Mervin Walvatne

Mervin Walvatne (Courtesy Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Mervin Leo Walvatne

Missing Person

Name: Mervin Walvatne
Age at Report:
53 YOA
July 8, 1937
150 lbs.
Missing From: Spencer, IA
Clay County
Incident Type:
Disability – physical / mental
Investigating Agency:
Spencer Police Department
Case Number:
NCIC Number:
NamUs MP Number:
Missing Since:
July 18, 1990


Clay County in Iowa
Clay County in Iowa
Spencer in Clay CountySpencer in Clay County

Mervin Leo Walvatne, 53, went missing from Spencer, Iowa, on July 18, 1990. Walvatne’s sister, who lives in Spencer and had regular contact with her brother, became concerned after not seeing her brother since July 18 and reported him missing to the Spencer Police Department.

Walvatne was allegedly an alcoholic and led a transient lifestyle, often living in Arizona. He is classified as disabled. His last permanent places of residence were in the Yuma and Tucson, Arizona areas.

Mr. Walvatne also lived in Madison, Wisconsin during the 1970s, and it was during this time he suffered facial injuries in a car accident. Fractures to his nose, cheek and eye areas required surgery as well as wire and plastic implants. He also wears an upper denture plate.

Walvatne has tattoos on his arms, one of which may include his first name, Mervin.

Mervin Leo Walvatne was born July 8, 1937, in Fayette, Iowa, to Lawrence Leo and Mayme L. (Helgerson) Walvatne.

Dental information/charting is available and entered at NamUs.

Information Needed

If you have any information concerning Mervin Walvatne’s disappearance, please contact the Spencer Police Department at 712-262-2151.



10 Responses to Mervin Walvatne

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Jorge, I would make the call, and let the police follow up on the lead. It never hurts to say that the seen a guy in Cedar Rapids, that matches his description. Also, it keeps his case active with law enforcement. Mervin, could have have moved on from Spencer for greener pastures in the big city.

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      I searched Mervin Walvatne on Ancestry earlier today and found an address entry from U.S. Public Records showing an address of Route 1 Box 134 in Lone Rock, Wisconsin. However, their is no year when he was living at this address. The records from them covers 1950 to about 1993 or so.

      I wonder if he had any family in that neck of the woods. It bears further investigation, even it means figuring out where Lone Rock is located in Wisconsin. Also, if alive he would be eligible for Social Security and Medicare. So, they need to be checked to see if he is receiving any benefits.

      • Patrick Kerrigan says:

        Another resource is the Salvation Army. They have a Missing Persons Bureau of sorts. I don’t know how they search their system of facilities, but because of his background they may have come in contact with him. I would think that he has come to the attention of some social service agency.

        • Cash4cans says:

          The first thing I would do if I were a detective on this case is hit all the recycle spots where you can get cash for cans in Cedar Rapids. Especially since he is on a bike he should be easy to track down. I would Interview the folks that work at these recycling redemption spots and interview other can collectors like this guy and ask if they have ever seen the guy and what time or days or how often this guy comes in. Most of these transient types who collect cans do it for a living, know each other and believe it or not, have a routine and frequent the same places regularly. They normally come weekly or more. There’s a ton of guys just like this in my town. Worst case a family member could post up there for a few days and I believe they could run into him. Now, Getting a law enforcement agency with stretched resources to track a mentally ill transient who is a non-contributor to society, a drain on local medical and emergency response resources, last seen in 1993 that generates no tax revenue for the city, yeah that’s the hard part. Best results could probably be achieved by a family member willing to put in the time and effort.

          • Patrick Kerrigan says:

            I like that idea. But something better would be the agency faxing a missing persons flyer to these facilities. Then they could notify the appropriate agency and the local police can then pick him up. He should be referred to social services. However, at 81 years old living a transient lifestyle, would he still be on the streets looking for cans.

            Also, between social service agencies and law enforcement should be interacting with these people, to determine their identies. Who knows how many missing persons they m might account for.

            • Cash4cans says:

              Your idea about posting a flyer at these sites is a good one. Although if last seen officially in 1993 unofficially in 1999, that was quite a while back. Most of the transient types with no mental illness pass on in their 70’s at most due to hard lifestyle and being outdoors. But add in mental illness, poor health and hygiene and that makes even 70’s a stretch. If he’s truly in his 80’s there’s a good chance he’s not alive anymore. I wonder what the authorities do with random unidentifiable people that expire. Do they go into some kind of database? Are they cremated? Any notifications get put in a local paper for unidentifiable people for their loved ones to hopefully see? Like if I was someone random with no ID on me and just died on the street, what do they do if they have no one to contact? I guess the policy and procedures would vary by county. Sad. I believe the family could have done more to find this guy if they really wanted to find him. Some people don’t want to be found.

  2. Jorge Pena says:

    Sher….Yup that’s him, is the resemblence uncanny? Or is it just me?

  3. Jorge Pena says:

    Wait…He would also take his top teeth out holding them on his tongue to scare you…should I call? It has been approx. 20 or so years since I have seen Times he said his name was Elmer? The resemblance man….wow…

  4. Jorge Pena says:

    This man resembles I met in 1997 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The resemblance is uncanny. I believe he called himself Melvin? He rode a bike and collected cans he w mentally ill as he always yelled “beep, beep” while riding his bike. He also would look at you and say ” you dropped you pocket” when you looked he would yell ” rubber neck.” Hmmm, I wonder…

  5. Sher Stookey says:

    Reminds me of Elmer, the Whistler. Rides a bike with baskets for collecting cans and such along Mt. Vernon Rd. in Cedar Rapids. Last time I saw him he was running some kind of errand for what used to be The Golden Egg. I think he lives in that area as well.

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