonpareil

A Council Bluffs man faces numerous child abuse charges after police say he physically attacked three children under his care.

Les Kennedy (Courtesy photo Pottawattamie County Jail)

Leslie Kennedy Sr., 73, faces two counts of child endangerment causing serious injury, one count of domestic abuse by strangulation and one count of false imprisonment. Court records show the alleged events happened between January 2017 and this month.

He was arrested Dec. 16 and is being held in Pottawattamie County Jail on a $20,000 bond.

On Dec. 8, an officer with the Council Bluffs Police Department received information that children were being abused at a home in the 1800 block of Tostevin Street, according to the arrest affidavit. Court records show one minor alleged abuse reported to school officials, to his or her father, and a church pastor that Kennedy recently choked another family member.

As a result of an investigation, three children were placed in protective custody on Dec. 10. One child interviewed at Children’s Square disclosed that after making a gingerbread house on a recent day, Kennedy allegedly became upset with two children for making a mess and proceeded to grab one by the neck and strangle the child against a table.

Court records show another adult in the house intervened to end the alleged incident.

During the course of the investigation, police reported that all three children claimed Kennedy choked them during the past three years. In addition, court records indicate that one child was allegedly duct-taped to a chair on at least one occasion as a form of punishment while having his or her mouth taped shut.

Full Story at The Nonpareil

Read Kimberly Ratliff’s case summary (below other updates) to understand why this arrest matters to so many. Note: Les Kennedy has not yet been charged in Kim’s death. 

UPDATE: Arrest made in 21-year-old murder case of Council Bluffs woman

Friday, Oct. 16, 2020The Daily Nonpareil

An arrest has been made in the 1999 murder of a Council Bluffs woman.

Matthew W. Kennedy
Courtesy Teton County (Montana) Sheriff’s Office

On Friday, Council Bluffs police detectives requested and were granted an arrest warrant for Matt W. Kennedy, accusing him of first-degree murder. Detectives allege that Kennedy was involved in the brutal murder of his stepsister, Kimberly M. Ratliff, the Council Bluffs Police Department said in a press release.

Matt Kennedy, 52, is a resident of Fairfield, Montana; he was living in Council Bluffs at the time of the murder.

Kennedy was taken into custody and is being held in the Teton County Jail, pending extradition to Iowa. The case remains an active investigation, police said.

Police also said no further information will be released regarding Kennedy’s arrest until he is back in Iowa.

Read more at The Daily Nonpareil

Case summary by Jody Ewing and Aaron Brilbeck
Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie CountyCouncil Bluffs in
Pottawattamie County

On Tuesday, January 12, 1999, Kimberly Ratliff, 22, was found in a car left in the parking lot of People’s Natural Gas at 1414 West Broadway in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She had been viciously mutilated and nearly decapitated.

A gas company employee clearing snow from the sidewalk spotted the 1988 Plymouth Sundance at about 10:40 a.m. and went to peer inside the vehicle, where he saw Ratliff sprawled across the front seat.

Ratliff, who worked at Airlite Plastics Co. in Omaha, Neb. — where her mother, Joyce Kennedy, and stepbrother Matt Kennedy also worked — allegedly was last seen alive when she got off work about 11:30 p.m. on Friday, January 8.

She lived at 1806 Tostevin St. in Council Bluffs with her mother and stepfather, Leslie “Les” Kennedy, Sr.

The 1806 Tostevin St. home in Council Bluffs where Kim Ratliff lived with her mother and stepfather, Joyce and Les Kennedy.
(Courtesy Google Streetview)

Police believe Ratliff was killed elsewhere because little blood was found inside her car despite multiple cuttings, and there also were indications someone else dressed Kim in different clothing — Kim’s own clothing — from what she’d been wearing when last seen alive. Authorities also believed the vehicle had been parked in the lot over the weekend.

More importantly, officials quickly concluded Ratliff’s murder was not a random crime. The brutal killing was personal in nature, and it wasn’t long before they had a prime suspect. Obstacles stood in the way of making an arrest, however, and they were big hurdles; the majority of evidence would have been left at the crime scene where the perpetrator killed Kim, and that crime scene was not the People’s Natural Gas parking lot.

A Council Bluffs police officer removes the crime scene tape while a flatbed truck tows away a car in which a woman was found dead on Jan. 12, 1999, behind 1414 W. Broadway. (Omaha World-Herald file photo)

Turning her life around

Kimberly’s parents split up when Kimberly was five years old. Joyce moved in with Les Kennedy, who lived just across the street, when Kimberly was six.

In January 2011, Les and Joyce spoke with WHO-TV Channel 13 reporter Aaron Brilbeck about Kimberly’s life and the upcoming 12th anniversary of her unsolved murder.

Kimberly RatliffCourtesy photo WHO-TV Channel 13
Despite some struggles, Kimberly became the first in her family to graduate high school.

Kimberly had been trying to find her path in life, the couple told Brilbeck, after working hard to keep up her grades so she could graduate. It hadn’t been easy for her.

“She goes, ‘I did it. I’m the only one in the family,'” Joyce Kennedy said.

The couple alleged Ratliff then fell in with the wrong crowd and began hanging out with drug users and dealers. Les Kennedy said the last night they’d seen their daughter, he’d confronted her about what she was doing to her life.

“You might say it was like an intervention,” Les Kennedy said. “And when she left the house she kissed me and said, ‘Dad, I’ll be home tonight.'”

