Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

Pamela Carter


Pamela Carter
24 YOA
2300 block of Euclid Avenue
Des Moines River Bridge
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Case # 1990-32639
Reported Missing: July 10, 1990
Body Found: August 8, 1990


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Pamela Carter, 24, of Des Moines was last seen alive sometime in late June 1990. Her mother reported her missing to the Des Moines Police Department on July 10, 1990.

Nearly one month later on Wednesday, August 8, police found Carter’s decomposed body in the 2300 block of Euclid Avenue in a wooded area near the Des Moines River Bridge.

State Medical Examiner Thomas Bennett ruled cause of death as strangulation.

Officials discovered Carter’s body after an anonymous caller phoned WHO-TV Channel 13 in Des Moines and claimed there was a black woman in the water near the bridge. The caller also passed along another, more ominous message.

An article published August 11, 1990 in the Cedar Rapids Gazette stated:

DES MOINES (AP) — An anonymous caller who identified the decomposed remains of a young woman has threatened that there will be “many more” such deaths, but Des Moines police say they do not know whether the threat is serious.

“Based on what a caller said, we don’t want to stir up any hype, anxiety or panic in the community,” Police Sgt. Thomas Van Baale said.

But he added, “We certainly are not going to brush it off.”

Police identified a body found Wednesday night near the Des Moines River as that of 25-year-old [sic] Pamela Carter of Des Moines. Her mother had reported her missing July 10.

The cause of death remains unknown pending an autopsy, police said. They have said the woman could be a murder victim.

An anonymous telephone caller accurately described the woman before police identified her Thursday with dental records.

“She is the first, there will be many more,” the caller told WHO television.

He described the body as that of a black woman, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and about 134 pounds. A missing person’s report had listed Carter as 5 feet, 4 inches and 130 pounds.

Van Baale was reluctant to give credence to the caller.

An anonymous telephone caller told police Wednesday about the decomposed body, found just south of a city bridge.

— Cedar Rapids Gazette, Aug. 11, 1990

1990-8-11-crg-pam-carter-body-found-clipCourtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette
This article appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on August 11, 1990.

One week later on August 18, 1990, the Gazette reported:

DES MOINES (AP) — A 24-year-old woman whose body was found in Des Moines last week was strangled, the state medical examiner said Thursday.

Medical Examiner Thomas Bennett said an autopsy of the body of Pamela Carter shows the woman was choked to death. He said she died about a month before her body was found Aug. 8. Des Moines Police Chief William Moulder said Carter apparently was killed elsewhere and then dumped in a wooded area near the Des Moines River.

— Cedar Rapids Gazette, Aug. 18, 1990

1990-8-18-crg-pamela-carter-clipCourtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette
Medical Examiner Thomas Bennett said Pamela Carter had been choked to death, and ruled her death a homicide.

Nearly 10 years later on Tuesday afternoon, June 6, 2000, a second anonymous call alerted police to another body in the Des Moines River on the capitol city’s north side.

As of Wednesday, June 7, police hadn’t released the victim’s name or how she was killed, but said she was black, 13 years old and from Des Moines.

Police found the girl’s body near the spot where Carter’s body had been discovered 10 years earlier. Officials wouldn’t speculate as to whether or not the two cases were related.

A list of the city’s unsolved homicides sent to Iowa Cold Cases on July 10, 2009, showed no open cases for the year 2000.

About Pamela Carter

Pamela Y. Carter was born September 13, 1965. The United States Social Security Death Index lists her date of death as sometime in June 1990.

Pamela Carter’s murder remains unsolved.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Pamela Carter’s unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864.



Copyright © 2024  Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


7 Responses to Pamela Carter

  1. Zach R says:

    These cases remind me of a very creepy occurrence. Back around 2000-2003 a guy that worked on my construction crew would get very jittery everytime we drove over this bridge. The creepy part is when he said “there had been a young girl found choked to death down there years ago”. While telling me this he was rocking back and forth on the truck seat rubbing his hands together. If these are still unsolved I think I need to contact DMPD. I’ve long forgotten this guy’s last name, I’m sure work records are still available…

  2. Porscha Bryant says:

    Whoops typed those in the wrong area.

  3. P bryant says:

    The little girls name was linda williamson. Very sad . I went to school with her for a few years.

    • P bryant says:

      The man that killed 13 year old linda was william carr. He was sentenced years ago and admitted to abusing her. Court records can be found on google.

  4. Pam Dickey Carter, thought of you. Got scared for a second!

  5. My prayers and are sent to them.

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