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Jennifer McCuddin, Lisa’s sister, has recently established a new Facebook page for Lisa. Please take a moment to visit Justice for Lisa McCuddin.
On October 2, 2004 — just four days before her 24th birthday — Lisa Ann McCuddin was shot while riding with a friend on the way to breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Officers initially responded to a call from Trinity Regional Medical Center, also in Fort Dodge, where a man had gone after suffering a gunshot wound at the Holiday Inn. When police went to the hotel to investigate the shooting, another car pulled into the parking lot, driven by a man who said he and a female passenger had just been shot while driving to the hotel.
The driver, 29-year-old Fred Murray, and 23-year-old McCuddin were taken to the hospital, where McCuddin died. Murray was treated and released for minor injuries.
The first gunshot victim, Isaac Givens, 23, told police a man wielding a gun at the hotel earlier that night shot him in the shoulder when he tried to run. Givens, like Murray, sustained a non-life-threatening injury and was treated and released.
Police later said the two shooting incidents were related and believed it started when a fight broke out after a dance at the Fort Dodge Eagles Lodge; some of the people involved in the fight allegedly were later involved in the shootings.
WHO-TV Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck reports on the unsolved murder of Lisa McCuddin. Air date: July 15, 2010
On October 22, a judge agreed to the Fort Dodge Police Department’s request to jail a potential witness, Morquette Jackson, 19, on a material witness warrant.
The following Monday, October 25, police arrested two more men — Jimmy Dilliard, Jr., 20, and Darrin Foy, 20, both of Fort Dodge — and charged them with aiding and abetting. Morquette Jackson was then charged with attempted murder, willful injury, going armed with intent and rioting. All three were held in the Webster County Jail with bail set at $58,500.
A fourth man, Draper McDonald, 27, also of Fort Dodge, was arrested in November, and on November 19 charged with aiding and abetting attempted murder, aiding and abetting willful injury, and aiding and abetting going armed with intent in connection with the first shooting that injured Isaac Givens. Police said Givens’ shooting was linked to the shooting that killed McCuddin, but that the charges against McDonald were unrelated to McCuddin’s shooting.
In a Fort Dodge Messenger article dated October 2, 1008, Becky McCuddin told reporter Katie Williams how frustrated she’d become in the year following her daughter’s death; it appeared to Mrs. McCuddin little was being done in the investigation.
“It got to the point where I wasn’t sleeping at night,” Becky McCuddin said. “I would call up the investigator who was assigned to the case and he would tell me he was just too busy to work on it.”
Becky began writing letters to everyone she thought might be able to help, all the way from the local mayor to [then] President George W. Bush.
“I actually got a letter back from the vice president (Dick Cheney),” Becky McCuddin told the Messenger, “but of course he couldn’t do anything.”
Special Agent Larry Hedlund, a 25-year veteran with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), had initially assisted Fort Dodge police in the days following McCuddin’s murder, but was not the primary investigator. As weeks turned into months, the Fort Dodge Police Department, Webster County Crime Stoppers and McCuddin’s family joined forces and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Lisa’s death.
The reward went unclaimed.
And then, in 2006, two years after McCuddin’s murder, something happened that suddenly gave the family new hope; Agent Hedlund was assigned to the DCI’s Fort Dodge area — and to Lisa’s case.
Hedlunds’s personal commitment to solving Lisa McCuddin’s murder was about to change how one family, and a community, perceived and understood the investigative and judicial process.
Hedlund maintained regular contact with the McCuddin family, keeping them apprised of any new developments in the case. Lisa’s sister, Jennifer McCuddin, told Iowa Cold Cases that phone calls to Hedlund were always promptly returned, and that he truly cared about seeing justice served in her sister’s murder.
Her assessment of Hedlund’s commitment was right on target.
In a Fort Dodge Messenger story published October 2, 2009, Hedlund told Messenger reporter Angela Burch the case was nowhere near a cold case.
“It’s not a dead case, it’s not a cold case,” Hedlund said. “Something’s being done every week to make the case stronger.”
