Valerie Klossowsky

Valerie Lynn Klossowsky

Valerie Lynn Klossowsky

Homicide

Valerie Lynn Klossowsky
14 YOA
Resided in Waverly, IA
Body found outside Denver, IA in Bremer County
DCI Case Number: 71-00549
June 13, 1971

 

 

 

 

The Waverly Three

Case of the Month: Lisa Peak – Julie Benning – Valerie Klossowsky

A Defrosting Cold Cases Guest Blog Post
By Jody Ewing, November 1, 2014

Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing
Bremer County in Iowa

Bremer County in Iowa

On Tuesday morning, June 15, 1971, the partially clad body of 14-year-old Valerie Lynn Klossowsky of Waverly, Iowa, was found on a creek bank under a bridge on a lonely country road three miles west of Denver and about 10 miles southeast of Waverly.

An autopsy indicated the Waverly-Shell Rock Junior High School student had been strangled sometime late Sunday or early Monday.

Waverly, IA

Waverly in Bremer County

Valerie and her friend LuAnn Hicks had picnicked together Sunday afternoon in a Waverly park and then spent the next few hours strolling around town, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday, June 17, 1971.

Denver in Bremer County

Denver in Bremer County

The girls had gone their separate ways by late afternoon, but sometime after 8 p.m., Valerie went to LuAnn’s house, intending to ask her friend to accompany her the remainder of the evening.

LuAnn wasn’t home, and Valerie spoke briefly with an older Hicks girl before walking away. It was one of the last two times the teen was seen alive.

Disappeared from local swimming pool

Accounts of Valerie’s last hours, the Register said, were pieced together from interviews with friends and relatives.

Valerie, along with her 16-year-old sister, Denise, and 12-year-old sister, Michele, lived with their father, Harold R. Klossowsky, and paternal widowed grandmother, Mrs. Clarence Klossowsky (Mae Agnes), at 217 Fifth Street N.W. in Waverly in what Register reporter Jack Hovelson called a neatly kept, two-story white frame home in a quiet, well-trimmed neighborhood three blocks east of the Wartburg College campus.

The three girls’ parents had been married and divorced three times, and their mother, Mrs. Larry Wedemeier, lived with her second husband on a farm near Horton, a small community northeast of Waverly.

On Wednesday, June 16, 1971, Hovelson spoke with Valerie’s sister Denise and the grandmother, while Mr. Klossowsky — an active Army Reservist who worked at the Koehring Company’s Shield-Bantam division plant in Waverly — was out of town arranging private funeral services for his middle daughter.

According to the grandmother, one of Valerie’s friends, Cindy Newgren of rural Waverly, had come to the house early Sunday evening and the two girls wanted to go to the Waverly swimming pool located a half-mile away. Mrs. Klossowsky told her granddaughter to be home by 9 p.m., but said Cindy later returned to the Klossowsky home without Valerie.

As reported in the Register’s June 17, 1971 page one story:

“Cindy came back here alone later with Valerie’s swimming suit and towel,” Mrs. Klossowsky recounted. 

“She told me that Valerie had stopped to talk to some people outside the swimming pool and told Cindy to go on in — that she would be in shortly.

“Cindy said that Valerie never came inside the pool area. When she (Cindy) came outside later, she found Valerie’s swimming suit and towel nearby, but Valerie was gone,” the grandmother said.

Valerie allegedly had gone back to the Hicks residence, and was last known seen on the street corner around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. When Valerie hadn’t returned home by 10 p.m., her father filed a missing persons report with the Waverly Police Department.

The following night, an area resident reported a neighborhood prowler to police. The prowler also had been reported in the neighborhood on Saturday evening, June 5.

Boys Find Body
Waverly and Bremer County Sheriff's deputies search for Valerie KlossowskyCourtesy photo Jim Humphrey/Waterloo Courier
Two Waverly policemen and a Bremer County Sheriff’s deputy comb for clues in ditches along a gravel road near where 14-year-old Valerie Klossowsky was found strangled to death June 15, 1971. The lawmen are, from left: Ronald Bigger, Daniel Vance, and Deputy G.B. Illian.

