Woodbury County in Iowa
Woodbury County in Iowa
Correctionville in Woodbury CountyCorrectionville in Woodbury County

Leo Joseph Smith


Leo Joseph Smith
56 YOA
Correctionville, IA
Woodbury County
DCI Case # 69-00525
April 10, 1969


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Early Thursday, April 10, 1969, Iowa Highway Patrol officers discovered the body of 56-year-old Leo Joseph Smith — a veteran who served with the 749th Military Police Battalion during World War II — at the Highway 20 rest area about 30 miles east of Sioux City in Woodbury County, Iowa. Smith’s throat had been cut.

Later that same day, two girls found an unidentified man under a truck in northeast Sioux City’s industrial area. That man’s throat also had been slashed, leading authorities to first believe the two murders may be connected. The following day, however, a 35-year-old Pittsburgh steel worker was arrested and charged in the unidentified man’s homicide.

Officials were unable to connect the Pittsburgh man with Smith’s murder, which remains unsolved.

During its two-year tenure from 2009-2011, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Cold Case Unit included Smith’s homicide as one of 150 cold cases they hoped to solve using advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

Leo Smith gravestoneCourtesy photo Steve & Debbie, findagrave.com
Leo Joseph Smith is buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilton, Muscatine County, Iowa.
About Leo Smith

Leo Joseph Smith was born on April 30, 1912.

Memorial services were held April 14, 1969 at Gill Memorial Funeral Home in Wilton, Iowa, with Father John Kennedy officiating. American Legion Post 585 conducted gravesite rites at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilton, Muscatine County, Iowa, where Smith was buried.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Leo Smith’s unsolved murder, please contact the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office at 712-279-6010.

Sources and References:
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, November 2009
  • Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office
  • “Ex-Wilton man slaying victim,” The Muscatine Journal, December 30, 1969
  • “In Memorial,” The Muscatine Journal, December 30, 1969
  • “Card of Thanks,” The Muscatine Journal, April 30, 1969
  • “Leo. J. Smith,” The Muscatine Journal, April 14, 1969
  • “Hold suspect in connection with 2 murders,” The Oelwein Daily Register, April 11, 1969
  • “2nd Body Found at Sioux City,” The Estherville Daily News, April 11, 1969


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

One Response to Leo Smith

  1. Melanie Wood says:

    There really is no information out there on this man. I certainly don’t think it was random. But no mention of any other suspect than the man they couldn’t tie to it. Where do You go from nowhere. To serve in WWII and then come back to be murdered how terrible. This is purely speculation. But for some reason I get the strong feeling it was,an argument over owing money. Friend or acquaintance. I also get the strong feeling this man was a hermit people wouldn’t really notice was gone.

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.

Share Your Thoughts