Kimberly’s biological father, Jacque “Jack” Ratliff, and her brother, Matthew Ratliff, dispute what they call Les Kennedy’s “phony tears,” and told Iowa Cold Cases in a series of communications that Les Kennedy is a dangerous man not to be trusted.

“Don’t Believe Him”

In an email dated Oct. 30, 2012, Jacque “Jack” Ratliff — who said he’d remained close to his daughter following his break-up with Joyce — told Iowa Cold Cases he found out about his daughter’s murder while at work at the Packaging of America box plant in Omaha, a nationwide company specializing in constructing corrugated boxes.

Jack Ratliff left work and headed to Council Bluffs to talk to officials and find out more about what happened to his daughter.

“When I got there, only the detective was there and I didn’t get to see my daughter,” Ratliff said.

Kim Ratliff's stepfather and mother, Les and Joyce KennedyCourtesy photo WHO-TV Channel 13
Ratliff’s mother and stepfather, Joyce and Les Kennedy, said they feel if those with knowledge about their daughter’s death knew how much she suffered, they might come forward with information.

Investigators had first gone to the Kennedy home, and Les Kennedy already had made the positive identification.

Jack Ratliff said he’d known Les Kennedy prior to the time when Kennedy got together with Joyce, and Ratliff had never trusted him. Les, he said, was possessive with Joyce and also with Kimberly. And, Ratliff said, his daughter had confided in him long before her murder that Les “tried to get into her pants.”

Other individuals, who wished to remain anonymous in this case summary (names on file and available to law enforcement) contacted Iowa Cold Cases independently to express concerns about Les Kennedy’s possessiveness with Kimberly as well as the alleged sexual molestation at the hands of her stepfather.

Also alleged was that Kimberly’s earlier drug abuse was brought about by Kennedy himself, who allegedly dealt in drugs and introduced them to Kimberly and others in order to gain control over them. Some believed Kimberly’s attempt to break free from the drug use and her stepfather’s dominance may ultimately have led to her death.

Kimberly Ratliff (Courtesy Omaha World-Herald file photo)

Kimberly’s older brother Matthew Ratliff told Iowa Cold Cases he also had been abused numerous times by Kennedy, and was more forthcoming with what he believed happened to his sister.

“Leslie Kennedy, our stepdad, had his hands in her murder,” Matthew Ratliff wrote in an Oct. 29, 2012 comment left on a Jan. 12, 2010, ICC blog post. “It was because she was going to tell the police about him dealing drugs. He is a very dangerous man.”

Les Kennedy insists he never saw Kimberly after she left the house to go out that night.

Mr. Kennedy spoke freely with the media in the days, months, and years following Kimberly’s murder, and has given conflicting accounts of his whereabouts the night his stepdaughter disappeared.

Mr. Kennedy also had very specific details about the way in which Kimberly was killed — details police had never made public. Kennedy routinely told the media his [step]daughter had been “slaughtered,” describing the manner of her death as “nasty” and even referring to how much blood would have been present at the crime scene.

“One of the most violent attacks” ever seen

Police said Kimberly’s murder was one of the most violent attacks they’d ever seen. She had been stabbed and cut repeatedly and her head almost severed. Her frozen body made it difficult for investigators to determine exactly when she died, though it’s believed she was killed some time in the early morning hours on Saturday, January 9 — her mother Joyce’s 48th birthday.

When Council Bluffs police arrived at the Kennedy home to break the news to Les and Joyce Kennedy, they stepped inside the home and immediately noticed the 22-year-old’s picture.

“One of them looked up at the wall and looked at his partner and he said, ‘That’s her,'” Les Kennedy told WHO-TV in the January 2011 interview with Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck.

Kimberly Ratliff, right

Kimberly Ratliff, right

Les Kennedy said he found it painful revisiting the details of Kimberly’s death but eagerly offered up details of how she was “slaughtered.”

In one surprising statement, Kennedy said he believed if those who knew something about Kim’s death and “understood how much she suffered before she died,” that they might come forward with information.

Given the numerous slashings Kimberly sustained (many singularly fatal), Kennedy didn’t explain just how he knew the extent of trauma Kim endured before her death.

In ongoing media interviews, Mr. Kennedy brazenly divulged further details about Kim’s slaying, reveling with precision all the visceral elements of her murder.

“Nobody has any idea how nasty our daughter died,” he told Brilbeck.

In 1999, Kennedy had placed a signboard outside his tire repair shop announcing a $10,000 reward for “solid evidence” in Kimberly’s death. He also told the press that more than $100,000 was available in a fund set up in her memory if the killer was found and convicted.

“Don’t believe him. He didn’t have any money…the liar,” Kimberly’s father, Jacque Ratliff told Iowa Cold Cases founder Jody Ewing.

Kennedy’s sign is now gone, but he said the family hasn’t given up hope that someday, somehow, justice will be served.

WHO-TV’s Aaron Brilbeck reports on Kimberly Ratliff’s unsolved murder. Air Date: Jan. 6, 2011

“Out of leads”

Police told WHO-TV they have run out of leads, made all the more difficult by Ratliff’s body having been moved and later placed in her vehicle in the Council Bluffs parking lot.

“There wasn’t enough blood located in the car,” Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Chad Meyers told Brilbeck. “The crime scene where this probably happened — there would be an obviously large amount of blood there.”

Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Chad Meyers

Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Chad Meyers

More than one tipster later revealed to ICC the precise location of Kimberly’s slaying — information which ICC passed along to Council Bluffs detectives.

