Layne Schneider

Layne Schneider (Courtesy The Fayette County Union)

Layne Edward Schneider


Layne Edward Schneider
22 YOA
Echo Road and 180th Street
Elgin, Iowa
Fayette County
January 22, 2013






Layne Schneider Benefit Poster

In June 2016, Layne’s family held a benefit auction to raise funds for a civil prosecution.

Family Establishes “Justice for Layne Schneider” Go Fund Me account

Layne Schneider’s family members have established a “Justice for Layne Schneider” page on the fundraising site,, in efforts to raise funds and support for a civil suit they filed in Fayette County District Court. Though the civil suit will not bring Layne back, says Layne’s brother Rick, it may help bring closure to the family and friends that are still hurting.

A benefit fund account has also been set up (Justice for Layne Edward Schneider), and donations can be sent to:

Kerndt Bros. Savings Bank
P.O. Box 7
Clermont, Iowa 52135

All funds raised will be used to assist with court costs and attorney fees.

Visit Layne’s Go Fund Me page.

Case Summary

Layne Edward Schneider, 22, of Elgin, Iowa, was brutally beaten to death inside his rural Fayette County home sometime in the early morning hours on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. His bloodied, lifeless body was then taken from the home and placed inside a pickup truck owned by Steven Bilden of Elgin, who shared the rural home with Schneider.

Fayette County in Iowa
Fayette County in Iowa
Elgin in Fayette CountyElgin in Fayette County

Someone drove the pickup eastbound on 180th Street about four miles northwest of Wadena, and, just after passing the Echo Road intersection, one or more individuals moved the vehicle into the north ditch where it continued down the ditch embankment, crossed over a washout, and continued north until the vehicle rolled up against a tree.

One or more individuals then used an accelerant to set the vehicle afire — the deceased Schneider’s body still inside — about one and one-half miles from Schneider’s home.

A call about a burning vehicle came into the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at 4:35 a.m.

Darrol Mohlis of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the first officer to respond, arrived at the scene at 4:45 a.m.

The local fire department and rescue workers weren’t aware of anyone being inside the pickup until firefighters extinguished the blaze, at which time local law enforcement officers retrieved the body from Bilden’s pickup.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in the death investigation.

Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials initially believed the vehicle had sat in the same area for a period of time before becoming “hot” and starting a grass fire beneath the truck.

Courtesy Oelwein Daily Register
In this Feb. 21, 2013, Oelwein Daily Register story, Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher confirms the investigation is ongoing but says it is being considered an accident at this time. Medical examiner reports later concluded the 22-year-old suffered a skull fracture, was struck in the back with a pipe-like blunt heavy object, and that the victim’s legs had been both beaten and broken.

Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher initially said the case was being considered an accident but that the investigation was ongoing.

Further tests conducted by the IDOT and the State Medical Examiner’s Office showed the fire had been set using an accelerant and also determined Schneider was “deceased prior to the vehicle running off the roadway.”

The 22-year-old suffered a skull fracture, was struck in the back with a pipe-like blunt heavy object, and both his legs beaten and broken before being dragged out to the pickup and driven down the road. Once the truck had been steered off-road and into a tree, it allegedly was set afire in efforts to cover up the crime and conceal the true extent of Schneider’s injuries.

Fayette County Speedway holds special tribute race

On Friday, May 31, 2013, the Fayette County Speedway held a special Memorial night race for Schneider, who raced his flyer regularly at the speedway. (The event originally was scheduled for May 10 but was postponed.)

During intermission, 4-Cylinder Class drivers were introduced as a salute to Schneider, who formerly raced in the division. The drivers then entered the grandstand area to pass their helmets through the crowd for donations.

In addition to those monies raised, the Race Committee donated their proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 drawing to Schneider’s family.


