Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton in Clinton CountyClinton in Clinton County

Louis Dale Reed, Sr.


Louis Dale Reed, Sr.
53 YOA
Reed’s Auto Salvage
2800 Liberty Ave.
Clinton, IA
Clinton County
February 14, 1974


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

On Thursday night, Valentine’s Day 1974, Louis Dale Reed, Sr., was killed by a 410 shotgun blast to the chest inside a shack at Reed’s Auto Salvage, a salvage yard Reed operated at 2800 Liberty Ave. on Clinton’s south side. Reed also had a shotgun wound to his left arm.

The 53-year-old grandfather, who resided at 814 Roosevelt St. in Clinton, was known to regularly carry large amounts of cash on him, but neither his cash nor any other items were taken.

In a Clinton Herald article dated February 15, 1974, Police Chief Wayne Wilke said Reed had been shot at close range. Clinton County Medical Examiner Dr. J. J. Young pronounced Reed dead at the scene.

Wilke, who said police had nothing concrete concerning a suspect, told reporters it was “too soon to make any presumptions” on whether the shooting was related to a call police received from Reed earlier that day.

Reeds Auto Salvage where Louis Reed slainCourtesy photo Clinton Herald
The shack at the salvage yard where Louis Reed was slain.

Reed had contacted police around 4 p.m., stating that a man driving a light brown truck left his salvage yard with seven radiators without paying for them. Reed told police he could identify the radiators by markings on them and by the makes of vehicles to which they belonged.

Less than six hours after Reed phoned police, he was shot dead.

Around 10 p.m., Reed’s wife, Zepha, called police and said her husband had not returned home from work. Clinton police sent patrolman Peter Postma to the salvage yard, where Postma discovered Reed’s body inside the shack.

Detectives investigating the crime scene worked throughout the night and into the next day, but did not uncover any weapon.

Reed’s body was taken to the Snell-Smith Funeral Home in Clinton Thursday night, where Dr. Young performed an autopsy. Young placed Reed’s time of death as Thursday night sometime between 8:20 p.m. and 9 p.m., and cause of death as a shotgun blast.

Frightened Dog in Hiding

Following her husband’s murder, Mrs. Reed reported the couple’s dog, Shaggy, as missing. The dog had been at the salvage yard with Reed but no one had seen him since the slaying.

More than one week later, Mrs. Reed told the Clinton Herald they’d discovered Shaggy hadn’t been missing after all, but had simply gone into hiding:

“We found him way up underneath the car and still on his chain,” she said. “He just didn’t come out for a long time and we assumed he was missing.”

During that same week, police said they had questioned “dozens of people,” but had not yet established a motive or made any arrests.

Louis Reed gravestoneCourtesy photo Michael Kearney, Iowa Gravestone Photo Project
Louis Reed’s gravestone at Clinton Memorial Park Cemetery

Strangely enough, Reed’s right-hand man — who seldom left Reed’s side — had burned to death in a house fire just a couple years prior to Reed’s slaying.

About Louis Reed

Louis Dale Reed was born August 15, 1920, in Homer, Iowa, to Luetta M. Kreinbing and Louis Reed. He was buried at Clinton Memorial Park Cemetery.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding the unsolved slaying of Louis Dale Reed, please contact the Clinton Police Department at (563) 243-1457.

  • Personal correspondence from Scott Reed, grandson of victim, July 27, 2009, Sept. 6, 2012
  • Person Details for Louis Dale Reed, “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935” —
  • Person Details for Louis Dale Reed, “Iowa, Births and Christenings, 1830-1950” —
  • Person Details for Louis D Reed, “United States Social Security Death Index” —
  • Iowa Gravestone Photo Project
  • Louis Dale Reed, Sr (1920 – 1974) — Find a Grave Memorial
  • David Jindrich, February 2012
  • “No Leads in Murder Yet,” The Clinton Herald, Feb. 1974
  • “Body found,” The Muscatine Journal, Feb. 15, 1974
  • “Salvage Yard Operator Slain,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Feb. 15, 1974
  • “Shotgun Slaying Probe is Continued,” The Carroll Daily Times Herald, Feb. 15, 1974
  • “Clinton Man Found Shot to Death,” The Clinton Herald, Feb. 15, 1974


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8 Responses to Louis Reed

  1. LakeLife says:

    Praying the truth comes out!
    Clearly the person in the brown pick up truck was stealing.
    Did he come back & Mr. Reed confronted him?!
    Is this why he was attacked & murdered?
    Police should try looking at brown colored trucks in that area at that time.
    Praying for justice!

  2. Amanda says:

    Wonder if they went out looking for this brown truck or just did a report.

  3. Diana Wilson says:

    So sorry. I am glad the dog didn’t perish, too.

  4. Bruce Lucke says:

    clinton police are to busy doing nothing and to afraid to do anything to help anyone most are busy with their girlfriends or the other married women they drink and drive they do dope beat their wifes but who is to say anything why do they still have jobs

  5. Prayers for the family

  6. Am I related to you??

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