Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton in Clinton CountyClinton in Clinton County

Unidentified: Pregnant Black Female


VICTIM’S AGE: Approx. 12 – 23 YOA
Black/African American
100 to 120, Estimated
5’2″ – 5’4″, Estimated
Found in Mississippi River
Clinton County, IA
NUMBER: 2622
: April 11, 1975


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

On Friday, April 11, 1975, a commercial fisherman from Sabula discovered a woman’s nude body in the Mississippi River near a mud bar north of Clinton, Iowa, about a half mile south of the Clinton County and Jackson County line. Officials believed the young woman — an African American — to be in her early 20s though stated she may have been as young as 12.

She had been killed by a gunshot wound to the head, just behind her right ear. The badly decomposed body made it difficult to determine exact time of death, though officials estimated it as sometime in early 1975.

An autopsy indicated the victim was approximately 10 weeks pregnant at the time of death.

Forty-year-old Raymond Woodhurst and his 16-year-old son, Lloyd, found the woman’s body after a neighbor told them earlier that week that he’d seen an animal or body in the river.

Woodhurst and his son went out in their boat the following Friday, and once they discovered the woman’s body went immediately back to shore to telephone police.

The woman was described as being between 5’2″ and 5’4″, weighing 100 to 120 pounds and being of average build with black hair.

Police followed up on several leads, checking reports of missing women from East Dubuque, Ill, all the way to North Carolina, but all led to dead ends.

Fingerprints and dental charts were made, but those, too, proved unsuccessful in determining the woman’s identity or identifying any suspects that may have been involved in her murder.

The woman had no tattoos on her body, and DNA was not yet advanced to the point where strands of hair could have been taken and submitted for testing. Facts about the woman’s case were entered into the National Crime Information Computer System with hopes of obtaining a possible match with a missing-person report, but that, too, has thus far failed to provide any answers.

More than 26 years after the body’s discovery, Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln told the Quad-City Times that her death still haunts investigators, but that they just never had enough clues to help pinpoint who she was or why she was killed.

“Some of the older deputies who were around then said maybe somebody out of Chicago or Milwaukee had a pregnant girlfriend and got rid of her. We might never know,” Lincoln said in the August 6, 2001 Times article.

The decedent was buried in an unmarked grave in a Clinton cemetery. She remains Iowa’s oldest unidentified body.

Information Needed

If you have any information about this unidentified woman please contact the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office at 563-242-9211.



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22 Responses to Unidentified: Pregnant Black Female 1975

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I just checked my records, Shirley Magee disappeared on her way to Harlan High School on July 23, 1973. However. I get frustrated with the number of missing person Cases, with no further details.

    I assume that she may have been attending summer school. But this is only a guess. Because of her age, she would still be in grammar school, unless she was going there for something else.

    Also, a Kelly Juanita Staples (8), disappeared on January 8, 1980, whilexwalking to school again on the Southeast side of Chicago, about 73rd & Merrill. Again few details.

    Then in April 1984, a 10 year old was kidnapped while walking home at noon. The offender was identified as Thomas Sykes (29) at the time. He was also arrested on April 13, 1984, for kidnapping another girl, he abducted on her way to school. He attempted to bring her to a building where he once lived. The landlord denied him entry to the building and she was recovered. At his trial the judge allowed the prosecution to mention the previous kidnapping.

    There is another case of Betty Ann Moore (12), who was staying with her foster grandfather’s house in Robbins, Illinois, while her mother was in the hospital. She was last seen at on June 3, 1986, when she went to bed. It was assumed she left the house voluntarily in the morning and went school. However, her naked and beaten body was found in the Calumet-Sag Channel

    Her clothes were found alongside her body. Her father had died a,few months before her. She did not interact with other kids. The other interesting part, was that she wrote an fictional murder story for her Englush class, where an adult victim with her name. She supposedly read it in class. It was found in a,photo album.

  2. bluelights says:

    Probably too many months between this woman from the doe project going missing and this woman being found, but i wonder if anyone looked to see if the two were related, since this woman was pregnant and the other lady had two kids by a guy who dumped them off with their grandparents and never saw them again after his wife went missing. Fort Campbell, Christian County, Kentucky is directly south of clinton county iowa where the body was found. I wonder if anyone ever tried to compare the two and see if it might have been her.

  3. LakeLife says:

    I think they need to exhume the body & get better DNA from the bone marrow.
    Also, could they test the fetus as well?
    The leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder & many times it’s the baby’s father who doesn’t want the baby.
    It’s tragic & sick.
    Praying that they find the killer!