The Elgin Echo, Feb. 3, 2016

Courtesy The Elgin Echo, Feb. 3, 2016

Schneider family files wrongful death civil suit, seeks jury trial

In January 2016, Layne Schneider’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Fayette County District Court against Wade Lenth, alleging that on Jan. 22, 2013, defendant Wade A. Lenth maliciously, intentionally and unlawfully caused Layne Schneider’s death by beating him and forcefully removing him from his home and into a vehicle.

According to an Elgin Echo story published Feb. 3, 2016, the suit further alleges that Lenth then drove Schneider to a secluded wooded location and set the vehicle on fire with Schneider inside.

According to phone calls, correspondence and court documents provided to Iowa Cold Cases, the poorly staged “accident” left behind a bloody crime scene inside the house and a bloody trail on the outside lawn leading up to the pickup’s passenger-side door where Schneider’s body had been hoisted up and placed on the seat.

Schneider’s parents hope to find justice through a civil court jury trial because no criminal charges have yet been filed in their son’s brutal beating death.

Additional evidentiary items will be presented during the trial.

About Layne Schneider

Layne Edward Schneider, 22, of Elgin, Iowa died Tuesday, January 22, 2013. He was born July 2, 1990 in West Union, Iowa to Edward Schneider and Susan (Gunderson) White. He was baptized on November 25, 1990 and confirmed on April 10, 2005 at the West Clermont Lutheran Church in Clermont, Iowa.

Layne graduated from Valley High School on May 24, 2009.

Layne did custom work for Jason Klemp and also farmed with Jake Larson and John and Megan Schroeder.

Layne Schneider gravestoneCourtesy photo C Thorson Reed,
Layne Schneider is buried at East Clermont Lutheran Church Cemetery in Clayton County, Iowa.

When he was a young man, he enjoyed riding in the semi hauling milk with his dad. Layne enjoyed hunting, playing pool, fishing, racing, snowmobiling, camping, farming, being with friends, watching TV and movies, spending time at the river, being around kids and he also liked to cook.

Layne’s survivors included his mother, Susan (Craig Jensen) White of Elgin and Edward Schneider of Clermont; his brothers, Linn (Corinne Cole) White and their children, Damon and Stella of New Virginia, Iowa, Leif (Jenn) White and their children, Bjorn and Declan of Clermont and Rick Schneider of Ft. Collins, Colorado; grandparents, Gerald Schneider of Postville, Lydia Murphy of West Union, and Ruth Gunderson of Monona; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

His maternal grandfather, Emmet Gunderson, and paternal stepgrandfather, Eugene Murphy, preceded him in death.

Visitation was held Monday, February 18, 2013, from 4 – 8 p.m. at West Clermont Lutheran Church, Clermont, Iowa and one hour before services on Tuesday.

Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at West Clermont Lutheran Church with Pastor Dayna Winke officiating.

Inurnment followed at the East Clermont Lutheran Cemetery in rural Clermont, with lunch served at Brick City following the inurnment.

Schutte-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Clermont, Iowa helped the family with arrangements.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Layne Schneider’s death please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 422-6067.



25 Responses to Layne Schneider

  1. Sam Kime says:

    The comment about it being over drugs is ridiculous…that is not what happened at all I personally think the Fayette Co police are lazy and flat out don’t want to ever deal with anything because when first reported they wanted to write it off as a vehicle incident…but not until backlash did they go oh well ok and point out allll the obvious staging it was 100% wade lenth and it was over wades still girlfriend and im sure she knows about it as well i have not lived in the area since I was little but all my family lives there and I know alot of people …did they check laynes phone?? Maybe look at the texts he was sent from wade saying things like how he’s going to kill him for talking to his girl and crap like that or how about laynes roommate (and maybe this is hear say) but wasn’t it his roommates pickup that layne was found in….wasn’t the crime scene in the house poorly cleaned up by someone who probably had access to the house?? Wasn’t his roommate good friends with wade? The crime is practically solving itself but….wade walks free smiling in his Facebook pictures…meanwhile laynes family still has to suffer.. seems fair huh?

