Story County in Iowa
Story County in Iowa
Maxwell in Story CountyMaxwell in Story County

Terry Lee Vanden Hull


Terry Lee Vanden Hull
20 YOA
2 ½ miles southeast of Maxwell, IA
Story County
February 24, 1975

Twenty-year-old Terry Lee Vanden Hull of Archer, Iowa, was last seen alive on Monday, February 24, 1975.

Three men moving machinery discovered the young man’s badly decomposed body Thursday morning, April 17, 1975, behind a corn crib on a vacant farm 2-1/2 miles southeast of Maxwell.

Story County authorities identified the body as that of Vanden Hull, and said he apparently died of a slashed throat.

Terry Vanden Hull murder sceneCourtesy photo Bill Weaver, The Nevada Evening Journal
County and state investigators gather near the corn crib where Terry Vanden Hull’s body was found April 17, 1975.

“I believe the death was drug related,” Story County Sheriff John Stark is quoted as saying in a Des Moines Register article published April 18, 1975.

According to Sheriff Stark, Vanden Hull had only recently been released from the drug treatment unit at the State Mental Health Institute at Cherokee on January 31.

Three Maxwell area men were moving machinery at the Colleen Shaffer farm when they found the body sometime between 8:30 and 9 a.m. No one resided at the farm at the time.

John Oxley of Maxwell told the Register that he and two other men, Clyde Martin and Laverne Elding, were moving machinery from a shed at the farm when they discovered the body hidden in a grassy area behind the corn crib.

Register reporter Alan Koonse also wrote:

Sheriff Stark said it is believed the body was at the farm for “about 60 days.” Dr. Donald Powers, Story County medical examiner, performed an autopsy at an Ames hospital Thursday.

A pocketknife was found about 30 to 40 feet from the body, Sheriff Stark said.

Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) agents took the knife and other evidence to the crime laboratory in Des Moines for tests.

Stark said authorities were pursuing Vanden Hull’s death “as a homicide,” and that identification and a small amount of money was found on the victim’s body.

In addition to the money, about 20 earrings were found in Vanden Hull’s pockets, the Nevada Evening Journal reported.

1975-4-18-DMR-terry-vanden-hull-clipCourtesy Des Moines Register, April 18, 1975
Story County Sheriff John Stark said Vanden Hull’s body was believed to have been at the farm about 60 days. (Click to enlarge.)

Prior to his death, Vanden Hull had been staying with friends in the Maxwell and Collins area but hadn’t been seen since mid-to-late February.

“We know he was in Collins in the latter part of February,” Sheriff Stark told the Register.

BCI Director Craig Beek said four agents were assigned to work the case, and that interviews with several persons would be conducted and leads followed.

Three Story County deputies helped BCI agents with the investigation, and despite developing a primary suspect, officials didn’t believe they had sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute the alleged offender.

Terry Vanden Hull’s murder remains unsolved.

About Terry Vanden Hull

Terry Lee Vanden Hull was born August 15, 1954, in Sheldon, Iowa, to Viola (Smith) and Jake Vanden Hull.

terry-vanden-hull-gravestoneCourtesy photo Audrey Boone Winter,
Terry Vanden Hull was laid to rest at the East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon, Iowa.

In addition to his parents, he was survived by two brothers, Todd and Eugene, and one sister, Bonnie.

He was buried at East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon, Iowa, in O’Brien County.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Terry Vanden Hull’s unsolved murder please contact the Story County Sheriff’s Office at 515-382-7458 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6010.



7 Responses to Terry Vanden Hull

  1. Teresa says:

    I grew up in Collins, Iowa. Does anyone know the suspects name?

  2. Diana Wilson says:

    How can anyone live with themselves????

  3. Lyle VandenHull says:

    Not a day has gone by since that I have not thought of him.

    • Susan Sheeler says:

      I pray that this is the year that someone will be held accountable for Terry’s death. I did not know him personally, but I did grow up in Maxwell and have heard rumors for years. People are still alive that have the answers!

  4. Theresa says:

    20 pairs of earrings?

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