    • K says:

      From what I have been able to gather from personal research i have done in this case, no one is sure where she was buried, just that it was an unmarked grave somewhere in Clinton County. So sad to me that she has been basically misplaced and likely will never be identified.

      This case has fascinated me for years and I continue to come back to it over the years.

      • Luna says:

        She deserves a marker…

        • K says:

          Totally agree, I’ve tried to do more research to see if I could possibly locate where she was buried but there are so many cemeteries in Clinton County, it’ll take a miracle to even find the cemetery, let alone her unmarked plot.

          • Patrick Kerrigan says:

            I wonder if the coroner report of her death would show where show where she was buried. I assume they had some sort of protocol for these situations.

            I would try and contact them, and see what information they have. They may not release some information, but they should be able to share what the process was back when she was found.

            I know the the unidentified or unclaimed remains from the Cook County Medical Examiners office, are buried in certain cemeteries, in the Chicagoland area.

            Recently the Cook County Sheriff’s Police identified an individual, who identified as a man, and had used the name Seven, as a female Army veteran. The self identification as a male, may have been caused by some mental health issues. This is an assumption on my part.

            They spent time trying to fill in the blanks of her life. They found she married another member of the U. S. Army, but found no record of a divorce. They were unable to fill in all the blanks.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Kimber, I have lived in Chicago and now in one of the suburbs. I never heard of her case. At the time she disappeared I was in the U.S. Navy home ported in Connecticut. I have researched missing persons on the Chicago Tribune archives, but don’t remember seeing her name.

    If it is her dumping her body in the Mississippi River, is along way from Chicagi. Also, I wonder what was going on at Harlan High School, in July 1973. I would assume that the schools were closed for summer vacation. Also, she would have been still in grammar school at 12 years old.

    The other problem is that missing kids at that time normally did not get a lot of attention. However, certain street gangs were prevalent at the time. However, they did not get a lot of attention in the media, until a number of years later.

  5. MikeD says:

    “Some of the older deputies who were around then said maybe somebody out of Chicago or Milwaukee had a pregnant girlfriend and got rid of her. We might never know,”

    That just rubs me the wrong way. It’s still kind of the same situation in Eastern Iowa. If a crime happens and someone black is involved, the authorities just assume it’s Chicago related. It’s not just the authorities, a lot of the public thinks that too.

    That being said, Kimber’s mention of Shirley Magee is still very interesting.

  6. Kimber says:

    I believe the female was Shirley Magee from Chicago, IL. I do not know if the authorities ruled her out but she matches, height, weight description, and although decomp made age difficult, she does does fall within the range given by the examiner. She went missing in 1973, but in the 70’s it wouldn’t have been hard to leave a possible bad environment with a guy that showed interest in a young lady.

  7. Reader says:

    Sounds like a minor who was impregnated by her murderer. Can’t DNA be used to identify her/and her babies father?

  8. andrea says:

    could this be connected to the Gregory Otterbeck murders, at least one of which was perpetrated with Randy Rhomberg and Michael Shaffer?

  9. Tiffany DeRossett says:

    I just sent in Ila Veronica Maynard as a possible match. Who knows if they can match her as the UID as there were insufficient samples for DNA and no prints or dentals processed either. :(

  10. anniefauxkley says:

    Ila Maynard went missing in December a few months before the UID www found matching the postmortem interval. She was 17 years old and married. It is believed her husband murdered her. She was 5’3″ and 125 pounds. Was this the NC connection they tried to follow?

    • anniefauxkley says:

      Please look into Ila Maynard. She is the only match I’ve found so far. Sadly her husband and likely murderer died in 2004, but I’m sure her family would like to have closure and have her remains.

    • anniefauxkley says:
      • Jody Ewing says:

        Annie, I’d first thought Ila Maynard was an excellent match, too, but the August 6, 2001 Quad-City Times article — which said police had followed leads all the way to North Carolina — seemed to suggest they’d already ruled Maynard out, even though her name wasn’t specifically mentioned in the story.

        Who knows, though, with today’s forensic technology? NamUs indicates DNA collection is complete but insufficient for profiling, but it may have last been tested (and ruled insufficient) prior to 2001, and forensics have come a long way since then.

        I’ll be interested in any updates Tiffany might be able to offer after her recent submission. Thanks to both of you for your interest!

  11. Theresa says:

    The Mississippi ran a bit over a mile per hour in 1975. Her body was badly decomposed by April 11.
    This held true except in large basins during the spring, which were primarily influenced by antecedent winter conditions as a result of snowmelt. This study also established that the availability of sediment to be transported depended significantly on the antecedent environmental factors affecting the watershed (Knox et al., 1975).

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