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      I may not know all about the girlfriend issue. However, Layne is beaten up and then dumped in his roommate’s pickup truck. I guess the roommate was not home, but left the keys to his truck for anyone to use.

      It appears that some agencies in the criminal justice field, try to claim that some cases are not criminal. This involves them less work, and it fits in with their claim, that crime is down

      In Pennsylvania a woman was found stabbed to death, almost 8 years ago.There was no signs of forced entry. The pathologist based on that information, claimed that she committed suicide. Although, some of the stab wounds were in her back and neck.

      A real medical examiner disputed his findings. So, now her death is classified as a homicide. So, now the police have to investigate it although they never did, because it, she committed suicide.

      On top of it, the woman was engaged to be married.

  2. LuAnn says:

    This was no accident by any means…I hope the person or persons responsible for Layne’s death have the quilt eat away @ them and I ‘m sure there are others that know what happened but are scared to come forward but it would be best for them to do so…Layne looked like a very outgoing young man & a very special young man to all that knew him & all the lives he touched….Im so sorry for your loss & I hope someday justice will be served on whoever did this to your son …..RIP Layne!!!!

  3. Edward Schneider says:

    Jody Thanks for your support and thoughtfullness. I definetly will be very humble on any help with pro bono you may find.
    Sincerely, Ed

  4. Arnold says:

    A benefit fund account has been set up ( Justice for Layne Edward Schneider) donations can be sent to
    Kerndt Bros. Savings Bank, P.O. Box 7 Clermont, Iowa 52135 to help the family in
    need of funds for court,attorney and investigative fees. All donations will be greatly

    • Arnold says:

      Your generous donations were greatly appreciated. Thanks to all. A pi has been working on the case with your funds getting closer to justice for Layne. Funds are still needed and can be sent to Kerndt bros.savings bank box 7 clermont ,Iowa 52135

  5. Christy says:

    I emailed several tv shows with no response from any …and some of them stated that the department handling the case need to request assistance. .hmmmm

    • Arnold says:

      have you contacted the Fayette County Sheriff’s office, Marty Fischer and/or theIowa DCI
      John Turbett for assistance? I would think that they would be more than thankful for any help on solving this case, as I am sure that it is haunting them.

  6. Mark Becker says:

    Sounds like it was personal, more then one persons involved and over drugs.

  7. I knew him when he was just little. I had no idea that this has happened. How sad.

  8. There’s a show called cold justice and they just solved a cold case in hills iowa

  9. Diana Wilson says:

    I wish they could make a show on all these.

  10. Dateline NBC…need to investigate & do a story on this

  11. Reba Lynn says:

    Hope they find who did this. So young and sad.

  12. Wow..Looks kinda like Paul Walker bless his soul..both of them…may they find the people who did this.

  13. I so pray someone comes forward. My heart and thoughts and prayers to the family and friends. Very heart breaking.

  14. Rose Nielsen says:

    Prayers are with the family. I also loved Layne he was like a son to me and really enjoyed sitting around camp fire with him. Was a gentleman where ever I saw him. Missed so much. God Please let the truth come out and all can be at peace.

  15. I hope the truth comes out for you. It's sad that you won't be able yo put things to rest until you know. My heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your son. He looks like a wonderful young man. Rest in God's peace Layne.

  16. Ed Schneider says:

    I want people to know that my son's death was not caused from a auto pickup accident,

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Ed, I think most people know by now this was murder and not an accident, and I applaud you and your family for pursuing justice in civil court. Grief-stricken families don’t care about financial compensation, but civil court is at least one way of making those responsible be publicly held accountable for crimes they’ve committed. I will be doing what I can on this end to get other attorneys involved on a pro bono basis. We already have a couple of them committed to taking on another case and I’ll be working with them in efforts to recruit others across the state. I believe this is a case where truth will prevail because there’s simply so much evidence that totally contradicts the “accident” theory. All my best to you and Susan, and I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  17. This nice young kid was murdered. Someone knows something and I hope that they come forward. If they don't, I hope it haunts them for the rest of their life.

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