Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton County in Iowa
Clinton, Iowa Clinton in Clinton County

Unidentified: Pregnant Black Female

Homicide

Approx. 12 – 23 YOA
Race: Black/African American
Sex: Female
Weight: 100 to 120, Estimated
Height: 5’2″ – 5’4″, Estimated
Found in Mississippi River
Clinton County, IA
NamUs UP # 2622
Body Discovered April 11, 1975
Probable Year of Death: 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.

Sources:

 

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7 Responses to Unidentified: Pregnant Black Female 1975

  1. andrea says:

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

  2. 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. :(

  3. anniefauxkley says:

    http://www.nampn.org/cases/maynard_ila.html

    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.

      • 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!

  4. Theresa says:

    The Mississippi ran a bit over a mile per hour in 1975. Her body was badly decomposed by April 11.
    SEDIMENT RESPONSE TO LARGE-SCALE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE:
    THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER, 1943-1996
    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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