Tim Earney’s senior profile, published Feb. 26, 1973 in the Monroe County News. (Courtesy photo)

Timothy Charles Earney


Timothy Charles Earney
29 YOA
Case # 84-00561
322 N. Eighth St.
Albia, IA
Monroe County
February 2, 1984

Timothy C. Earney, 29, was found dead in his 322 N. Eighth St. Albia home on Thursday, Feb. 2, 1984, by his live-in girlfriend, Dorothy Lee Kempf, 45.

Monroe County in Iowa
Monroe County in Iowa
Albia in Monroe CountyAlbia in Monroe County

He’d been shot twice in the head.

According to Kempf, Earney drove her to work at Kendall school at 7 a.m. and was supposed to pick her up at 1 p.m. When he didn’t show up, Kempf said she walked home and found Earney lying on the living room floor.

Investigators quickly centered their attention on Kempf’s estranged husband, 48-year-old Harold G. Kempf of 317 W. Fifth St. in Ottumwa.

Death threats

Mrs. Kempf had lived with Earney in Albia after leaving her husband just over one month earlier in late December. Papers filed at the Wapello County Courthouse in Ottumwa show that Mrs. Kempf told investigators her husband had threatened to kill Earney and was in the victim’s house “on at least one occasion while armed with a handgun,” the Des Moines Register reported Feb. 16, 1984.

State Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Bennet conducted Earney’s autopsy and reported Earney died from a gunshot wound.

Kempf also told investigators her husband threatened to throw a gasoline bomb through the window of Earney’s home and made “various threats on Earney’s life” in the presence of several witnesses, Monroe County Sheriff Dennis M. Carr said in a statement filed with applications for search warrants.

On January 1, Harold Kempf, a laborer and carpenter, also told his estranged wife “he could get rid of Earney any time he wanted to,” Carr said in his statement.

Reported the Register’s Nick Lamberto:

In the application for warrants, officers said they were looking for information “pertaining to written documents associated with murder, suicide or injury to other persons as well as dynamite and ammunition, clothing, rubber gloves and various firearms, rifles, shotguns and handguns.

On Feb. 4, Carr obtained three search warrants for Harold Kempf’s Ottumwa property. Carr later requested and was granted a fourth search warrant.

Officers indicated they were looking for guns, ammunition and clothing as well as various other items, the Albia Union-Republican reported on Thursday, Feb. 16, 1984. In the application for the fourth warrant, officers said they were looking for boxes of cleaning supplies and toilet paper addressed to Kendall School where Mrs. Kempf worked.

The Albia Union-Republican reported Feb. 16, 1984 that, according to reports filed Tuesday with the Wapello County clerk of court, items seized included:

  • ammunition
  • clothing
  • papers
  • a gun
  • cleaning supplies
  • toilet paper
  • trash bags

The Wapello County Sheriff’s Department, Ottumwa and Albia police, and agents with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in executing the search warrants.

In one search warrant document on file at Ottumwa, Sheriff Car said investigators were seeking to match bullets and a gun with the head wound Earney died from, and also trying to find a rubber glove with a finger missing since a “rubbery substance belived to be the finger of a glove” was found by the body, the Registered said in the Feb. 16 article.

Ottumwa Magistrate Samuel K. Erhardt signed the warrants shortly after Earney’s death.

James L. Mitchell, superintendent of the Albia Community School District, confirmed Earney worked as a school bus driver and also helped deliver hot lunches from Lincoln Middle School to three elementary schools. On the day of his death, Mitchell said Earney drove his school bus route in the morning but failed to show up to deliver lunches at 10:30 a.m.

Mrs. Kempf also worked for the school district as a custodian at Kendall School. Mitchell said she hadn’t returned to work since Earney’s death and did not know where she was.

One of 150 cases DCI Cold Case Unit pursues

When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Earney’s unsolved murder was one of about 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit ran out in December 2011 and the unit shut down, though 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.

timothy-earney-gravestoneCourtesy photo Karen Ahn, findagrave.com
Timothy Earney is buried in Oakview Cemetery in Albia.
About Timothy Earney

Timothy Charles Earney, 29, of 322 N. Eighth St. died of a gunshot wound at his Albia, Iowa home Feb. 2, 1984.

He was born in Albia Dec. 21, 1954, the son of Charles Evan and Carolyn Kruse Earney. He worked as a bus driver and worked for the Albia Community School District.

