Steven Kirchhoff

Steven Kirchhoff

Steven Dick Kirchhoff

Missing Person – Suspected Homicide

Name: Steven Dick Kirchhoff
Age at Report: 22
DOB: August 16, 1955
Weight: 140 lbs.
Height: 5′ 11″
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Incident Type: Involuntary, Physically Endangered
Missing From: Waterloo, IA / Cedar Falls, IA
Black Hawk County

Case Number: W78-850
NCIC Number: M-809138678
NamUs MP # 17053
Dentals: Available
Fingerprints: Available
Last Seen Alive: Tuesday, January 24, 1978
Date Reported Missing: February 5, 1978



Steven Kirchhoff’s family has established a new Facebook page for him with hopes of gathering information that might lead to his recovery and justice for both Steven and his family. Visit Steven’s Facebook page here.

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing
Black Hawk County in Iowa
Black Hawk County in Iowa
Waterloo in Black Hawk CountyWaterloo in Black Hawk County

Steven Kirchhoff, 22, was last seen at his Cedar Falls home on Tuesday, January 24, 1978, by his brother, Tommy Kirchhoff. Tommy reported that Steven was wearing a short burnt orange leather jacket, a blue sweater, dark blue corduroy pants, and brown shoes with the word GASS written on the soles.

When Tommy Kirchhoff did not see his brother for the next 12 days, he reported him missing to the Waterloo Police Department on February 5.

Officials believed Kirchhoff may have been involved in the sale of illegal drugs, and foul play has long been suspected in his disappearance. The state lists his case status as involuntary, a category used for people who are missing under circumstances believed to be an abduction.

Kirchhoff was described as being 5’11” tall, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Kirchhoff most recently had worked as a lineman for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad but had been laid off weeks before his disappearance. Nonetheless, Kirchhoff had just purchased a new house and appeared to be in good spirits.

Steven Kirchhoff in 1978

Steven Kirchhoff in 1978 (Courtesy Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Possible connections in case

In 2003, authorities acting on a tip began searching a rural 12-acre farmstead between Fairbank and Denver, Iowa, for evidence related to Kirchhoff’s case.

The farmstead was once owned by a Waterloo man, Lonson “Lonnie” Luloff, who faced life in prison for federal methamphetamine and weapons charges in 1994 but was released in 2000 after cutting a deal with prosecutors.

Richard Forsyth

Richard Forsyth

Investigators at the time described Luloff as one of the biggest drug suppliers in the area, though they uncovered no signs of Kirchhoff when searching the farm ground.

Another missing Iowa man, Richard Forsyth, is believed to have been connected in some way to Kirchhoff’s disappearance.

Press accounts at the time noted that Forsyth was seen carrying something from his apartment wrapped in a rug.

It is here where lines begin to blur of what reportedly happened.

  • Some say Forsyth allegedly paid cash for a Cadillac seven days after Kirchhoff vanished, and disappeared himself in 1979.
  • Others say Forsyth purchased the Cadillac immediately following Kirchhoff’s disappearance but before his body was buried.
  • Kirchhoff’s body, wrapped in the rug, allegedly was carried in the trunk of the Cadillac out to the farmstead where Luloff lived, removed from the trunk and taken inside the home, and then later returned to the Cadillac’s trunk.
  • Once three individuals returned Kirchhoff’s body to the Cadillac’s trunk, they allegedly transported the body to a burial site on University Avenue in Waterloo.
  • It is also alleged Kirchhoff was killed by a neighboring law enforcement officer (not from either the Waterloo or Cedar Falls police departments), and that the three other men were then tasked with disposing of his body.
  • Published reports state the Kirchhoff family tracked Forsyth to his uncle’s home in Arizona, but that Forsyth allegedly learned of the search and fled; there is no evidence to suggest Forsyth was still alive at the time.
  • Some reports stated Kirchhoff resided in Waterloo, Iowa, but Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has said Kirchhoff actually lived in Cedar Falls. He was, however, reporting missing to the Waterloo Police Department.

Both men’s cases remain unsolved.

Uncertainty haunts family

“As long as you’re alive as a mom and dad, you’re still hoping. You never really give up hope,” said Marga Kirchhoff, Steven Kirchhoff’s mother, in a Waterloo Courier article published Monday, April 30, 2001. “Well, I guess you’re hoping for a miracle is what you’re hoping for.”

Fingerprints and dental records are on file and available in Steven Kirchhoff’s case; he had several fillings in his teeth and also had other dental work done.

steven-kirchhoff-headstoneCourtesy photo Couple of Gravers,
Steven Kirchhoff’s parents, Marga and Clarence Kirchhoff, added their son’s name to their gravestone so he’d not be forgotten.

