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Scott M. Tompkins, 23, was shot by an assailant(s) on November 29, 1995, while stopped to fix his windshield wipers at the intersection of Park Avenue and Harrison Street in Muscatine, Iowa.
Tompkins, 23, was found wounded at 9:43 p.m. only blocks from the Hardee’s restaurant where he worked as the assistant manager. He was transported to Muscatine General Hospital, where he was able to make a statement to police before dying.
Hardee’s employees were stunned to learn of his death, and Manager Chris Park described Tompkins as “just a real nice young man” and said he didn’t believe Tompkins had “an enemy in the world.”
Park said Tompkins had worked at the restaurant for six years but did not work the day of his murder. He said Tompkins had a real good future with the restaurant and “would do anything for anybody.”
Capt. Robert Torgerson of the Muscatine Police Department said the homicide was not related to Tompkins’ job.
Tompkins lived on the city’s south side. His car was found on Grand Avenue a block away from his body, and reports indicated a trail of blood led from the vehicle to where his body was found.
In a November 30, 2005 Muscatine Journal Letter to the Editor, Scott’s mother Sharon Tompkins stated her son was stalked before being murdered 10 years earlier, and expressed her concern over gangs in the Muscatine area. She wrote:
“Scott wasn’t happy with the way things were going [regarding gangs in Muscatine] and tried to help where he could. I think he realized he was fighting a losing battle. Between that and the threats, he was ready to leave town.”
Of the suspects, Sharon Tompkins said she’d been following their trail through police reports and scuttlebutt, and that [the family] had no rose-colored glasses with which they viewed Muscatine.
“We don’t have to go far to find terrorists,” she told the Journal. “They’re all over town.”
Sharon Tompkins said she doesn’t really expect justice to be doled out to all involved, but asked the public to keep “eyes and ears open” and not “blindly trust everyone.” She encouraged those with information to contact Crime Stoppers.
In February 2010, Police Detective John Quinn said he hoped new technology would provide the key to charging someone with Tompkins’ murder.
“I’ve stumbled upon something that may or may not help the case,” Quinn told the Journal in a story published February 15, 2010. “There have been new technologies developed and evidence has been submitted and that is still being looked at.”
A 22-year veteran of the Muscatine Police Department, Quinn said investigators have a constant flow of cases but dig through cold case evidence in search of new clues as time allows. The department also researches developing technologies they believe might help solve a case.
When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Tompkins’ murder was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.
Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.
The DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.
Scott Tompkins was buried at Island Cemetery in Fruitland in Muscatine County.
To date, no one has been charged with his murder and the investigation remains open through the Muscatine County Attorney’s office and the Iowa DCI.
If you have any information about Scott Tompkins’ unsolved murder please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Muscatine Police Department at 563-263-9922.