Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

Timothy Friedel

Suspicious Death

Timothy Friedel
25 YOA
Wooded Area
Northwest Des Moines
Polk County
June 6, 1974

Timothy Friedel, 25, of 5419 Ovid Ave., Des Moines, was found dead in a water-filled ditch in northwest Des Moines on Thursday, June 6, 1974.

According to one of Friedel’s nieces, police told the family Tim was driving fast and dangerously and then crashed and ran from the scene, somehow ending up in a creek, drowned. She said police filed it as a crash report and accidental death.

A Carroll Times Herald article dated Thursday, June 6, 1974, described the incident as follows:

Des Moines — The body of an apparent victim of a traffic accident and drowning was found Thursday in a wooded area in the northwest part of the city.

Authorities believe Timothy Friedel, 25, Des Moines, drowned after he tumbled off an embankment into a water-filled ditch. His car had struck a utility pole.

The body was about 160 feet from the wrecked auto.

According to the niece, however, Friedel had not been thrown from the vehicle because foot prints led from the crash site down to the creek where he’d later be found not just drowned, but also having suffered numerous other injuries.

She described her uncle as a known drug dealer involved in the drug trade in Des Moines. She said her aunt told her the family later found out that Friedel was actually being pursued by another vehicle at the time and had been driving fast and erratically. Once he crashed his car, she said, the driver of the other vehicle pursued him on foot toward the creek.

The niece said officials did not record the condition in which her uncle’s body was found, but that both Friedel’s brother and his father went to see the body after its recovery. He’d been severely beaten, the niece said, with his face covered in bruises and he had a large gash on his forehead by his hairline. Additionally, Friedel had worn high-heeled disco shoes at the time, and the heel from one of the shoes was found in the back of his car.

His aunt tried to track down what happened, the niece said, but was told it would be dangerous for her to proceed and that she’d been threatened to the point of dropping the investigation.

The family believes Friedel’s cause of death involved a hit-and-run, beating, blunt force trauma and drowning.

About Timothy Friedel

Timothy C. Friedel was born in Moline, Ill., March 15, 1949, to Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Friedel, and lived in Des Moines, Iowa most of his life.

Timothy Friedel gravestone

Timothy Friedel is buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Des Moines. (Photo courtesy Strato at findagrave)

He graduated from East High School and was employed as an auto body repairman. He was a member of the Gatchel United Methodist Church.

He died on Thursday, June 6, 1974, at age 25.

Services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 1974, at the Caldwell-Brien-Robbins Funeral Home. Timothy was laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Survivors included a daughter, Michaila (Missy), a son, Thomas, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Friedel, three brothers, Douglas, Daniel and David, two sisters, Rebecca and Diane, maternal grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. R. E. Warner, and paternal grandmother, Mrs. Agnes Friedel, all of Des Moines.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Timothy Friedel’s mysterious death please contact the Des Moines Police Department at (515) 283-4864 or Polk County Crime Stoppers (anonymously) at 515-223-1400.

  • Katherine Friedel, personal correspondence to Iowa Cold Cases, March 17, 2016
  • Timothy C. “Tim” Friedel (1949 – 1974) — Find a Grave Memorial
  • “Obituaries: Timothy Friedel,” The Des Moines Register, Friday, June 7, 1974
  • Briefs, Carroll Daily Times Herald, Page 2, Thursday, June 6, 1974
  • “D.M. Trio Sent To Eldora for Attacking Girl,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette (AP), Thursday, November 4, 1965
  • “Say Group of Boys Did Not Ignore Assault,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette (AP), Friday, October 22, 1965


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