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The badly burned body of Susan Diane (Wadsworth) Hagen, 44, of Des Moines, was found Thursday morning, February 12, 1998, along the Des Moines River under a bridge by a man walking his dog.
Des Moines police said Hagen’s mostly nude body was located in the 600 block of Birdland Drive. She’d sustained burns all over her body, though officials were unable to determine whether she had been sexually assaulted.
“Detectives are currently looking for an individual who is not only a killer, but, judging by the treatment of the victim, a very demented human being,” Sgt. Bruce Elrod is quoted as saying at a February 13 press conference, according to an article published February 14 in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Two days later, another body was discovered near the site where Hagen’s body was found. Police identified the man — who had been shot to death — as that of 20-year-old Ky Van Luong, also of Des Moines.
Luong’s body had been dumped along a bike path, where it was found at approximately 8 a.m.
In a February 15 article published in the Gazette, police said they did not believe the two deaths were connected.
Susan Diane (Wadsworth) Hagen was born September 28, 1953, in Des Moines to Perry D. and Marjorie F. (Meyer) Wadsworth.
She graduated from Newton High School in 1972.
A longtime resident of Newton, she also lived in Marshalltown and Des Moines. She was employed as a bookkeeper and was a member of the Congregational Church of Christ and Past Rainbow Girls.
Survivors included three sons, Brett Waugh of Newton, Tanner Hagen of Idaho Springs, Colo., and Gary Shaw of Marshalltown; two daughters and a son-in-law, Lisa and Kevin Saucier of Cheyenne, Wyo. and Desiree Shaw of Marshalltown; a brother, Steven P. Wadsworth of Newton; and her mother of Newton.
She was preceded in death by her father and grandparents.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at the Wallace-Pence Funeral Home in Newton, with the Rev. David Raymond, pastor of the Congregational United Church of Christ, officiating.
Susan was buried in the Newton Union Cemetery in Jasper County.
If you have any information regarding Susan Hagen’s unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at 515-283-4864.