Two days after Valerie went missing, two young boys tramping along a small creek in a rolling area near Denver stumbled upon the young girl’s body under the gravel-road bridge near the water.

The bridge over the unnamed creek had a three-foot-high railing, and investigators said they didn’t know whether the teen was slain elsewhere and carried down to the creek bank or whether she’d been killed near the creek and dropped from the bridge, a fall of about 12 feet.

Her only remaining clothing — the upper garments — had been pulled up around her shoulders.

Though described by relatives as “tall and strong for her age,” an autopsy disclosed Valerie had been strangled with such force it fractured her larynx.

The Bremer County Sheriff’s Office, Waverly police and Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents investigated the murder, and the Waverly Police Department sent out 14 members of its auxiliary force to interview farm families in the area where Valerie’s body was found.

The Waverly Auxiliary Police canvassed more than 100 households in attempts to find more information about Valerie’s activities the night she disappeared, and officials interviewed more than 150 people in the month following the murder.

Neighbors described the young teen as quiet but friendly and said she was a frequent playmate of neighborhood children.

Investigating officers were unable to place the girl either in an automobile or on a motorcycle the Sunday night she disappeared.

Three Young Waverly Women
Julie Benning

Julie Benning

Five years later, investigators found themselves investigating two other young women’s homicides in Bremer County and wondered if the three cases might be connected.

Julie Ann Benning, 18, disappeared from Waverly the day after Thanksgiving on November 28, 1975. A Butler County road maintenance worker found her nude and decomposed body in a roadside ditch northeast of Shell Rock on March 18, 1976.

The teen, like Klossowsky, had been strangled.

Lisa Peak

Lisa Peak

On Sept. 7, 1976, the nude and beaten body of 19-year-old Marie “Lisa” Peak was found in a ditch under a lone cottonwood tree a quarter mile north of Waverly’s city limits.

Peak had been sexually assaulted and died of suffocation and a broken neck.

When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, all three victims were included in the roughly 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, 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 the resolution of 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.

About Valerie Klossowsky
valerie-klossowsky-gravestoneCourtesy photo Duane Heit, findagrave.com
14-year-old Valerie Klossowsky is buried in the New Hampton Cemetery in Chickasaw County.

Valerie Lynn Klossowsky was born March 7, 1957, to Mr. and Mrs. Harold R. Klossowsky.

Her family described her as athletic, very active, and always on the go.

She had a natural talent for music, and was a gifted guitarist, pianist and singer. She wrote many songs herself and also wrote poetry. Much of her writing centered around peace and love in the world.

In addition to her parents and two sisters, Valerie was survived by her grandmother, Mrs. Clarence (Mae Agnes) Klossowsky.

Valerie was buried in the New Hampton Cemetery in New Hampton, Iowa, in Chickasaw County.

Mae Agnes Klossowsky would wait for over three more decades for answers in her granddaughter’s unsolved murder. She died two days before Christmas in 2006.

She was 100 years old.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Valerie Klossowsky’s unsolved murder — or that of Julie Benning or Lisa Peak — is encouraged to contact Special Agent Jon Moeller at the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (712) 258-1920, or contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us.

Sources:

 

Copyright © 2017 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

28 Responses to Valerie Klossowsky

  1. Robert F. says:

    Does anybody know the color or type of vehicle reported prowling? After reading these I would guess a Waverly resident, male, between 16 and 50, possible previous offender and finally most likely not married ( A wife would notice a missing husband at night.) . All the girls last seen locations were very near each other. The first was dumped off a very remote bridge, the roads were not even marked at the time of the event taking place he must have known the area very well. I would love to see a 1970 Waverly census showing more than just the 7,200 residents I would like to see move in dates, marital status,age and any previous convictions. That car could narrow it down even more. Also would like to see if the DNA evidence came up with anything in 2010. Thanks

  2. Mel says:

    I would like to know what the anonymous letter said that the police received on March 27th 1976…..

    • Robert F. says:

      I would almost think that the third was not by the same person. The first two were almost identical but the last was different. I wonder if that car salesman had anything to do with the first two then the last was a copy cat that had been threatening Lisa Peak.

  3. Mel says:

    And what kind of car was prowling….did they get a license plate?