Officials remain convinced Kimberly Ratliff’s murder was not a random crime. They say the case was investigated but they haven’t gathered enough evidence to charge anyone with the crime.

“I carry her in my heart every day — think about her every day,” Kimberly’s mother told Brilbeck in one of the few opportunities she’d subtly been given by her husband to speak.

“Please help me get them” — A Final Twist

In addition to wanting closure in his daughter’s unsolved murder, Jacque Ratliff faced yet another showdown with his ex-wife and Les Kennedy; Kennedy, who for years allegedly had sexually abused his own daughter and sons as well as his stepchildren, was fighting for custody for all of his grandchildren.

Jacque Ratliff told ICC that Kennedy flat out lied in court about bruising on the ear of Matthew Ratliff’s son — an injury that took place when the boy was under Les and Joyce’s care — and Kennedy told the judge his stepson had abused the child.

Jacque Ratliff told ICC’s Ewing in late 2012 that when he contacted the Kennedys and told them he planned to fight for custody of his grandchildren, Les told him to back off or “he’d have him taken care of.”

“Like you did with my daughter?” Ratliff said he responded, at which point he said Kennedy hung up on him.

I need your help, please,” Ratliff wrote in a Jan. 3, 2016 email to Iowa Cold Cases. “I want them with me and my wife.”

Ratliff said if his ex and Kennedy succeeded in adopting the young children, he feared he’d never get to see them or know them, and also feared that they, like Kimberly, would be introduced to drugs at a very early age to facilitate their inevitable sexual molestation.

“Please help me get them out of that house,” Ratliff pleaded. “Please help me get them.”

Ewing spoke on the phone that same day with both Jacque and Matthew Ratliff, at which time the two Rapid City, SD residents stated a willingness to speak to the media about what really went on inside the Kennedy home. The public deserved to know the truth, they said. 

Another son, Jeff Ratliff — brother to Kimberly and Matthew Ratliff — would be unable to testify due to PTSD caused by the psychical and psychological abuse he’d endured at the hands of Les Kennedy, Jacque Ratliff told Ewing.  

Les and Joyce succeeded in gaining custody of Matthew Ratliff’s children, though failed in subsequent attempts to also gain custody of their other grandchildren under similar false pretenses.

Iowa Cold Cases has on file communications from friends and neighbors stating that Kimberly suffered years of abuse at the hands of her controlling stepfather.

PLEASE NOTE: While we at Iowa Cold Cases made it clear to Jacque Ratliff that we are not a law enforcement agency, we felt including the above information in this summary may prompt someone — perhaps a close friend of Kimberly’s or another family member — to reach out to Council Bluffs Police Department investigators and share what they know. Regardless of how insignificant the detail may seem, it might provide the one missing puzzle piece needed to solve Kimberly’s murder, ensure innocent children are protected, and/or even clear an innocent suspect.

On May 4, 2016, Iowa Cold Cases received a lengthy packet of information on Kimberly’s case — documents and newspaper articles dated from the day Kim was found dead until mid-2016 — and ICC found numerous inconsistencies in the information Les Kennedy provided to both investigators and the media over the years. From the beginning, law enforcement officials outright disputed/discredited many of the assertions Les Kennedy made, but felt they still lacked enough evidence to arrest and charge Kennedy in Kimberly’s slaying.

On July 13, 2016, ICC’s Jody Ewing spoke with Council Bluffs police Detective Haley Bloom, who stated that other investigators had already reviewed the case and that there was nothing they could do at that particular time. Ewing inquired about the tissue sample and boards recovered from a hotel room that officials recently submitted to the state crime lab in Ankeny for DNA testing, and Bloom said she could not confirm whether or not officials had received the reports from the crime lab or, if they had, that she could not comment on DNA results due to the case’s status as an ongoing investigation.

Ewing stayed in touch with Jacque Ratliff until his death on Jan. 2, 2020.


On Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, Council Bluffs police detectives requested and were granted an arrest warrant for Matt W. Kennedy, accusing him of first-degree murder. Detectives allege that Kennedy was involved in the brutal murder of his stepsister, Kimberly M. Ratliff, the Council Bluffs Police Department said in a press release.

Matt Kennedy, 52, resided in Fairfield, Montana; he was living in Council Bluffs at the time of his stepsister’s murder.

Matt Kennedy’s jury trial was scheduled to begin Feb. 2, 2021. Full Story at the Daily Nonpareil.

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, Leslie Kennedy Sr., 73, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child abuse, including two counts of child endangerment causing serious injury, one count of domestic abuse by strangulation and one count of false imprisonment. According to the Daily Nonpareil, court records show the events happened between January 2017 and December 2020.

Les Kennedy was scheduled for a Jan. 15 (2021) hearing in Pottawattamie County District Court. He has not yet been charged in his stepdaughter’s murder. Full Story at the Daily Nonpareil.

Two days before the scheduled hearing, however, Leslie Kennedy Sr., 73, was back in jail on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, after a warrant containing two new felony charges was issued. Kennedy now faced two counts of child endangerment causing bodily injury, in addition to initially filed charges of domestic abuse by strangulation, two counts of child endangerment causing serious injury and a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment, according to the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s office.

Jury selection in Matt Kennedy’s murder trial began Wednesday, August 11, 2021, in Pottawattamie County District Court, and the trial began August 12. On August 20, 2021, the jury found Matt Kennedy not guilty. The 52-year-old broke down in tears after hearing the verdict, WOWT reported.

Pottawattamie County attorney Matt Wilber said the case fell apart after the car Kimberly’s body was found in disappeared from the police tow lot several years earlier.

