Bob Hatcher (Courtesy KETV Channel 7)

Robert Hatcher

Homicide

Robert Scott Hatcher
38 YOA
Iowa Riverfront Trail
Beneath Interstate 480 Bridge
Council Bluffs, IA (jurisdiction)
Pottawattamie County
March 8, 2007

Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Pottawattamie County in Iowa
Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, IA Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County


 

Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing

On March 8, 2007, Robert Scott Hatcher, 38, was shot seven times near Playland Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as he stood on the Iowa Riverfront Trail beneath the Interstate 480 Bridge on the city’s western edge.

Courtesy WOWT-TV

In November 2008, stepbrothers Jimmy Joe Caballero, 22, and Derek Gaston, 25, were arrested in connection with Hatcher’s death and charged with first-degree murder, but the charges were dropped by February 2009.

According to a March 13, 2011 article published in the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil by Chad Nation — who has written extensively about this case:

Informants had told investigators a number of stories about the two men, but little physical evidence existed.

At the time of the dismissals, an assistant Pottawattamie County attorney said the state needed more time to investigate the case further to make sure the charges were against the right person.

There was evidence that needed further evaluation before the case proceeded, and additional witnesses were also being sought.

Nothing else has ever been filed.

Family members told the Nonpareil that Robert was walking back from a job fair, and the paper said documents indicated Hatcher was there to meet two men about a money issue.

The Nonpareil also stated:

Court documents indicated that sources told authorities the murder weapon was thrown in the Missouri River. So while the case is not closed, it is not considered active either.

Going to end up a cold case?

On the four-year anniversary of Hatcher’s death, his family held a memorial in his honor and released balloons.

When the five-year anniversary arrived, Hatcher’s parents, Bill and Marjorie Hatcher, told KETV Channel 7 in Omaha they’d nearly run out of hope. They hoped that by telling their story, someone would come forward and provide a clue to what happened to their son.

“Bob was always the one that called me all the time, so I miss all of his phone call,” Marjorie Hatcher told KETV. “It just feels like there’s a big hole in your heart.”

Mrs. Hatcher described her son as a shy man who would help anyone, and said it had to be someone with a mean reason for having shot [Bob] that many times.

The couple memorialized their son by planting an evergreen tree in front of their Treynor home.

Bob Hatcher was laid to rest at the Zion Congregational Cemetery. (Courtesy billiongraves.com)

Bob Hatcher was laid to rest at the Zion Congregational Cemetery in Treynor. (Courtesy billiongraves.com)

Bill Hatcher told KETV they are frustrated that justice hasn’t yet come for their son. “It seems like it’s going to end up being a cold case,” he said.

“We thought maybe if somebody saw it again, somebody would remember something,” his wife added.

The couple acknowledged nothing would bring back their son, but believe someone knows who killed him and why.

“It would give us some closure and maybe we’d find out why,” Hatcher’s mother told Channel 7 News.

Police, parents seek community’s help

On the seven-year anniversary of their son’s death, the Hatchers spoke with Daily Nonpareil reporter Mike Brownlee in a month that also would have included Hatcher’s birthday.

“It’s bad. This is always a bad time,” Marjorie Hatcher said in the Nonpareil article published March 9, 2014.

Robert Hatcher would have turned 46 years old on March 21, 2014.

“A lot of things can change in seven years,” Sgt. Chad Meyers of the police department’s criminal investigation division told the Nonpareil. “We’re asking for the community’s help. If you’ve heard something, anything — even just a rumor — give us a call.”

Council Bluffs police received a number of leads in the case over the years, but none that Meyers said were substantial enough to result in an arrest. Meyers still believes the case can be closed, and told the Nonpareil:

“It’s a case that’s solvable. We just need the right info.” ~ Sgt. Chad Meyers

Read the full Nonpareil article: Police, parents seek community’s help to solve 2007 murder

10 years later, still seeking answers

March 8, 2017, marked 10 years since Robert Hatcher’s murder, and in another interview with the Omaha World-Herald’s Mike Brownlee, his family reflected on what it’s been like 10 years without Robert.

“Some closure would be wonderful,” Marjorie Hatcher said. “We miss him so much.”

Sgt. Mark Stuart with the Council Bluffs Police Department said the agency has reassigned the still-open case, the World-Herald reported. 

Stuart said detectives planned to review the case material, possibly determining whether advancements in technology would warrant retesting evidence. Stuart said there’s nothing to suggest the first investigation wasn’t complete and thorough, but said the department thought another look could be helpful.

“It’ll never be over until the family gets their day in court,” Stuart told Brownlee.

The murder weapon has yet to be found.

The Hatchers’ daughter, Billie Jo Gubbels of Council Bluffs, died in December 2016 at age 50 from liver disease.

“It’s just really hard to start every day and know two of your kids are gone, you’re never going to see them again,” Majorie Hatcher said in the March 2017 article. “Your heart is just empty.”

robert-hatcher-tombstoneCourtesy photo Cindy Christensen, Daily Nonpareil
Bob Hatcher is buried at the Zion Congregational Cemetery in Treynor, Iowa.
About Robert Hatcher

Robert Scott Hatcher was born March 21, 1968, in Council Bluffs to William C. and Marjorie Ann Hatcher.

He graduated from Treynor High School in 1987, and at one time worked at the Travel America Cafe in Council Bluffs.

