Valerie Klossowsky

Valerie Klossowsky

Valerie Lynn Klossowsky


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,
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 the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (712) 258-1920, or contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email



Copyright © 2024  Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


46 Responses to Valerie Klossowsky

  1. Melanie Wood says:

    Bundy. No. Bundy was never said or known to be in Iowa. Even at Bundy’s own admissions they would be looking at 3 digit victims in 6 States. Iowa was not one. Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Vermont and Florida. And none of the “Waverly” would have been on his escape to Florida. I’m really not sure the 3 are connected. Spaced that far A part?. Especially Valerie. I can see the last 2. But once serial killers get started they don’t have a 4 yr lapse. And usually killers kill in the same age range. Valerie was a child. I think it was someone she knew. But who?. Alot of people have motorcycles in cold weather states. The person was smart luring her away from the pool. No witnesses. Around alot of people that would notice anything strange. Perpetrator still alive?. It’s possible. But I think they are not. I also think this person went to prison for something. Just a feeling. So sad. I just turned 1 when she was murdered.

  2. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Cindy, I appreciate the details that you provided since you were with Valerie when she left. The frustrating part to me, is that she spent most of Sunday, with LuAnn Hicks. Then she meets with you to go swimming and then stay overnight. Then she leaves you at the pool, she stops again at LuAnn’s. However, she was not home. It makes me wonder if she wanted LuAnn, to be with her when she met whoever later. I wonder what details she could provide. I agree, that the offender is someone in plain sight at the time, and may have left the area.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    The more I read about Valerie’s case, it becomes confusing. She supposedly hung out with LuAnn Hicks. Then she meets up with Cindy, to go the swimming pool for the evening program. She then bails out on Cindy, to meet up with someone.

    But, she then stops by LuAnn’s house to see if she was home. LuAnn was not home at the time. So, she stands up Cindy at the swimming pool, and is last seen at a street corner at about 8:30 p.m. Was this where she was supposed to meet the other person.

    I wonder if Valerie while on her way to her meeting with her unidentified friend, decided to kill some time at LuAnn’s house. We need to know her story if any.

    Also, what if anything she may have shared with her sisters and other school friends. The only one we hear from is Cindy, who provides the correct details on what happened at the swimming pool.

    We need more details, that may be in the police reports. Quite often cold case investigators come across references to people, who were never interviewed or evidence that was never tested, or could be retested.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    Cindy, did Valerie actually go swimming at the pool. Also, why would she leave alone, since it appears you two went there together. Also, did she have a boyfriend, possibly someone older than she was.

    Also, a comment mentions someone with a shoe fetish. Can someone elaborate on this person. Again, is this and the others entered into VICAP.

    • Cindy Newgren Begg says:

      Valerie and I were dropped off at the pool by my parents. We were going for the evening swim session and she was going to stay the night at my house after. We paid our admission and went to the changing room. It was then that she handed me her suit and towel and informed me that she was going to go meet someone and would return to swim within the hour. I instantly had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. As much time as we had spent together as friends, she had never done something like this. She seemed nervous and conveyed that the person she was meeting would be angry if she was late. I begged her not to go. But she promised to be back within the hour. I proceeded into the pool area and immediately went to the chain link fence that separated the pool from the park and looked out to see her walking South of the pool. I called out to her and she started towards me. I asked her again to stay and she smiled and said I’ll be back. I watched her walk away for several minutes, and then turned my attention to the pool. Valerie never returned. My parents were there at 8 pm and were very concerned when I told them what transpired. I cannot answer any questions about the person with the shoe fetish as I have never heard about that. I have answered hundreds of questions over the years about that night. Maybe thousands. And I will continue to answer them, if for no other reason, than to keep her memory alive. She was a wonderful person. Kind and funny. She loved life and animals. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. But she deserves justice.

      • Annie says:

        Do you know who she was meeting?

      • carolkean says:

        What a haunting description – and to relive it hundreds, thousands of times, answering questions, but never coming up with new answers (who, why). Yes, she deserves justice!

      • carolkean says:

        Cindy, what you say here – “she handed me her suit and towel” – is different from what Valerie’s grandma reported: “When she (Cindy) came outside later, she found Valerie’s swimming suit and towel nearby” – Valerie walked from the pool to the Hicks residence, where she “spoke briefly with an older Hicks girl,” then walked away 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.

