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At approximately 10 p.m. Friday, the day after Christmas 1975, Michael Edward Carr was struck by a vehicle on the west edge of Estherville, Iowa, while walking home.
The hit-and-run happened near the intersection of Iowa Highway 9 and Emmet County blacktop A-22.
The 19-year-old Carr, who worked for the catalogue merchandiser “Ardan’s” in Des Moines, had spent the evening with a friend at the “Filling Station” bar in Estherville.
A local couple found Carr on the road’s eastbound side, his arms folded across his chest like a body in a coffin, and with his head resting on the curb. The Emmet County sheriff said Carr had been positioned there, leading officials to believe that whoever hit Carr most likely knew him.
Carr’s body sustained numerous bruises in the hit-and-run after being struck by the vehicle’s bumper, the windshield and the top of the car. A maroon vehicle may have been involved.
Carr was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, where he died one week later on Friday, January 2, 1976.
In an Estherville Daily News article dated January 7, 1976, Estherville Chief of Police Robert Seylar said police were still interviewing possible witnesses and continuing with the investigation.
Following Carr’s death, his family received two anonymous letters, which they handed over to police. The family knew one letter had come from a girl Carr may have dated; she’d stated in the letter how nice he was and how sorry she was about what had happened to him.
The family described the other letter’s contents as “strange.”
In addition, Father Al Grendler of Estherville’s Catholic Church received a $500 donation to go to the Carr family, though the donor wished to remain anonymous and Grendler would not reveal the person’s name. He did tell the family it was not “guilt money.”
Police spoke with the priest about the donation, but Grendler would not disclose the donor’s name to them, either.
One good thing did come from his death, a family member said; a man who’d been on dialysis for some time received one of Michael’s kidneys.
Michael Edward Carr was born October 22, 1956, in Des Moines to Robert Edward and Dolores (Bible) Carr. He received his education in St. John’s Grade School and Tech High School in Des Moines and Estherville High School, graduating in 1975. He moved to Estherville with his family two years prior to his death.
Michael worked for Robo Car Wash while attending high school and had worked for the Rock Island Railroad during the previous summer. He had enrolled at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for the second semester, and was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Services were held at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 5, 1976, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Estherville, with burial at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
He was survived by his parents; five sisters, Linda of Des Moines, Mrs. Kathy Chandy of Minneapolis, Minn., Mary, Janine, and Janelle of Estherville; and his grandmother, Mrs. Agnes Bible of Waite Park, Minn.
Michael’s father, Robert, passed away in May 1978 — just 2-1/2 years after his son’s death — without ever learning what happened to his only son.
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