Matthew Joel Rice (Courtesy photo Alyse Morris)

Matthew Joel Rice

Hit-and-Run Homicide

Matthew Joel Rice
17 YOA
Hit and Run Homicide
310th Street one-half mile east of Cass Ave.
Sloan, Iowa
Woodbury County
Crime Date: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002


Information courtesy the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office

Matthew Joel Rice, a 17-year-old senior at Westwood High School in Sloan, Iowa, died from injuries sustained after being struck by a vehicle during a hit-and-run on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002.

Sloan, Iowa, in Woodbury County (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. 

Results of evidence testing completed by the Iowa Criminalistics Laboratory in Des Moines initially proved inconclusive, though the sheriff’s office said testing of other evidence continues. 

Matthew Rice, front left (Courtesy photo Alyse Morris)

Deputy David Fox reported shortly after the September 21 incident that the department needed time to process the physical evidence of the collision scene in order to determine if charges would be filed in what appeared to be a “hit-and-run fatality accident.”

Fox explained shortly after the crash, “we are currently processing the suspect vehicle for DNA,” comparing the blood and tissue matter found on the vehicle with that of the victim. He also sought to dispel some of the rumors he said have been heard about the case. There was no evidence of a multiple-strike incident, and it appeared Rice was run over once by a vehicle, Fox said.

Fox said the sheriff’s department was notified of the incident at 2:04 a.m. Sept. 21, and the location was on 310th Street, one-half mile east of Cass Avenue. That would put the accident site about two miles northwest of Sloan near the overpass of gravel road 310th Street over I-29. A passer-by saw Rice on the ground and contacted the sheriff’s department.

Information Needed

The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone with information about Matthew Joel Rice’s unsolved hit-and-run homicide please call the sheriff’s office at (712) 279-6010 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 258-TIPS.

About Matthew Joel Rice (details from obituary)

Matthew Rice is buried at the Winnebago Cemetery in Thurston County, Neb. (Courtesy photo kmapp at

WINNEBAGO, Neb. — Matthew Joel Rice, 17, of Winnebago, Neb., died Saturday, Sept. 21, 2002, as a result of a motor vehicle/pedestrian accident near Sloan, Iowa.

Services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2002, at the Native American Church in Winnebago, with Mr. Bernard Little George officiating. Burial followed at the Winnebago Cemetery. Winnebago Wake and Burial handled arrangements.

Matthew was born March 18, 1985, in Provo, Utah, the son of Cynthia L. Rice. He was a senior at Westwood High School in Sloan, Iowa, and already had enlisted with the U.S. Army to enter into service following his high school graduation. 

He was a member of the Native American Church.

Survivors included his mother; two sisters, Jerusha and Tirza Rice; his grandmother, Stella M. Rice, all of Sloan; two uncles, Kenneth Rice of Minnesota and Charles N. and his wife, Iris Rice of Winnebago.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Joseph M. Rice; his aunt, Belle Darnell Rice, and an older brother, Leland J. Rice.

Pallbearers included Chad Mahlberg, Heath Hobbs, Dustin Anderson, Rodney Pliss, Ihler Endito and Kenneth Rice.

Matthew was laid to rest at the Winnebago Cemetery in Winnebago, Thurston County, Nebraska. The inscription on his gravestone — “Ha-Da-Zha, Ma-Nee-Ga” — means “Walks in the Light.”


6 Responses to Matthew Rice

  1. Heath Jacob says:

    I wonder what the cops on scene really know, because I think there should’ve been some more investigating down the road a bit further. I’ve always had some theories, I think it’s time to reopen this case and get to the bottom of it!

  2. Elishia Ebel-Reese says:

    Would like to know the name of the person that reported it. why that during their Gathering of evidence and going over that they were able to determine that he was only hit once but so incompetent that they couldn’t even take multiple swabs for comparison. So was it incompetence or evidence tampering that caused the swabs to be useless? And if it was evidence tampering was it before or after police got there

  3. Brad says:

    What was he doing alone on a gravel road at night? How did he get there? Where was he going?

  4. Brad says:

    Why so little interest in this tragic incident??

    • Laura Bee says:

      That’s a great question, I’m wondering the same… I’ve never even heard of this case and I’ve lived in the area all my life.

      • ZZ says:

        It’s very sad! His family still misses him deeply everyday and just wants answers! Although, I’m sure our lovely police department will never get them the closure they need.

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