Viola Findley

Viola Findley (Courtesy photo NamUs)

Viola Marie Findley

Missing Person

Viola Marie Findley
Age at Report:
Date of Birth:
December 17, 1954
5’04” – 5’05”
175 to 200 lbs.
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Case Number:
NamUs MP Number:
Reported Missing From:
Daytona Beach, Florida
Headed To: Waterloo, IA
Black Hawk County
Unknown where Ms. Findley disappeared between Iowa and Florida
Last Seen Alive:
September 6, 1983


Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing


Black Hawk County in Iowa
Black Hawk County in Iowa
Waterloo in Black Hawk CountyWaterloo in Black Hawk County

Viola Marie Findley, a 28-year-old mother of three, left Waterloo, Iowa with a friend in the summer of 1983 to pay a visit to Ms. Findley’s family in Florida. Findley’s young children remained in Iowa, and in early September, Findley left her mother’s home in Daytona Beach to head back to Waterloo.

She was never seen again.

Ten days later, when Findley still hadn’t arrived in Iowa, family members in Florida were notified. Findley’s mother contacted Daytona Beach authorities to report her missing daughter.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database states Findley was last seen alive on September 6, 1983.

Viola Findley's Presumptive Certificate of DeathCourtesy Betti Findley Schuster
The state of Florida issued a Presumptive Certificate of Death in Viola’s case, though there is still no body and no place of death listed on the certificate.

Twelve years after her disappearance, her mother had a Presumptive Death certificate issued. The police closed her file and put it into storage, where it eventually was destroyed by a flood in the records room.

According to a sibling, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Bunnell, Florida was looking into a Jane Doe found there in 1993. The sibling reported to NamUs that Cpl. Kim Davis — who’d told the family what happened to the missing records — was looking into the possibility that Jane Doe might be Viola Marie Findley.

Viola Findley in younger years (Courtesy NamUs)

Viola Findley in younger years (Courtesy NamUs)

NamUs collected DNA from Findley’s son and daughter as well as Findley’s sibling, and procured a DNA profile to see if a match could be made between Findley and Jane Doe.

According to the victim’s sister, Betti Findley Schuster, Jane Doe was not a match, and the family is still unsure what states should be checked for unidentified remains because no one knows the location between Florida and Iowa where Viola disappeared.

Schuster said she’d learned Jane Doe wasn’t a match after she’d called NamUs. She said she also called the Waterloo Police Department, who told her they had a police report from September 6, 1983 that her sister had filed, so believed the actual missing date may have been closer to October 1.

Viola Findley age progressed to 62Courtesy Betti Schuster & Carl Koppelman
This age progressed photo collage – showing Viola as she would look at age 62 – was compiled by Mr. Carl Koppelman and shared with Viola’s sister, Betti, who included the image on the Find Viola Marie Findley Facebook group page.

Viola Findley had brown shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, a bad nail on her pointer finger and a broken front tooth. She went by the nickname “Vi.”

Her middle daughter, Vicky, was just three years old when her mother went missing. At age 15, Vicky died in a car accident. Findley’s brother and mother have also since passed away.

Her sister lives on, Betti Schuster told Iowa Cold Cases in 2012, through her son and daughter and four grandchildren.

Fingerprint and DNA information for Viola Findley is entered into NamUs and assigned Case Number MP2914.

Viola Findley (Courtesy NamUs)

Viola Findley (Courtesy NamUs)

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding the unexplained disappearance of Viola Findley, please contact Investigator Kim Davis at (386) 586-4877 at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Bunnell, Florida.

You may also contact the Waterloo Police Department at (319) 291-4340 ext. 3 or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 855-300-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be sent with TipSoft or by texting the word CEDAR plus the information to CRIMES (274637). Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt out at any time. Text HELP for more information.

Anonymous tips may also be sent through the Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers Confidential Web Tip Information System.

Anyone with information may be eligible for a cash reward.


38 Responses to Viola Findley

  1. Penny L Lozon says:

    “Schuster said she’d learned Jane Doe wasn’t a match after she’d called NamUs. She said she also called the Waterloo Police Department, who told her they had a police report from September 6, 1983 that her sister had filed,” If Viola filed a police report in Waterloo on Sept 6, wouldn’t that mean she made it back to Iowa?