“I told the jury from the beginning that they were going to be upset at the work that was done in this case in the 90s, they may even be furious,” Wilber said after the verdict. “Frankly, I’m sort of furious. But this department today in 2021, especially Detective Ron Branigan, I mean overturned every stone, did everything we could. This case wasn’t going to get any better. This was sort of our one shot to try to get some closure for this case.” Read full story at WOWT.

About Kimberly Ratliff

Kimberly was born Sept. 26, 1976, to Jacque and Joyce Ratliff. The couple divorced when Kimberly was five, and Joyce moved in with and married Leslie Kennedy Sr., where they lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

After graduating high school, Kim accepted a position at Airlite Plastics Co. in Omaha, where she still worked at the time of her death.

Kimberly allegedly left work at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, 1999, and is believed to have been slain in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jan. 9, 1999, on her mother’s 48th birthday.

In addition to her father and mother, Kimberly’s survivors included two brothers, Matthew and Jeff Ratliff, nieces and nephews, her stepfather, Leslie “Les” Kennedy Sr., and Kennedy’s daughter and two sons.


*NOTE: Kimberly’s biological father, Jacque “Jack” Ratliff, of Rapid City, SD, passed away on Jan. 2, 2020, at age 72 without seeing justice served in his daughter’s murder. He’d worked tirelessly for two decades to see an arrest made in her case, and fought just as fiercely to protect his grandchildren from Les and Joyce Kennedy and the “house of horrors” at 1806 Tostevin St. in Council Bluffs where Les and Joyce lived. Iowa Cold Cases offers our deepest and sincerest condolences to Jack’s wife, Paula, and sons Matthew and Jeff Ratliff, all of South Dakota.


Information Needed

Anyone with additional information about Kimberly Ratliff’s murder is asked to contact Det. Doug Mann at the Council Bluffs Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (712) 326-2507 or call Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-7876.


Copyright © 2015 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

96 Responses to Kimberly Ratliff

  1. T.w says:

    The night she was last seen, I was in the back seat of my dad’s car waiting for my step mom to get off of work at airlight. It sticks in my head very vividly, she usually would walk out the building talking to her step brother or would often wait right out side the doors until he would come out before walking to the parking lot. However she came out and didn’t even look back and quickly shuffled out to her car she was alone when she drove past. Normally a wave to me and my dad but not even a glance that night. Moments after she left her brother rushed out and looked around then came up to the driver’s side window and asked if we seen her come out yet. My dad said yeah why what’s going on. And my dad even tried to start a conversation but Matt walked away looking all around the parking lot even walked towards the building several times but not back inside. Before he jogged to a vehicle that pulled up along the side of the building. There were two men in that vehicle. Not positive if they worked there since they had been parked a little while before everyone else was dismissed. Although my dad was sure that one man was waiting in the car prior to dismissal and the second man got into the car and it pulled off then returned for Matt all within 10-15 minutes of the second guy exiting the building however Kim was already gone. She was the fourth person to exit that night. But no officers seem to have questioned my dad. I was a minor at the time. But it was a strange behavior from Kim and Matt.

  2. cadenW says:

    Hey Mathew Ratliff I see you are decently active here and I was wondering if you and your sister are in any way related to the Jim Ratliff who was recently sent to prison for human trafficking and soliciting sex from minors?

  3. Angelina says:

    I pray my sister gets the justice she so desperately deserves. I hope the person or persons that were involved in taking her from us pay the ultimate price. There is a special place in hell for people like that! I miss her so much. Sh was an amazing person with the most peaceful mind anyone could possess. She helped anyone when they needed it and never asked for anything in return. Such a beautiful soul and I know she’s watching over me everyday.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Kim was the only person who showed me kindness when i was being bullied at LC and we became school buddies. I never forgot that.

  4. matthewratliff65 says:

    they are letting them off agian and the state still wont let me talk to my kids i have had about enough of the shit i need help

  5. Phil W says:

    I heard many stories about Matt Kennedy and the family growing up. So sad. Happy
    to hear justice will be served.

    • Phil W's ex wife says:

      uh huh, I’ve heard many stories about you too Phil W. Your family really isn’t too fond of you buddy.

  6. This comment is fake says:


  7. CowLover69;) says:

    Trivia Comment: How many cows does everyone think is in Montana? I guaranty you are wrong!

  8. Harry Potter Fan 980 says:

    Plot twist: Volemort did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE WILL RISE SOON!!!!!!! BEWARE OF MORE DEATH, MORE WILL COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. JdF says:

    Could someone please clarify what specific years Les worked in law enforcement?

  10. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    All these years later Les finally gets arrested for stuff that he allegedly has been doing for years, according to comments on this forum. The other question, is the involvement of Kim’s mother Joyce. She, appears to have allowed her husband Les, to do a lot of bad stuff over the years.

    I think that she has some explaining to do. She moved in and married this man. She appears to be okay, with his actions and abuse. I wonder if covered up other abuse by her living husband.

    • Stay Strong! Seek Justice! says:

      Most excellent!

      There’s a special place in hell for child abusers. Throw in the mothers of Ricky Morehouse & Keara Coshow into the deep recesses of hell as well.

  11. Jim says:

    Kimberly’s father, Jacque T Ratliff died on Jan 2, 2020. I’m surprised this info was missed here.

    Perhaps that’s why they arrested his son Matthew today for her murder. These two seemed to be the ones going after Les most vehemently.