He’d worked as a cook at Ameristar Casino before his death.

In addition to his parents, Robert was survived by his wife, Christine; a brother, Tim; and sister Billie Jo.

He was buried at the Zion Congregational Cemetery in Treynor, Iowa.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Robert Hatcher’s unsolved murder, please contact the Council Bluffs Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (712) 328-4765 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-7867.

Callers may remain anonymous, and a reward is possible.

 

KETV Channel 7 Omaha: Interview with Bill and Marjorie Hatcher
January 27, 2012

Sources:
  • Council Bluffs Police Department
  • 10 years after son’s slaying, Treynor, Iowa, family still seeks answers,” by Mike Brownlee, The Omaha World-Herald, March 12, 2017
  • Police, parents seek community’s help to solve 2007 murder – The Daily Nonpareil – Council Bluffs, Iowa: Local News, by Mike Brownlee, Sunday, March 9, 2014
  • “Iowa Family Wants Closure in Son’s Murder Case: Bob Hatcher Killed 5 Years Ago in Council Bluffs,” KETV Omaha, January 27, 2012
  • “Four years later, family of slain area man still seeks answers,” The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, March 13, 2011
  • “Caballero pleads to reduced drug charge,” by Chad Nation, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, March 6, 2009
  • “Murder charges dismissed in Council Bluffs shooting,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, February 11, 2009
  • “County seeks dismissal of second murder charge,” Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, February 10, 2009
  • “Charges dropped in deadly Council Bluffs shooting,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, February 7, 2009
  • “Murder charges dropped — for now,” Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, February 6, 2009
  • “Affidavit: Murder weapon thrown in river,” by Chad Nation, Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, November 14, 2008
  • “BillionGraves Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VT78-JHV : 24 June 2015), Robert Scott hatcher, died 08 Mar 2007; citing BillionGraves https://billiongraves.com/ : 2012), Burial at Treynor Zion Congregational Cemetery, Treynor, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States.
  • “Arrests Made In 2007 Murder: Three Council Bluffs men in custody,” WOWT 6 Online, October 31, 2008
  • Unsolved slaying haunts retired Bluffs officer,” Omaha World-Herald, April 30, 2008
  • “Breaking News: Three arrested in connection with 2007 murder,” SW Iowa News, October 31, 2008
  • Council Bluffs shooting victim identified,” by Kevin Cole, World-Herald Staff Writer, BikeIowa.com, March 12, 2007
  • Briefs, Council Bluffs Associated Press, March 12, 2007
  • “Council Bluffs shooting victim recalled as quiet,” by Kevin Cole, Omaha World-Herald, March 10, 2007
  • “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JGN4-K59 : 20 May 2014), Robert S Hatcher, 08 Mar 2007; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • Robert Scott “Bob” Hatcher (1968 – 2007) — Find a Grave Memorial
  • Robert hatcher Obituary – Iowa – Tributes.com 
Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

5 Responses to Robert Hatcher

  1. MARJORIE A. HATCHER says:

    Robert (Bob) Hatcher was our son. We just saw this website and are wondering what you do other than write about the person. Do you do any investigating? I can send a picture of Bob. But would like to find out more about this website first. He was a loving person who would do anything for anyone he just wanted to be loved as much as he loved everyone else. We miss him a lot and wish that the people responsible for murdering him would be caught.
    Thanks and would love to have you contact me at my email address and give me more information about this website.

    Marjorie A. Hatcher

  2. Terrance says:

    For some of these cases..it has been almost 30 years! I am outraged that the Council Bluffs, ia. police department and the state,..also the government would just keep pushing these cases aside! Robert..Linda Mayfield..Lee Rotatori..John P. Adams, Jr…Kimberly Ratliff & the list has started to GROW since even before 1982. Three of these killings took place the SAME year,. from april 9th till july 11th of 82..and nobody knows anything??? When you see things go unfinished and the killer still free as a bird it sends a clear message….IF it were your son, daughter, sister, brother, mother, father, grandparent….YOU would care.

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Terrance,

      Thank you for writing, but please know the Council Bluffs PD is “not” pushing these cases aside. As with most cases in other cities, investigators often have a suspect or suspects but lack enough rock solid evidence (a DNA match, etc.) to prosecute, which is what they need in order to ensure a conviction.

      Juries usually won’t convict without that solid evidence, and once the person has been tried and acquitted, they can never be tried again for the crime — even if a DNA match is made at a later date — because of Double Jeopardy laws. Quite a lot goes on “behind the scenes” that isn’t released to the public because it might jeopardize a case.

      Also, even though police are the ones who make the arrests, the DA’s office handles the charges and prosecution, and they need that evidence to proceed. We at ICC often hear “everybody knows who did it,” but prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did, and one of the biggest obstacles they face is that witnesses often refuse to come forward or testify.

      Many LE officers — those first responders who originally worked the case — will spend their entire careers still tracking down leads in attempts to solve the case, and some continue to follow up even after they’ve retired. They “do” care. But there’s only so much they can do without solid evidence or the public’s willingness to step forward with what they know. And, as history has shown, even rewards often go unclaimed. Nobody wants to be a “snitch” because they value their own life more than the reward money. It’s sad, but true.

      Jody

  3. I hope and pray that someone comes
    forward. My heart and thoughts are with the family.

  4. Diana Wilson says:

    I agree with your comments, Penny.

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