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Two-year-old Shawna Marie Johnson died in Des Moines on Tuesday, January 4, 1972.
Other details of her death aren’t quite so clear.
In the toddler’s obituary — published Thursday, January 6, 1972 in the Des Moines Register — the family stated the child died of diabetes at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines.
Des Moines police investigators, however, classified Shawna’s death as a homicide, and cited the crime location as 1336 18th St. in Des Moines.
The little girl lived with her mother and four siblings at 1407 18th St. in Des Moines at the time of her death. The family — who’d previously been living in California — had lived in Des Moines for just over a year.
Four decades after the tot’s death, her case remains listed as unsolved with the Des Moines Police Department.
Shawna Marie Johnson was born October 10, 1969, in Sen Bernardino, Calif., to LeRoy and Nevha Johnson. Graveside services were held at 10 a.m. Friday, January 7, 1972, at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines where Shawna was buried.
Survivors included her mother, Mrs. Nevha Johnson of 1407 18th St., Des Moines, and her father, LeRoy Johnson, of San Bernardino; a sister, Angela, and three brothers, Christopher, Phillip and Daniel, all at home; and a paternal grandmother, Mrs. Okrita Johnson of Ottumwa.
If you have any information about Shawna Johnson’s unsolved homicide please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at (515) 283-4864.
If you have any details about Shawna Johnson’s life or photos you’d like to contribute for her case summary page on Iowa Cold Cases, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Full photo credit will be given unless anonymity is requested.