    • matthew c ratliff says:

      they did not arrest me they arrested less’s son matt dont talk what you dont know

      • Jody Ewing says:

        Matthew, I was unaware that your father passed earlier this year, and am so very sorry for your loss. Your dad was so passionate about seeing Kim’s case solved, and it breaks my heart that he’s not here to see what is happening. Please give my best to Paula and your brother Jeff, and I wish all of you strength as more of this story unfolds. Take care, and God bless. Jody at ICC

        • matthew c ratliff says:

          They extradited Matt back To Council Bluffs And booked him onto jail on a $1.000,000 bond i am glad that they had the leads to get him

    • Cabe lan says:

      Jim you fuckin idiot try a reading comprehension course

      • jim says:

        You are absolutely correct, Cabe. I got the names confused and for that I am offering my humblest apologies to Matt. I often get stories confused when many pronouns are used. Compound that with the fact there are two “Matt’s ” involved and you can imagine how my error rate can increase.

        As to Matt’s other message involving “Jim Ratliff’s” arrest, I posted that to see if there was any relation (which there was not) and because a “Jim Ratcliffe” posted comments angering Matt. Jacque in French is our English pronunciation of Jim and I couldn’t understand why Matt’s father would have been arrested??? I promise to be more vigilant with my future commenting.

        Finally THANK YOU to Jody for this site and which I believe were/are instrumental in forcing this case to its hopeful conclusion. Well done.

        • Jody Ewing says:

          Jim, thank you for your thoughtful comment, and I also must apologize for some of the confusion here. This case summary has grown over the years (though is still a very condensed version), and now, with the arrests of Matt Kennedy and then Les Kennedy (and those who may have been unaware of the “two Matts”), I can certainly understand how the pronouns could get confusing.

          I’ve gone back through and tried to clarify any misconceptions by adding more first names. Still, even with an arrest in this case (it was one of the top two cases on this website that I felt could have been solved/prosecuted years ago) I don’t yet feel any sense of relief or closure. There are just so many victims tied to this one case, including both Matts. (Yes, the accused can also be a victim.) So many lives ruined. Forever altered. Lives that continued to be scarred after Kim’s murder.

          “Jake” asked in April 2019 why we couldn’t just post the “who, what, when, where and why?” on here, but we cannot do that even when we know the answers. It compromises cases, and there’s always the possibility that the info we received simply isn’t true. Jake was correct, however, when he said maybe we (ICC) had the resources to get in touch with someone who could help solve this case. I may have passed along info to investigators, but will never take credit for solving this (or any other) case b/c LE officials almost always know who is responsible and they’re the ones knocking on doors and questioning suspects and submitting the DNA and spending years and/or decades piecing together every puzzle piece. And, what they always say remains timelessly true: “Knowing who did it and being able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law are two very different things.”

          They only get that one shot at charging a suspect, so, despite “everybody knowing who did it,” they are wise to wait until they have solid proof. Until that happens, I just try to ensure the victim’s story is told and kept alive so they’re not forgotten, and to remind the public it’s never too late to share any kind of knowledge about the case with the investigating agency. There’s often more — as the late radio pioneer Paul Harvey used to say — to “the rest of the story.”

          Thanks again for your kind words. Jody @ ICC

    • matthew c ratliff says:

      is this the same Jim from before that keeps trying to slander me from down below in the comments if so you need to get questioned for spreading lies

    • Matthew Charles Ratliff says:

      Im sorry for getting angry with you but i took it hard my sister and my kids mean everything to me this has bean realy hard right now im trying to get my kids back i lost my wife to cancer in September of 2020 things have bean rough
      im in this fight alone anymore but all i can do is keep my promise and just keep fighting for my kids and the truth

      • Jody Ewing says:

        Matthew, you had every right to be angry then and be angry now. The people you have loved most were unlawfully taken away from you, and I’m sure you know how much time I spent talking to your dad on the phone about Kim’s case in particular. He sent me scanned colored photos of your children (your daughter has such a beautiful smile!), and he died still fighting to get your kids back to you. Both you and I know there’s so much that’s not been addressed on this (Kim’s) page, but we know how and why and where Les did what he did, and we know the names of those who enabled him.

        Your father sent me so many newspaper articles about Kim’s murder (the ones from the early days and years, which I’ve not yet posted here on her page), and I’ve lost track how many times Les Kennedy contradicted himself as he coveted more and more media attention all whilst spilling out and spinning more and more lies. Every time I read the words of what he told Aaron Brilbeck, about this alleged “intervention” with Kim, I want to vomit. We know what he did in the No Frills parking lot time and again (before Kim’s death), and know what went on inside that Tostevin St. House of Hell.

        I’m so very sorry for your recent losses as well…your father in January (Jacques “Jack” Ratliff for those reading this comment), and then your wife in September. And, inexcusably, your children taken against your will (through lies) by a rapist/madman who fed drugs to his children & stepchildren the same way he fed lies/twisted information to lawyers and judges. I still can’t grasp how he got away with it for sooooo long.

        Keep fighting the good fight. It is yours to win. (And I think you know I applauded Jim for having the courage to step up and apologize to you because he’d been confused about the names.) Good men (people in general) apologize when they’re wrong.

        As for “actions,” I doubt any of us will ever see the day when L.K. (or your bio mother, for that matter) apologizes for the monstrous atrocities committed upon untold children inside that Council Bluffs home.