    • Robert F. says:

      Some think that Valerie was picked up on a motorcycle. I can not imagine to many motorcycles were in Waverly at that time. Also if it was a motorcycle she had to willingly go all the way out to the old road right off 260th, because that is where she was killed exactly.

  4. Mel says:

    I’ve heard some stories about this case….and you just never know…I wonder if they have done a DNA on a certain person and if they publish the suspects names?

    • Robert F. says:

      They re examined Lisa Peak in 2010 but since it has not led to an arrest the information is still closed.

    • Robert F. says:

      I think that the shoe store thing could be a huge lead. Possibly the owner was friends with that car salesman. If you look at a map of all 3 girls last location they are extremely close. “Picking up a pair of shoes” could refer to the same place Benning was because Waverly did no really have another shoe place at the time. All 3 locations were right off 4th in downtown.

  5. Danny says:

    See Lisa Peak’s story for our comments. I believe that Valerie, Julia, and Lisa were all killed by the same person, possibly a classmate or (former) boyfriend on Valerie’s older sister?

  6. I wish I could help. Prayers sent to the families and friends. I hope and pray for justice for all of them.

  7. So happy they haven’t been forgotten

  8. Hope they find them and hope fbi gets on my moms case far to long but u not forgot TERRY RAY MCCAULEY R.I.P.

  9. I would look into young men that lived in the area and went away to college. Valerie went missing in the Summer (college break), Julie the day after Thanksgiving (again on break) and Marie was found the day after Labor day (again on break)…check the local high school yearbooks 5 years prior and run the names for assaults since 1971. Bet they get a hit.

  10. Whoa. This sounds like a serial killer. :(

  11. Donna Henry says:

    That is so sad. I grew up there. I have a 14 yr. I cant even image the pain those parents feel. Prayers to the families of those girls.

  12. prayers to the family, I hope someday this can be solved. please know I care!

  13. Pamela Wade says:

    The killer might still be in Waverly.

  14. Kris Starks says:

    Always makes you wonder if there were any other murders connected to these, doesn’t it?

  15. some serial killing f**k should get their a*s kicked and jailed.

  16. scary. but why would they follow a,stranger??? maybe,they knew their assailant.

  17. Gail Ayres says:

    Waverly is not far from Cresco, wondering if there is a connection to Connie Kraft’s cold case which was around that time as well? I would start with the end date of the death’s and look at suspects that moved after that time, was incarcerated or died. Moving is the probable change though. If murders across the country with the same MO, can be timelined with the movement.

  18. Kris Starks says:

    Not sure when Ted Bundy actually started his ‘reign of terror’, but I read something one time (sure wish I could find it again) that hinted that he may have spent a short time in IA. I believe it was around 1978? if i remember correctly. I would have been 16…and I was definitely his ‘type’…long brunette hair and blue eyes. Gave me chills to my very core. What I read stated that the belief was that he had crossed the country at least one time. :( I will also add that another reason this got to me was that at that time, my small hometown had a ‘discotheque’…(sp?).

  19. tina says:

    Did her friend Cindy know the people Valerie was talking to outside the pool?

  20. RIP Valerie, so sorry you had to lose your life to some monster, and to think that person was never punished.

  21. Deb York says:

    As Audrey Alexander thought…I strongly feel these girls were killed by Ted Bundy. He killed 100+ girls and was wandering all over the United States at the time. He especially targeted college girls and those living near college campuses. Ted Bundy was arrested in 1978 and the murders seemed to end after the last girl was killed.

  22. Herb Hunter says:

    She was the first of the Waverly Three. He took her life during summer break while living at home with his parents. But he went to Coe in Cedar Rapids, because remember, Maureen is next over Labor Day weekend.

    It’s odd how the Waverly Three seem to ascend in age from junior high, to high school, and then college. All found the same and without shoes, since The Shoe Bandit has a foot fetish.

    He bound and straggled them in sexual gratification — that’s what the crime scenes tell us.

    He also took their shoes, and in fact at least one of the victims was picking up shoes shortly after Thanksgiving.

    But the fibers will be from his parents’ car since he is originally from Waverly.

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