Kirchhoff’s parents have no illusions their son is still alive.

“We know that if Steve were alive, he would have contacted us,” Marga Kirchhoff told the Courier. “If he were alive and knew who he was, he would have contacted us.”

Although Marga Kirchhoff and her husband, Clarence, continue to hope their lost son is still alive, they’ve already added his name to the headstone that will mark their own graves.

“That was a hard thing to do,” Marga said. “One of the reasons we did it was so we at least have Steve’s name some place. If we never get to bury him, it would be like he never lived.”

steven-kirchhoff-gravestone-back Courtesy photo Couple of Gravers,
The headstone for Steven Kirchhoff is erected in the Waterloo Cemetery in Black Hawk County.

Marga said she’d felt relief for another family when Tracy Ann Carson, 39, was laid to rest in late April 2001, more than six months after Tracy disappeared from a La Porte Road tavern. Tracy’s body had been found in Crane Lake on Wednesday, April 23, the victim of a homicide.

“I guess it’s bad when you consider somebody lucky when they find their dead child,” Marga Kirchhoff told the Courier. “It always comes to my mind how lucky they are. Well, I know they’re not lucky because their child is dead.”

Note: Steven Kirchhoff’s father, Clarence Kirchhoff, died at age 91 on March 14, 2020 at UnityPoint Health Allen Hospital in Waterloo.

Information Needed

If you have any information concerning Steven Kirchhoff’s unsolved disappearance and suspected homicide, please contact the Waterloo Police Department at 319-291-4340 ext. 3 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-855-300-TIPS (8477). There is a reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

You may also submit tips anonymously through the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Confidential Web Tip Information System.



8 Responses to Steven Kirchhoff

  1. Tom Zehentner says:

    Does it seem a bit suspicious that Steve’s Girlfriend (Paula Shimek) married another guy (Mark Wilson) less then a month (Feb 26, 1978) after he was reported missing (Feb 5, 1978)? There seems to be some obvious motives there and I wonder if investigators ever followed that lead.

  2. Moon says:

    He looks so much like my nephew that it’s spooky.

  3. Picachu says:

    It should be added that the time that Richard Forsyth was claimed to have carried something wrapped up in a rug, was the very day after Kirchhoff’s disappearance, and Forsyth’s face was also bruised and bloodied.

    It should also be mentioned that before Kirchhoff disappeared, a resident who lived at the place at Maxwell Street where Kirchhoff might potentially have disappeared, described hearing bumping noises and a man’s voice who said; “Oh God, don’t do this to me!”.

    Furher considering that Kirchhoff was believed to have carried up to 8 000 dollars on him when he disappeared, it makes Forsyth look even more suspicious given that he after Kirchhoff’s disappearance suddenly had lots of money and bought a new 200 dollar car the very next day, paying for it with 100 dollar bills.

    Information from here:

    Evil people. Poor, poor Steven.:( And he had a small child and was supposed to marry his girlfriend and mother of that child, too.:(

  4. I agree Tina Carroll. I pray for them to.

  5. Tina Carroll says:

    i pray one day you all find out

  6. 38 years of not knowing has been torturous for our family. Think about how that is as a parent missing a child, a brother wondering what happens to his sibling or a child not knowing what happened to her father. We as a family know he made some bad choices but he was still loved and is missed daily. We all have speculated of course but SOMEONE has to know for sure. I thank those that contacted me with my last plea and beg yet again that if you have any information, please come forward. Our family doesn’t seek “revenge” or “justice” just answers and closure. As years go by many people that were around at the time of this event are passing and I don’t want the truth to go with them to the grave. I beg you all to “share” my plea, and maybe it will reach the weary soul who has lived with the answer so long that are ready to be free of their secret.

    • Daniel King says:

      At the end of the day, we all are people.

    • Lisa Kirchhoff Wetzel, I’m so sorry you’ve never received answers in Steven’s disappearance. I can’t imagine having gone so many years and still not knowing what happened. I also know exactly what you mean about getting to the point where you don’t seek revenge or justice, but simply want answers. I shared this on my regular page as well, and would love nothing more than for someone to finally come forward before it’s too late. I can’t comprehend why anyone would want to take some of these secrets to the grave. My best to all of you. Jody at ICC

Comment Policy

We encourage thoughtful discussion here but ask that comments remain civilized and constructive … i.e. without personal attacks or name-calling. Be respectful of others and remember that victims' family members visit these pages, too. If you'd like to provide us with information regarding a suspect or have other sensitive details to relay, please email us directly. Thank you in advance.

Share Your Thoughts