        • Gail A Tierney says:

          I would stake my life on it that her sto dad and other step brother had something to do with it I believe her mom knows something and isn’t saying anything kimwas my friend when we was kids and I remember how scared she was of her step dad and step brothers ..they need to dig deeper and they will find out the truth rest in pest my dear friend Matt and Jeff hope u guys get justice for kimmy

    • Lisa says:

      Hopefully the family will be able to finally get closure and this evil monster will get what’s coming to him!

    • MikeD says:

      I wonder what took him to Fairfield, Montana. That’s one of those really small cities in the middle of nowhere in Montana where you’re really away from it all. Less than an hour drive from where Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber was living. A good place to go if you were running from something.

      • tobin caldwell says:

        Actually Fairfield Mt, is in a somewhat populated area of Montana. Which would happen to be my hometown.PoP 700. An on top of it. Matt kennedy had a job in a different dept. than me, where I worked in Great Falls. An because of it, other co-workers and I conversed with him. An also had one co-worker tell me about what Matt had told him in previous conversations. One of which, where matt told the co-worker, that his father (les) had shot him. Cause he hadn’t done a chore fast enough. An also, showed the scar from the wound that was inflicted. However, matt was rather odd, and behaved weirdly at times. Obviously, he wasn’t right. an also was dyslexic. or very educated. An not too mention. He resembled the aqua teen hunger force character, Happy Time Harry. So we refered to him as happy time. Also, after I left that job, I ran across-d him in public in Fairfield. An I’d say something to him. An he’d just give me this wide open eyed, and open mouth look and not say anything. Will be interesting to see how his trial goes

        • Gary Summers says:

          @tobin caldwell, Hey man, I’ve been looking for you all over! You told me you’d call me after leaving the gay stripe club once we did “stuff”. We had a really good time and were planning on having a round 2, but I lost your number at some point. Please call me! I don’t care if you have a wife or a girlfriend, I think I might be in love with you man. XOXO Love, Gary

          • tobin caldwell says:

            Think you got me confused with les kennedy. But good luck with that, and the gay stripe club.

            • Gary Summers says:

              Awww, it’s so flattering that you think I own a stripe club and remember the time we had together. But nope, it’s you I’m talking about. I could never forget your name, especially since it’s tattooed over my heart.

      • Liam Debolt says:

        Mike, Thank you so much for commenting, I think the police finally have a lead on my stolen car. Based on the name on your drivers license you dropped in my driveway before boosting my car and running out of town, the police are pretty sure it’s you on here. It’s only a matter of time Mike you D.

      • jean barta says:

        Mike we were told that his wife had bad allergies and Montana would be a better place for her. My husband was told another story.

    • Stay Strong! says:

      Excellent news! Always great to see justice done.

      As the article alludes to, it must have been advances in DNA that inextricably linked Kennedy to the murder scene.

      It will be interesting to follow the trial & conviction (presumably) from here on out.

  12. Jim F. says:

    April 2, 2020. A local restaurant owner was arrested on sex abuse charges Wednesday.

    Hershal James “Jim” Ratliff, 69, of Council Bluffs, is charged with four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, one count of lascivious acts with a minor, one count of soliciting commercial sexual activity and one count indecent exposure, according to a press release from the Council Bluffs Police Department.

    Ratliff is the owner of Jimmy’s All-American Malt Shop & Grill in Council Bluffs.

  13. Phil says:

    Les Kennedy is GUILTY as sin. He is also a retired shriff. go figure. I am really sorry to the family and friends of Kimberly. He will pay don’t You worry in this life or the afterlife.

  14. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Charlie, the local police would have a problem if another agency was bought into review their investigation. But, if they have nothing to hide, it would support what they have done so far in their investigation. The outside agency might recommend further action.

  15. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    This case should be reviewed by another agency. If Les Kennedy was in law enforcement and still has friends in that field, then it appears that there is a conflict of interest. So, it would make sense to have an ouside set of eyes look at it.

    • Charlie Studebaker says:

      Great answerPatrick. Why hasnt DCI or whatever authoritative Superced over any City Police Force or County Sheriffs office stepped in and taken over?? In 19yrs?? Im pretty sure FBI supervises over each County Sherriffs office in iowa. Idk for sure but i bet Jody Ewing might know oe be able to find out??

      • Jody Ewing says:

        Charlie, the DCI can’t just step in and take over a case from its local jurisdiction. They MUST be called in and asked to assist in the investigation. Specific circumstances must be met in order for the FBI to intervene and take the lead on the case, and it also depends on the resources they have available to them at any given time. Jody @ ICC

        • Robert Sellers says:

          Please allow me to say, there was nothing covered up by the Council Bluffs Police Department. I was a detective at the time and worked on this case, we all thought Les was in on it, but believing and proving are two different things. Les did everything in his power to sidetrack the investigation, like not allowing his wife to talk to us at all. Believe me when I tell you, Les Kennedy was not a friend of anyone on the department, we just lacked the DNA technology to solve this murder until recently. Since the suspect was Les’ son Matt, his attempts to cover up the crime and thwart the investigation are understandable, but Les could still be a coconspirator. In my mind, I believe he was in on this murder, but there is no proof as of now.

  16. Amy says:

    The location the samples were taken from Said they came and removed carpet, parts of the wall and floor. Yes Les that’s right. Blood soaked through the carpet into the floor and I hope you rot in hell.

  17. Amy says:

    It’s not all lies. They need to be checking with the schools to see what info they have about these kids welfare. They will find it’s all TRUE.