Hedlund said investigators know “who the people are” who were involved in the shooting, but that suspects’ names were not being released. One of the persons involved is currently in prison for other crimes, said Hedlund, who also told the Messenger:
“That person is under the false impression that he will serve his time and get released from prison. It’s my goal to see that before he’s released that he and the other person involved will be arrested and charged with first-degree murder.” — Iowa DCI Special Agent Larry Hedlund
Hedlund said he was confident the other person involved would end up reading the [Messenger’s October 2009] article, and that he didn’t have a high level of respect for either of the suspects.
“I don’t think they care about (Becky McCuddin’s) loss of her daughter because I don’t think they care about their own children,” Hedlund told the Messenger. “I don’t think that they have a sense of guilt over what they did and I think they think they got away with murder.”
The vehicle investigators believe was used in McCuddin’s killing was later found in a remote setting in Webster County.
“Our investigation shows that this is the vehicle that was used by the individuals involved in the murder of Lisa McCuddin,” said Hedlund. “When law enforcement attempted to locate this vehicle in 2006, the investigation shows that almost immediately steps were taken to completely destroy the car – by setting it on fire and other steps taken in an attempt to prevent law enforcement from being able to identify the car.”
Hedlund said the person responsible for killing Lisa should be concerned about how officials recovered the vehicle.
“It wasn’t random luck,” he said.
Officials continued to gather other supporting evidence in hopes of presenting a solid case to jurors.
Investigators “didn’t give up on cases” Hedlund said, and weren’t about to give up on [McCuddin’s] case.
In the October ’09 Messenger interview, Becky McCuddin said the family wasn’t giving up, either.
“I have faith that they’ll get him and they’ll arrest him,” Becky McCuddin said. “A lot of people always say ‘forget it, they’re not doing it, it’s over with,’ but they only see the outside. I truly believe that when that time comes, (Hedlund) will have them arrested and put in jail. The answers will all be there.”
Hedlund told the Messenger he had a strong message for the person who killed Lisa McCuddin.
“I think the person who pulled the trigger that killed Lisa McCuddin is a little coward, who thinks he got away with murder,” Hedlund said.
They haven’t, he insisted.
Hedlund now works full-time for the Fort Dodge Police Department.
Lisa Ann McCuddin, the daughter of Mark Alan and Rebecca (Dahl) McCuddin, was born October 6, 1980, in Sioux City, Iowa.
She graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School, loved children, and was employed at the PS Academy for Children in Fort Dodge.
Her interests included swimming and listening to music, and she loved spending time with her two children, her many friends and her family.
She died Saturday, October 2, 2004, at Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge.
Survivors included her two children, Markasia Cabbell and Davontrez Tyson; her parents, Becky (Buck Boring) McCuddin of Fort Dodge and Mark (Vicki) McCuddin of Sioux City; two sisters, Jennifer McCuddin and Contessa Stotz of Fort Dodge; a brother, Jason Hoogland-Boring of Fort Dodge; a stepsister, Mandi Porsch of Sioux City; her grandmother, Delores McCuddin of Sioux City; great-grandfather, Arthur Crabtree of Portsmouth, Ohio; seven aunts, five uncles, a niece and five nephews.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Robert and Rose Dahl and Eldon McCuddin.
Memorial services were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 9, 2004, at Bruce-Graham Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Fort Dodge. A lunch was served at the Veterans of Foreign Wars following the service. Visitation was held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
In a July 2007 MySpace blog post, Jennifer McCuddin made an appeal to those her sister once called “friends,” urging them to come forward and report to police what knowledge they had about Lisa’s death. In August 2007, Jennifer posted information about the reward and provided Agent Hedlund’s contact information, and in April 2009 posted a link to the Webster County Crime Stoppers site where readers could get more information about her sister’s case.
On March 23, 2013, Jennifer McCuddin established the Facebook page “Justice for Lisa McCuddin.” The page not only provides information about her sister’s unsolved murder, but serves as a forum for posts about Iowa’s other unsolved murders and missing persons cases.
If you have any information about Lisa McCuddin’s unsolved murder, please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email email@example.com, or contact the Fort Dodge Police Department at (515) 573-1426, or Webster County Crime Stoppers at 515-573-1444 (toll free at 1-800-542-9702).