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



Dec. 8, 2021 – The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Nicholas White cold case has increased to $30,000.

According to a Nov. 30, 2021 message to Iowa Cold Cases from Nick’s father, Ron White, the family has increased their commitment of the reward to $29,000. Polk County Crime Stoppers continue to offer a $1,000 reward, for a total of $30,000.

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. (Note: in Dec. 2021 the family increased their commitment to $29K. There now stands a $30K reward in the case.)

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.



31 Responses to Nicholas White

  1. KA says:

    Can someone tell me why they wont release how he passed? This whole thing just doesn’t add up- at all. Like is there a reason they are holding the cause of death back?

    • Stay Strong! says:

      Probably to validate the veracity of a tip or confession if either materializes.

      Seems solvable but only if someone talks.

      This is another act of violence that is tough to swallow. A young man, just starting out. Seemed like an impressive and good guy.

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      KA, it seems some law enforcement agencies hold back some details, on homicides. I have seen where some police agency, claim they are holding back the cause of death to protect the investigation.

      Yet, we have a number of agencies that released that the person was strangled, shot, stabbed, blunt force trauma, etc. was the cause of death. So, there is nothing uniform about it. If I remember right there are three cases on this forum, where the victim was murdered, but how they were murdered is not stated.

      It bothers me that holding back the cause of death, on a cold case that has not been solved for more then 20 or more years, just bugs the heck out of me. Some agencies will hold back some other detail such as a ring was missing from a victim.

      They will use the excuse that they don’t want someone wandering in and confessing to a crime, that they did not commit. So, holding back some details is a way of preventing it.

  2. Philinise Y Hamlin says:

    First,I would like to offer My condolences to This Family. No parent should have to bury their Child. I am sorry to say this but I feel that those roommates are involved. Who else would have just out the blue,come and murder Him when he was well respected and Loved? Those roommates did it! Shame on them for not taking a polygraph test. Shame on them for letting these Marks Family and Friends go through the pain.
    Y’all know what you did.
    It’s gotta to be killing you inside
    How do you sleep at night?

    • Sarah Ashby says:

      Hi. One of Nick’s best friends here.

      You have no idea what you are talking about. You didn’t even know Nick. If you did, then you would know that his friends were more of a family to him than his blood relatives who were abusive and manipulative.

      Your baseless accusations are hurtful and gross.

      • Ron White says:

        Thanks Sarah. I guess that I should check you off of my Christmas card list. As Nicholas would say, INTERESTING.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I agree that money should be fund a Cold Case Unit. In Tulsa County, they created a charitable foundation, to support their operations. A criminal justice professor does not believe in cold case units. I think they are worth the money, to clear a case that was not solved many years ago.

    We need to relook at all these cases, with fresh eyes. Also, we have new forensic tools that are available then look for DNA and other evidence. However, the roommates, need to step up and take the polygraph test. They lived there and found the body, they should know something.

  4. Mr White says:

    I must also add how the DMPD pushed Nicholas White’s family in the direction of the roommates being under a huge umbrella of being a suspect. They were feeding lies in place of positive results. It’s a game it appears. I reevaluate my life very often and blame myself for many events and try to make corrections. I’m not anywhere near to perfect.
    thank you.

  5. Mr White says:

    I do believe that we should let all of these young men rest in peace from now on. If the police cannot build a case, they are considered innocent. I don’t believe Nicholas would want them to suffer with him. Although he is in Heaven now and better off than any of us on this planet I feel. I do have some strong feelings about the DMPD and also how other police agencies handle homicide cases. As they say on TV crime shows, if not solved in the first 72 hours, it will probably not be solved. The thing hiding behind that is the police will drop it after 72 hours and at the very most somewhat pursue it to 168 hours.(7 days) Then they drop it. They do incomplete investigations in my opinion. I questioned a lead detective about completely searching a dumpster next to the house for a discarded weapon, He did not search it completely,felt it sufficient, said that they could take it down to the DMPD and dump it in the parking lot to inspect and did not, but proclaimed no amount of money and time would inhibit how deeply they investigated. Part of that was true. Disclosures in the DM register reported the two detectives collected 25,000 to 35,000 in overtime the prior year on top of their already healthy salary. They have no Cold Case investigators on staff, but that includes most police departments. Some do, and when they do, they produce results. Seems if they have no results on current homicide investigations, and they are collecting large amounts of funds in overtime, that they should do away with it and use those funds to hire a couple cold case detectives. Otherwise, it is an endless cycle, Just look at Iowa cold cases, or perhaps any states cold case backlog. People can easily get away with murder it appears unless it is domestic related.
    Totally my observations and opinion.

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

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

  9. 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.

    • Philinise Yvonne Hamlin says:

      Hmmmmmm. Sounds like You trying to help them stay hush hush. It has to be killing You to not come forth and say something that will put thos to rest. You mentioned Nick was a nice kid. Help his Family. Stop protecting killers

      • SJA says:

        You know NOTHING about this situation. How fucking dare you come here and make accusations about people you don’t even know. You should be Seriously ashamed of yourself. What a disgusting human you are.

        • Ron White says:

          Sarah Ashby. You should calm down and perhaps talk to a professional. Venting here, such as you are, is of no benefit.

        • Phil says:

          Look Sarah, You are right. I don’t know NOTHING about Nick or HIS family and such. I obviously only read the article so it seems kind of weird that you would come at me and ONLY me as though I did something irrational. This comment section is for everyone to come forth with information, condolences and trying to make sense of the cold cases in Our State. On the other hand, I am absolutely allowed to feel like it’s very obvious and suspect that the ONLY 2 people that happen to be the last people to see Him alive just happened to be his roommate in the house where Nicholas was found deceased and they aren’t talking nor were any help but they were his “friends”. How does this make me disgusting? I’ll tell you one thing. NEVER in this life would I EVER allow another parent, family, etc., to go to sleep and wake up day in and day out knowing full well that something happen to their child. You have to have peace and a good conscience to sleep to be able to sleep at night.. What did Nicholas do to deserve this? What did his Parents do? Huh?
          Nothing. The people who took his life and have the answers and aren’t coming forward to give this Family peace are the disgusting ones. As a best friend. You should be more upset at that than me. Sorry for your loss.

    • Ron White says:

      Might mention that they all lawyer’ed up immediately. One of the room mates fathers had money and funded it from what I was told by DMPD.

      • Phil says:

        I am sorry Sir. I do not mean any harm to You and Your Family. I just got upset that your Son’s murderers have not gotten punished. I am a Mother and can not imagine what it feels like to be going through this. I just allowed my feelings to get the best of me. I am sorry for the loss of Nicholas.

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. Holly Rice says:

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

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