        A town the size of Waverly, someone had to see something and know something – and with the FBI joining forces with local LE, how hard could it be to figure out what happened to Valerie?

        • Patrick Kerrigan says:

          Carol, your response to Cindy’s version of what happened that Sunday evening makes me wonder where she would have gone that she would be back in 1 hour.

          Also, Cindy’s parents dropped them off, yet Valerie decides to go off and meet someone. Then why go the swimming pool, if she had to meet this individual, who gets angry when she is late. Unless it was her way of sneaking out of the house using the excuse that she was going swimming with Cindy.

          If she returned then she would be using Cindy, to cover for something she was doing against her father’s wishes.

        • Cindy Newgren Begg says:

          I can say with certainty, that my account of the events at the pool are accurate. It has been almost fifty years since that night. And I can see the events as clearly in my head today as I did then. I don’t discount the Ted Bundy theory. Anything is possible. But my gut tells me otherwise and that gut feeling has never been wrong. The person who did this, in my opinion, is hiding in plain sight.

          • carolkean says:

            Cindy, please know that I was not questioning the accuracy of your recollections. Valerie’s grandma quoted you one way, but people misquote others all the time. She said you said….

            I am saddened all the more with every passing year that a town as small as Waverly cannot figure out which one of their own is a killer. I have no doubt this was not some distant serial killer passing through town. Joseph Carmody Jr. had victims in Waverly as early as 1971. Julie Benning, #2 of “The Waverly Three,” was silenced during the same month that two Waverly women charged Carmody with rape. He was operating there. It’s possible that Valerie was supposed to recruit a new girl for them, but failing to produce her (the Hicks girl), Valerie got killed. Lisa Peak was held captive by Carmody when she went to interview him in Mason City (journalism major, Wartburg, her freshman year). She escaped, got him arrested, and was writing a book about Carmody’s sex trafficking scandals when she was killed. I’ve always wondered by her co-author, Chuck Offenberger, never finished the book and got it published.

            Who was the guy Valerie was supposed to meet that night? All roads lead to…. (Not a Serial Killer).

  5. Val jackson says:

    A lecturer at wartburg college

  6. 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.

    • carolkean says:

      Ah, so many red herrings. Even the location of her body is incorrect: 3 miles west of Denver and 10 miles southeast of Waverly puts her body in Blackhawk county. There is a mistake there. So many mistakes. Maureen Farley was also missing shoes. Sometimes professional killers plant stage a murder with misleading clues (red herrings) like holidays, missing shoes, phases of the moon, just to throw off suspicion from the real motive.

      Does anyone know the correct location of the bridge and creek…?

      • Dan Foelske says:

        I lived, at that time, 3 miles west of Denver, about 1/4 mile from where the body was found (where the quarry is now). It is definitely in Bremer County. The Black Hawk County line is 2 miles south of where I lived, a gravel road 1/2 mile south of C-50. The location of the body was 1-1/4 miles north of C-50, so in Bremer.

  7. 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.

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

  9. tina says:

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

    • Cindy Newgren Begg says:

      She never stopped to talk to anyone on the way in. This account is not accurate. We went into the pool together. And she left alone. I am Cindy Newgren Begg

  10. 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?).

  11. 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.

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

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

  14. Kris Starks says:

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

  15. Pamela Wade says:

    The killer might still be in Waverly.

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

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. So happy they haven’t been forgotten

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

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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

    • carolkean says:

      You raise some excellent questions, Robert.
      “3 miles west of Denver and 10 miles southeast of Waverly” puts her body in Blackhawk county. There is a mistake there, but newspapers have published the error for 50 years. You say “the roads were not even marked at the time” – true – gravel roads didn’t get named until almost the 21st Century. I wonder if the case file includes information from “a 1970 Waverly census showing move in dates, marital status,age and any previous convictions.” Whoever killed Valerie, Julie, and Lisa may well be alive and walking free today. Quite likely some neighbor, friend, citizen, fellow shopper at the local Fareway, or someone in authority, a trusted public figure. A college student? I don’t think so. I smell a much older rat than that. And many rats, not just one.

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