  2. MikeD says:

    I’m curious as to how much planning went into this Florida trip. Was it planned well in advance or was it on the spur of the moment? What as the reason to go? Just to see her family or was there more to it? What arrangments were made for her children in Iowa? Do we know what day she originally left Iowa and what day she first see family in Florida? When she was last seen on September 6, 1983 was she leaving for Iowa soon?

    Maybe the person she was traveling with was the one who had specific things to do in Flordia and Viola found out and asked if she could come because she had family in the area she would like to see.

  3. Jj says:

    Running the family DNA to familial matches to known offenders in CODIS may produce a male offender match (any of her former relations who may have been the kids father). This match if any may produce a suspect or potential names of friends and associates of the mother and her traveling companion.

  4. Lisa says:

    I am wondering.. Did she drive? Was her car found? What happened to the friend that she went with?

    • Betti Schuster says:

      She did not drive here. She was in someone else’s car. No Idea what happened to her friend. If i had known in advance that she would become a missing person I would have been more observant . If I had known the ball would be dropped by my mother snd LE I would have been more aggressive in my search.

      • Lisa says:

        Unfortunately we don’t plan this stuff honey… And it is definitely not your fault. She had gotten a bus ticket back tho right? Any idea if she had made it on that bus at all?

        • Betti Schuster says:

          No idea if she got on a bus or not . No records found of that.

          • Patrick Kerrigan says:

            Betti, anything new on her case. It would be nice if the Waterloo authorities could check their records for the name of the woman who was being allegedly abused.

            It could be that the ex-boyfriend or victim’s husband, held her responsible for the love of his life leaving the area.

            If only we had more details, and the initial case report from Florida, or wherever she was reported missing.

  5. Lisa says:

    That update of what she may look like today … She looks so familiar! I Need to really meditate on this! May just be a coincident..

  6. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    The other dstion who is the father of her three kids. Also, who was watching them while she was off visiting her family in Florida. She should have brought them wirh her to visit her family. Since, her property was tossed from where ever she was living and they were thrown in foster care.

    Merlyn, if I had the time to dig through law enforcement records, it might produce some names to research. I used to dig through government property records while working as a detective at a VA hospital in Chicago. This was the different deartments could not find equipment during their annual inventory. Our medical research service was the worst, but kept great records.

    The other question was this visit to Florida planned in advance. Did her family know she was coming. Also, you would think that she talked with her family and they would be in the loop on some of her supposed friends.

    Also, how did she end up in Waterloo, Iowa. Her family should have gotten her to move to Florida, so that she be closer to them. I guess we need to know more details on the family dynamics. Especially in Waterloo.

    • Betti Schuster says:

      I will try to answer your questions Patrick and Merlyn. 1. We did not know that she was on her way here. 2. The girl she brought here was unknown to us since she was living in Iowa. 3. I never saw the car that she came down in. She stopped here to borrow money for a bus ticket back to Iowa. If she got on a bus we so not know. She was missing more then 10 days before we knew she didn’t make it back to Waterloo. 4. Viola did not have a car. 5. We had no idea whose car or who the friend she was helping name.
      6.The fathers of the children were not involved in the kids lives. The state of Iowa tried to find the father and could not. 7. Waterloo police never investigated nor did the state of Iowa. 8. When we went to Iowa to get the kids we went to where she was living at the time she disappeared and noone was around to give us info. It took over 3 months for the state of Iowa to allow us to pick up her children There is so much more. The Daytona Beach police could case unit (1 guy) has been working with me to find the original police report and who knows maybe something will come of it. Any more questions? I am taking care of my one and 6 year old grandchildren so sometimes it takes a while to answer.

      • Betti Schuster says:

        Also Patrick my sister liked living in Waterloo. She was 28 years old. Also I have tried all the agency’s and only one ever had any info. Most told me the records no longer existed. Waterloo pd are the only one that ever found anything and that took a while but they did it.

        • Patrick Kerrigan says:

          Betti, thanks for the updated information. So, maybe we will have to see if the Waterloo Police will let someone dig through their records. I would think that this supposed friend who had an abusive boyfriend or husband would have called the police on him.