Survivors included his mother, Carolyn Earney of Albia, two sisters, Kimberly Jaimes and Karen Earney, both of Des Moines, and grandfather, Marvin Kruse of Albia.

His father preceded him in death.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church with the Rev. Richard L. Sebeniecher officiating. Burial followed in Oakview Cemetery in Albia. Geyer Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

A memorial for Earney was established at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Timothy Earney’s unsolved murder please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010, email dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us, or contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at( 641) 932-7815.



33 Responses to Timothy Earney

  1. Duane Kruse says:

    Harold Kempf cheated justice. He died in 2021.

  2. Duane Kruse says:

    Tim is my cousin. In 2019, I sent letters to the newspapers in Ottumwa and Albia and have not gotten any responses. Please help by writting more letters.

  3. LakeLife says:

    Praying the truth comes out!

  4. Jim john says:

    Smh why would a young guy with his own house date a old fart who’s married 🤦‍♂️

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      Maybe she was not an old fart by his standards. I am involved with a woman is about 6 years older me. She was a good looking woman then and now. I also love my grandkids and great grandkids.

      Also, her husband sounds like he was abusive and felt safe with the victim. This is at a time that domestic violence was not exactly dealt with by law enforcement and the courts.

      This would have been true in a small town.

  5. Syble Anne Dennison says:

    Harold Kempf is my uncle by marriage. I totally believe he was/is capable of something like this.

  6. Mindy Sager says:

    This was one of my dad’s best friends Gaylon Sager and we’ve always known what really happened albia pd needed their shit together or to bring in outside agencies. Gone but never forgotten! He would always tell on me when I didn’t eat my school lunch lol :(

    • Norm says:

      Hi ive recently found out this man Is Kin to me. I would love to sit down and speak with u at somepoint if thats possiable. Im really fixon to make a whole lotra noise or damb well gonna five it my all

      • Patrick Kerrigan says:

        It sure seems like someone dropped the ball on checking the evidence. It could be that maybe the recovered property did not connect him to the crime. But the ex-husband sounds like a class guy, from the comments. But enough agencies were involved in the searches and they should have come up with something. not y could not connect the ex-husband to the crime.

  7. DeAnn Torres says:

    Sad…….I have a cousin who’s a cold case

  8. Debra Moriston says:

    have they found the girlfriend?

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Debra, the girlfriend was 45-year-old Dorothy Lee Kempf, the estranged wife of Harold G. Kempf, 48, of 317 W. Fifth St. in Ottumwa. Harold Kempf became the primary focus of the investigation. I’ll keep searching for more information about this case.

  9. Joshua Brown says:

    Iowa seems to be the Bermuda triangle for things. A lot of these cases it makes you wonder if they found evidence but as some of you have said not enough to make a case. Just makes you wonder and makes you kind of leery.

  10. So they collected items from the search warrant and then nothing? Makes you think they found some evidence but not enough to make a case.

    • LakeLife says:

      That’s what I was thinking!
      They went back FOUR times!!
      You are not going to go back FOUR times unless you found something incriminating.

  11. Daniel King says:

    And then a few months later on July 1, 1984- Harry Dennis Milligan goes missing from Albia, Iowa. I wonder what was going on in Albia, during the year 1984. :(

  12. Nan S says:

    Albia is a small town and I wonder if there is any connection between this case and the cold case of Harry Milligan who disappeared from Albia one day short of five months later on July, 1, 1984 and is still listed as a cold case.

  13. Lori says:

    JODY, let me get this straight. The Police think this can be solved using DNA but they haven’t tested it due to lack of funds!? If that were my brother or son or uncle or friend I would not be able to contain my anger.

    DAMN THE COST! The police or the State should figure out where to get the funds from and use DNA testing on all their older cold cases. Why would we not try to capture a cold blooded criminal? They better pray to God this killer hasn’t killed again…

    • Norm says:

      I just found out he is kin to me. Im goma brain storm ideas in how to get funding for cold cases period n if it ran as a non profit forwarding funds we can have an E board to over see that the funds aee used fie what they r intended foe. U actually helped paint the DCI,CSI Labs in Ankeny

    • LakeLife says:

      They have funding for everything else, but not to track down a murderer?!

  14. LuAnn Eggers says:

    Could the girlfriend have been involved in this? Maybe, possibly drug-related?? Did she have an albi???

  15. bev says:

    what was girlfriends name

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