    • Jim Ratcliffe says:

      the kids are doing real good and are happy

      • Matthew Ratliff says:

        Jim you are full of shit and you have not known them that long so guit lying OR SHOULD I CALL YOU

        • trucksnroses says:

          My ex wife and i use to pick up Kim in malmore she told us how afraid of les she was. Les Kennedy is An evil man I believe him and his creepy son killed Kim. Les was pointing the finger at everybody. I believe he did that to keep attention off himself. I believe Kim’s mom knows Les did this and she is protecting Les just like she did when Les was molesting the kids. I hope Les rots in hell.

      • Amy says:

        LIES! I’ve seen the reports Les. I don’t know how long the paper trail has to be to get those kids out of there but I hope it’s soon. They will never talk because they are terrified of you but something don’t need words. Your day is coming Les. It’s coming.

  18. Jim Ratcliffe says:

    I know the Kennedy family for 27 years and what there saying about them is bull shit

    • Miss-Marple says:

      I truly believe this is Les. The grammar and punctuation are deplorable. He is defending a man and woman ( Les and Joyce ) who have already killed one child and are now being charged with abusing a second generation of children. As for the screen name, he pours salt on the wound by misspelling their last name and using a common moniker for the now deceased Jacque as a first name. This man has terrorized a family for two generations, his wife is no better for allowing this to happen to her children and now her grandchildren while disguising herself as a godly woman.

  19. From what I’ve been told, the stepfather is a retired deputy sheriff and still has friends in law enforcement. There are many Council Bluffs PD detectives who’ve worked this case, but the case is complicated because the body was moved. An update: the CBPD have submitted/resubmitted tissue samples for forensic DNA testing, and also submitted new evidence for testing based on the suspected crime scene where Kimberly was killed. They *are* keeping constant tabs on this case. Kimberly and her brothers were all [allegedly] molested in the Kennedy home, and Kennedy’s own two sons have been sentenced to prison on child pedophile charges. One of Kennedy’s sons was recently released and the other is still behind bars. Matthew Ratliff is willing to provide a sworn statement to officials as to how Kennedy (allegedly) started drugging the children at early ages in order to better manipulate and molest them. Kennedy paints all his kids/stepkids as having drug problems and wants to emerge as the one who conducted the “interventions,” even though he is allegedly the one who introduced them into drugs and kept them hooked for his own nefarious reasons. What worries me most is that Matthew’s two young children were taken away from him and adopted by Les and Joyce based on falsehoods and lies. With five children (two biological and three stepchildren) already molested, what are the chances his young granddaughter and grandson will be the exception? Family services needs to get involved in this case even if police don’t yet have enough evidence to charge the suspect.

    • Rconsetta says:

      This is absolutely horrible!!! Why isn’t the authorities taking these kids away from Les Kennedy and throwing his old crusty nasty evil ass in prison for these nasty CRIMEs?! God with sentence him at his death, believe that!!! He’s going straight to HELL!

      • Jim Ratcliffe says:

        because they found out what there saying is all lies

        • Matthew Ratliff says:

          It is not lies i am one of those kids and less you need to learn to spell my last name

          • Elizabeth says:

            Kim was a awesome person and I still feel so emotional over this. The world lost a beautiful soul when she was murdered. I went to school with Kim when I transferred to LC. I didn’t know anybody and I felt so uncomfortable and lost. Kim was my only friend at school and that ment the world to me. I would not have made it through without her. I remember Kim as the funny kind hearted person who took me under her wing and I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain you go through. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    • Council Bluffs Native says:

      Any update on the samples being tested? I cannot find any story online about it. Thanks.

      • SHELLI HEISS says:

        yes…what ever happened to the testing of evidence found at the hotel back in 2016? is there anything noted about this?

    • Jim says:

      20 years ago today. SHARED on FaceBook

    • Chris says:

      Why were Matt’s kids taken away from him?

      • Matthew Ratliff says:

        they claimed that i abused them and that never happened even with all the witnesses i had i was called a liar and a druggie i dont do drugs they wont even let me see them

        • Jody Ewing says:

          Matthew is absolutely correct. Les had “pull” in the community b/c of his former involvement with law enforcement and he made up lies to take away Matthew’s children. (After all, all the other kids had “aged out.”) ICC has extensive documentation on this case as well as statements made by neighbors, relatives, and Kim’s classmates. Les’s first stepdaughter (whom he also allegedly molested) changed her name and refuses to speak about what he did to her. Les’s own children and stepchildren have written to me with horror stories.

          This is one of the top ICC cases where evidence is metaphorically spilling out of boxes. The CBPD knows who did it, and they know Joyce knows. Les already placed himself (and Joyce) at the scene of the crime in a newspaper article b/c he simply couldn’t help but push the envelope into investigators’ faces. There were *more* than a few “good men” in the dept. who did their utmost to bring about charges in this case, and I don’t know who shut them down, but they’re to be commended for giving it everything they had.

          Joyce knew, but refused to testify against her husband, which is her right under the law. I wonder which one of them picked out the clothes to redress Kim after this most heinous act.

          Joyce has threatened me more than once insofar as ordering me to remove content from Kim’s case summary page (which I have not done), and the detectives who’ve worked the case over the years have respected my journalistic integrity; as horrific as this case reads, there’s so much more I judiciously chose to *not* include lest it compromise the investigation. Of all PDs across the state, I can say without prejudice that the CBPD investigators rank right up there with the finest I’ve ever seen.