          That information might be actually found in dispatch records for say several months up to a year before the trip. The information would provide a name of the complainant and possibly a name of the abuser. It might only provide an address. This woman most likely has family in the area.

          The other thought, would be to contact the local media and see if they would run a story about your sisters disappearance. Then they would ask anyone who might know who the person who she traveled with. They would be asked to call someone in the family or post something to a Facebook page.

  7. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I am somewhat confused about her disappearance. She travels with some unidentified person or persons supposedly to Florida. She supposedly returns to Waterloo, Iowa. The dumb question, is who car was being used. Was she using her car. Also where did this supposed argument take place.

    Also would the alleged abusive husband have reported his wife or girlfriend missing. A search of police reports from the Waterloo, Iowa area, might identify a possible victim, if she ever called the police on him. Also, if she received medical treatment at a medical facility in the area. These steps very labor intensive might provide a name of the abused woman.

    Also, you would think she would have come forward after all these years and tell her version of what took place on the trip. Also, where and when the argument took place.

    Also, if you were driving from Waterloo to Daytona Beach, Florida, which way would you go. This might be something someone could research. Did they drive straight thru or make any stops along the way.

    • Merlyn Sanchez says:

      Patrick, I’ve wondered the se things! I would think that the first thing you’d do is track down the people she was traveling with and interview them.

    • Lisa says:

      I was wondering the same Patrick! Seems like a lot of stuff has been skipped over. The woman on NamUs that some one posted in the feed here.. Could be her.. Like does any of this woman’s discrption fit Vivian’s?

  8. I have a Facebook group called Finding Viola Marie Findley .

  9. Ashlea Kelly says:

    Find my aunt please

  10. Merlyn Sanchez says:

    Beth – I’ve been reading about your sister’s case and I’m so sorry for you and your family. Not knowing has to be the worst kind of torture. You mentioned that your sister filed a police report on 09 October, was this another sister that reported Viola missing? It’s a shame that you never knew who she came down to Florida with. Do you know how many people? Were they all female or men and women? I’m a member of a group called Websleuths and we try to help bring attention to unsolved crimes. I’m going to check and see if your sister’s story is on there. Good luck!

  11. I made a group called Finding Viola Marie Findley today thank you for your interest. I also updated so info with NAMUS.

  12. Kelsey, a family member posted today that the DNA info has been obtained and entered into a nation-wide system. Now they are waiting to see if something pops up. Sure hope it does!! Kerry at ICC

  13. My prayers are all the way with the family. My heart is with them

  14. I see in the comments it’s been over a year since they had been working on DNA testing…anything new?? Praying her family gets some kind of closure <3

  15. LuAnn says:

    I was just wondering who Violas friend was that accompanied her on the trip to see her mother in Florida?? Did this friend ride back with her enroute to Waterloo, Iowa.?? Who drove Viola or her friend???

    Wonder if Viola may have stopped somewhere enroute to Waterloo & if anyone seen her….She could have met with foul play on her way back to Waterloo, because I’m assuming she made stops along the way……but you don’t know..

    I hope that this will be resolved someday and her family and friends will be able to find closure…………………………..

    • Betti Schuster says:

      we never knew the peoples names that she came down here with she was helping a girl that was being abused by her husband by getting her out of the state of Iowa somewhere along the line there was an argument and they left my sister according to them down here so who knows also I just recently found out I have a genetic birth defect that may help identify her body if it’s found and so I am trying to get ahold of fdle here in Florida to let them know about it and maybe t
      hat will help him a little more

  16. Betti Findley Schuster says:

    We are still waiting on the DNA but we hope that one day the people she came down here with say someting to someone as to what happened to her. Since my sister disapeared Her middle daughter vicky was killed in a car accident she was 15 she lost her mom when she was 3. It is my hope that my sister was there to greet her and vicky now knows her mom didn’t leave because she wanted to. Our brother and mother have passed since that time but my sister lives on through her Son and Daughter and her four grandchildren.
    Thank you

  17. Samantha Stevens-Clay says:

    I hope for the sake of her children and the rest of her family that the DNA is a match. Must be so horriable for them not to know what has happened to their mother/family member.

    • Betti Findley Schuster says:

      I just found out the DNA results that my niece,nephew and myself submitted are now complete and entered in CODIS hoping that somewhere some day we will find my sister…

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