nick-white Courtesy photo Polk County Crime Stoppers
Nicholas “Nick” David White

Nicholas “Nick” David White


Nicholas “Nick” David White
20 YOA
1511 29th St.
Des Moines, Iowa
Polk County
Investigating Agency: Des Moines Police Department
Case Number: 12-37248
November 26, 2012


Case Summary by Jody Ewing


Nicholas “Nick” David White, a 20-year-old Drake University student, was murdered on Monday, November 26, 2012, in a Des Moines home he shared with two other young men.

Des Moines police said the 20-year-old student died of undisclosed trauma in the basement of a house located at 1511 29th Street. The home is about one block away from Drake’s main campus.

nick-white-b-w-family-siteCourtesy photo
Nick White was a gifted runner and talented artist. A website with updates on his unsolved murder has been established at

White shared the 29th street home with Ernest “Ernie” Carl Mueller III and Randall “Randy” Morgan Watson, who told police they found White’s body around 1:45 p.m.

Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax said police deemed the death suspicious based on factors like the position of White’s body and location of blood in the vicinity.

The medical examiner has officially ruled White’s death a homicide, though police have not released the cause of death other than that it was trauma to the body.

Detectives have interviewed White’s roommates, and police continue to question people in connection with the case.

“He was always a person you’d want to be around, and a lot of people gravitated toward him because he was such a kind person,” White’s friend, Jason Ashby, told KCCI Channel 8 in an report that aired November 28, 2012. “I don’t understand how anyone could do that.”

Ashby said everyone in the home was tight-knit and that no one had any grudges of which he was aware.

Police said they do not believe the killer is on the loose and do not believe this was a random act of violence.

White’s parents established a website in their son’s memory at, and said its purpose was to “continue to remind us of who Nicholas was, that those involved have not been charged, that some individuals with knowledge of the events have not yet come forward, and to keep some of the memories we cherish available to you.”

1511-29th-st-des-moines-kcci-nick-whiteCourtesy photo KCCI TV-9
Nick White shared this 1511 29th St. home in Des Moines with Ernest Mueller III and Randy Watson, who told police they found White’s body in the basement around 1:45 p.m. Nov. 26, 2012. The two refused to take a polygraph.

The site provides regular updates on White’s murder, a photo slideshow and other links related to White’s case.

On May 3, 2013, the family posted that their son’s two “friends” had refused a polygraph.

On May 8, 2013, Southeast Polk High School awarded the Nicholas White Scholarship to one of its students. Mike and Rhonda White — Nick White’s uncle and aunt — set up the scholarship in Nick’s memory.

On November 29, 2013, the Polk County Crime Stoppers website posted the following update:

11/29/2013 – Nick White Homicide Update

One year ago 20-year-old Nick White died of undisclosed trauma in the basement of a home in the 1500 block of 29th Street, near Drake University. The medical examiner has officially ruled the death a homicide. Polk County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

The White family is separately offering an additional $4,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

More information can be found at

Help Solve this Crime

About Nicholas White (from obituary)

Nicholas David White was born to Ron and Nita White on February 17, 1992, in Des Moines. He grew up just outside Pleasant Hill with his siblings, Emily (whom he called Elomie), Will, Sam, Bryan, and Stephany. From the very start he was strong, determined, and loved by all. He began as a little boy with a head full of perfect curls who was always into mischief of one kind or another, and grew into a handsome young man full of potential. He grew up going to church and came to know Christ as his personal Savior when he was in the AWANA program.

nick-white-gravestone-findagraveCourtesy photo youhavemyaxe,
Nicholas White is buried at Lowman Cemetery in Runnells, Iowa.

He was a gifted runner and won several awards in track while attending Southeast Polk High School, where he later graduated. Nicholas was also a talented artist with a gift for creativity. His works were passionate and full of life. His bright smile and sense of humor were always welcome.

Nicholas was survived by his parents; his grandparents, Howard and Harriett Sloan of Carbondale and Bob and Virginia White of Runnells; siblings, Emily and Heath Hyder of Ankeny, William and Betsy Abbott of Urbandale, Samuel White of Vermillion, South Dakota, Bryan White of Altoona, and Stephany White; many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a loving, caring son, grandson, brother, nephew, uncle, and friend.

Visitation was held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, December 3, at Capitol City Baptist Church. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the church followed by burial at Lowman Cemetery near Runnells. Memorial contributions were to be directed to the family.

Information Needed

Anyone with information about Nick White’s unsolved murder is asked to contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864 or Polk County Crime Stoppers at (515) 223-1400.



15 Responses to Nicholas White

  1. Holly Rice says:

    Poor kid :-( What a waste of a life. I hope they catch the person or persons that did this!

  2. This is sad. I dont understand how this was not open and shut if his roommates were also in the house? Somebody surely knows what happened and i hope this young man gets the justice he deserves.

  3. I pray that they catch who did this to this young man. Prayers to sent to the family and friends.

  4. Diana Wilson says:

    I wish all these cases could be solved.

    • I agree this stuff is so sad & heartbreaking

    • Diana Wilson says:

      I can’t imagine what the families go through. My niece ran away twice. The first time was terrible. My sister cried her eyes out. My brother-in-law looked in every dumpster. She was found safe. The next time, the older guy took her over the state line. In fact, they walked from Sioux Falls to Vermillion. She’s from Sioux City. They had blisters on their feet and the police suggested her parents leave her in jail over night. She never pulled that again.

  5. Anon says:

    I know all 3 of those guys. Just because they refused to take a polygraph, doesn’t make them guilty. Just answering questions about it could cause their heart to race because it was a traumatising event. If the police believe they were suspects, they would have investigated the possibility already. Nick was a nice guy and I still can’t believe this happened to him. RIP

    • LuAnn says:

      Then take the polygraph test….Most people who refuse the test are scared of failing it..So Wtf is the problem?????..Maybe the cops should open the case up & start investigating it again…Only time your heart would race if you were guilty. ……….Were u there when it happened? Maybe an argument happened. .you don’t know…..So what if u knew them…How well? You can’t always judge a book by its cover……

    • Anon2 says:

      It was “a traumatising event” for them?! How do you think it’s been for our family?! Four years and still no answers, let alone justice. These “friends” probably don’t even think about him anymore, but I can assure you WE do. Every holiday. Every family get together. Every year on his birthday. Every day. His murderer is alive and well and gets to spend time with their family and live the life Nicholas doesn’t get to and his “friends” know more than they’ll admit. Personally, I feel that anyone not sharing what they know is as guilty as his murderer. And someone knows. I still can’t believe they can live with themselves.

  6. My prayers and thoughts and heart sent to the family.

  7. LuAnn says:

    So sad..What a gifted young man he was & his life cut short…Very heartbreaking. .His roommates not taking the polygraph test seems pretty suspicious to me..If not guilty then what’s the problem? I think they both had something to do with Nick’s murder & by taking the polygraph they know they will possibly fail it & then they will be found guilty of the crime…They know exactly what happened….

  8. Thoughts and prayers to Nicks family as they remember this beautiful child

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