          • Nettie net says:

            So i just stumbled upon this site and skimming all these comments. Who do i tell what. I know. From Personal experience.its kinda crazy. I grew up witba twisted mom like joyce and wickedexsherriff stepdad who murdered his own daughter by proxy. Our stories are eerily similar. Well tha was years ago. But i did hVe a run in with thisles character. Even rented a trailer from him. Thats all ill say publicly. But i may or may not have info based on what les told me. One thing is for sure that whole family is whack. But he is the one they want. He knows it rhey know it and one other. The accomplis and they too need to be charged. Anyway.
            God Bless

            • matthew c ratliff says:

              you can contact me they are letting him off againi could realy use any help i can get i am Kimberly’s brother and father of the two kids Kimberly and robert they used the courts to lie about me and take them

  20. I so agree with you. This is real sad. And sick.

  21. Their are cruel people out there. And I pray for justice for this young lady. From what I’m getting from reading this the step dad is involved. And should be in jail.

  22. Dear Heavenly Father,
    I pray Lord that you deliver this family and lay this case to rest. You are such a great and powerful and merciful God who knows all, please Lord deliver justice. In Jesus name. Amen

  23. Diana Wilson says:

    I just don’t understand how people can do this.

  24. Yes. The step father is so obviously involved. Why wasn’t anything done?

  25. Step dad should be in jail.

  26. BENTLEY says:


  27. matthew says:

    pls if anybody has info pls email me

  28. Me says:

    If some of you know who did this, why don’t you just put the names out there? It’s not fear because you’ve already told everyone you know. Please just spit your theory out there

  29. Chris says:

    This case will never be solved as no one will come forward. Considering the nature of the murder and the reason for it, it will go unsolved.

  30. josh says:

    He lived in malmore achres true wack job igraduated with her lived down there that guy had vameras putside his moble home it was said he was a dealer

  31. Shared! Went to school with Kim. So sad!

  32. jacque t ratliff says:

    Jody, I’m Kimberly’s father. I will not rest till he’s found. If the law can’t do it, I will. I call it a father’s revenge.

    I was at work when I found out. I have my ideas on who murdered her. In your video there was some things that weren’t said, and I may be able to do that. If you want to talk to me I’ll be willing to answer most of your questions. e-mail me

    • SHELLI HEISS says:


      • says:

        hi Shelli this is Matthew Ratliff Kimberly’s brother can you contact me with the information that you have I have a P.I. tracking down leads and we have bean at a dead end pls contact me at

        • SHELLI says:


          • matthew says:

            I am receiving them and I thank you for all your help

            • Charlie Studebaker says:

              What drug/drugs is Les Kennedy dealing and getting his own children and step-children hooked on in order to continue molesting them? I’m just thinking it might be the way into (insight from different angle; maybe not as well covered by pedophile les kennedy) cracking this pukes defense. bubble that’s kept him from getting caught for this long. The police and justice system most definitely want to believe thaht one of there own is not involved any crime, esp. murder, molestation, or drug trafficking involving his own children and step-children! And have been known to minimize, justify, or deny such things in past just as all of us have to admit trying to do at one time or another probably for a friend or family member. He was a cop and may have been a good cop. But something changed for whatever reason and he has become a despicable pos that needs to be stopped and punished for what he has done to his kids n step-kids & who knows how many others including possibly currently his grandchildren! PLEASE ANYONE THAT KNOWS OR KNEW SOMEONE OR SOMETHING, NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR UNIMPORTANT YOU THINK IT MAY BE, PLEASE COMMENT ON HERE OR TO AUTHORITIES(even anonymously if need be to at least open door to be investigated properly) SO THIS MONSTER IS STOPPED FROM CONTINUING TO VICTIMIZE & RUIN ANYMORE CHILDREN’S LIVES!!!

              • Jody Ewing says:

                Charlie, the primary drug [I must include the “allegedly” here] was heroin. He taught his kids and step-kids how to use it and said it would “help them relax.” I’ll leave it at that.

      • Jake says:

        Why not post on here who, what when where and why?! Maybe ICC has the resources to get in touch with someone who can help SOLVE this case!!

        • Patrick Kerrigan says:

          Jake, quite often the police are given tips. Many of them are investigated, but don’t provide the answer the questions that the crime scene gives them.

          A case in point is the ABC murders of three young girls in Rochester, NY. One of them was 1971, the young girl was kidnapped and strangled to death.

          The 2and two girls were kidnapped, sexually assaulted and strangled to death, in 1973. There some belief these three caes were connected. However the first victim was strangled from the front, and the second two were strangled from the back.

          Aldo, they had white in color cat hair on their clothes. A guy called the garage rapist, attempted to kidnap a teenage girl on January 1, 1974. Her screams attracted the police. He committed suicide. His car supposedly had cat hair in it.

          In 2007, he was exhumed and DNA extracted. His DNA did not match the sample from one of the victims. Also the garage rapist did not kill his previous victims.

          Also, in this situation, the agency did not want to admit that one of their own was dirty. They could have asked another agency, say on the federal level to investigate.

          I worked for the federal government and most agencies have an Offuce of Inspector Genersl. They work for the head of the agency, so can investigate any issue at a facility and normally don’t have answer to the local boss.

          So, if Les gets convicted, then many people will have to explain why they looked the other way and hid what they knew. Also, there may be others who were protected

Comment Policy

We encourage thoughtful discussion here but ask that comments remain civilized and constructive … i.e. without personal attacks or name-calling. Be respectful of others and remember that victims' family members visit these pages, too. If you'd like to provide us with information regarding a suspect or have other sensitive details to relay, please email us directly. Thank you in advance.

Leave a Reply to joshCancel reply