Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson


Yvonne "Bonnie" Nicholson

Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson

Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson
32 YOA
South Concord St.
Davenport, IA
Scott County
November 12, 2001
Scott County in Iowa
Scott County in Iowa
Davenport in Scott CountyDavenport in Scott County


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

On Monday, November 12, 2001, at approximately 9:30 a.m., two construction workers driving along a slough on South Concord Street in Davenport discovered the body of 32-year-old Yvonne Nicholson of Rock Island, Illinois.

Her body — clothed in a sweatshirt, shorts and socks — lay partially submerged in Mississippi River backwater near Credit Island about 75 feet from the road.

The Davenport Fire Department provided officials with a ladder trick in order to get an overhead look at the scene, and investigators took photos while inside the bucket at the ladder’s tip. Officials constructed a plywood walkway through the mud and shallow water in order to retrieve Nicholson’s body from the river.

She was identified using fingerprints on file in Rock Island County.

Lt. Gene WallCourtesy photo Larry Fisher/QUAD-CITY TIMES
Davenport Lt. Gene Wall sits with his hand on a binder containing all the solved and unsolved homicides that took place in recent years.

An autopsy concluded she had been strangled.

In September 2003, a late-summer drought drained enough water away from the tree-lined shore to enable detectives to sift through the mud in hopes of shaking out some clues. Since Nicholson’s murder, the crime scene had never been dry enough to dig around the area where officials found her body.

The Davenport detectives marked out a 20-foot-by-15-foot area and began digging, shoveling the thick mud into a sifter while looking for clothes, personal effects or anything else that might bring them closer to identifying Nicholson’s killer.

“It has been two years, but nonetheless it’s worth a try,” Lt. Dennis Kern, deputy commander of the criminal investigation division, told the Quad-City Times in a story published Sept. 11, 2003. “If we don’t do it, we know we won’t find anything.”

One detective ran a metal detector inside the marked-off perimeter. It beeped only a few times, but turned up nothing more than an aluminum can.

Agnes Kennedy

Agnes Kennedy’s body was found in Davenport on Dec. 22, 2007.

Cases get another look
Angela Marie Hennes

Angela Hennes’ burned remains were found Jan. 13, 2007.

In a Quad-City Times article dated June 26, 2011, Davenport police Lt. Gene Wall, commander of the criminal investigation division — said detectives were going to take another look at Nicholson’s unsolved homicide as well as that of Agnes Kennedy. The announcement followed the arrest of Chad Michael Lee Welsh in the 2007 slaying of Angeles Hennes.

Hennes’ burned remains were found alongside a road in the 1500 block of 100th Ave. in rural Scott County on January 13, 2007.

Agnes Kennedy’s body was discovered in Davenport on December 22, 2007, in the north alley in the 1800 block of West 8th Street.

chad-welsh-qc-timesCourtesy photo Kevin E. Schmidt/QUAD-CITY TIMES
On April 17, 2012, a Scott County jury found 34-year-old Chad Welsh guilty of first-degree murder in Angela Hennes’ homicide. Welsh remains a “person of interest” in the Nicholson and Kennedy slayings.

Authorities in Scott County announced on June 8, 2011, that they had charged 33-year-old Chad Michael Lee Welsh with Hennes’ murder. The break in the case came after more than four years. Welsh’s DNA matched DNA taken from the 2007 crime scene.

Welsh was brought to the Scott County Jail from a Springfield, Missouri federal prison, where he was serving an eight-year sentence on child pornography charges. A Burlington, Iowa, resident, Welsh was arrested on the pornography charges September 16, 2008, eight months after Kennedy’s death, according to the Times.

On April 17, 2012, the Scott County District Court convicted Welsh of first-degree murder in Hennes’ 2007 death. Welsh will now serve the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole.

In an April 23, 2012 story published in the Quad-City Times, Wall said Hennes’ killing resembled in some ways the death of Kennedy and Nicholson because all three had been strangled and the victims were known or convicted prostitutes.

Wall had cited in the June 2011 story the difficulty of solving murders where the victim is a prostitute.

yvonne-nicholson-gravestoneCourtesy photo Emily Bush, findagrave.com
Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson is buried at the Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois.

“You never know who they’re with or where they were picked up at,” he said in the Times interview.

Nicholson had been released from prison just 10 days before her body was found.

According to testimony during Welsh’s 2012 trial, he had been to Davenport as early as 2001 and had at least one previous violent encounter with another prostitute.

The Times said Wall had not divulged what specific details investigators were considering with regard to the Kennedy and Nicholson cases.

About Yvonne Nicholson

Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson was born Feb. 21, 1969, in Rock Island, Illinois.

She worked in several factories as a laborer, and died Monday, Nov. 12, 2001.

Memorial services were held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001, at the Pentecostal Church of God in Davenport, with burial following at the Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Ill., in Rock Island County.

Visitation was held from 6–8 p.m. Friday at Orr’s Mortuary in Rock Island.

Survivors included her parents, Allen and Marjorie Nicholson, Rock Island; sisters, Valerie Carr, Bettendorf, Sonya Thomas, Iowa City, and Gloria Smith, Indianapolis; and brothers, Billy Smith and Gerald Nicholson, both of Rock Island, and Gregory Smith, Indianapolis.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding the deaths of Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson or Agnes McFedries Kennedy is asked to call the Davenport Police Department at 563-326-7979 or Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at 309-762-9500.

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


4 Responses to Yvonne Nicholson

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    The other night I caught an episode of Cold Case Files, about the murder of prostitutes. Anumber of them were found on both sides of the Mississippi River in the East St. Louis, Illinois, and in the St. Louis, Missouri. They were all black females. Most of these murders took place in 2001 into 2002.

    The offender was identified as a Maury Troy Travis, who took his own life in the county jail. DNA may have linked him to at least 12 murders. The authorities think he may have more victims. At least 5 unidentified skeletal remains.

    Nothing online points to Travis being in Iowa, but it appears hs known victims, were all strangled. He was active in the time frame when Ms. Nicholson was found strangled. It’s a long shot.

    Mr. Travis video taped his torture and murder of s some of the victims.

    • A says:

      Patrick, could you please post your email on here? I’ve observed from other postings of yours that you are a former Illinois cop. I am aware of a woman in Illinois who lost 5 kids from 2 different fathers to so-called “crib death” and she was the only one home when each of the kids died. 2 of the kids were far too old for that. She also got a lot of public attention (which she sought out). Classic munchausen by proxy, and I’m convinced that just like Waneta Hoyt, Marie Noe, and Mary Beth Tinning, she killed her kids. However, the Cook County Medical Examiner couldn’t be bothered even responding to me, even though I gave her everything on a silver platter. The entire Cook County Board of Commissioners ignored me when I contacted them with the story, to inform them that their medical examiner wasn’t doing her job. I did eventually get one email from a detective– I tried to call his cell number that he’d given me and it was full so I couldn’t leave a message there; I did call his office number and left a message but he never got back to me. This woman is now age 70, but she is well enough that she could be prosecuted.

  2. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    There is not much information on Yvonne Nicholson’s background’s besides her being released from prison about 10 days before her death. Since, she is identified as being from Rock Island, Illinois. I assume her arrest was for prostitution, but where did she normally work or hang out in Illinois or Iowa.

    Also Agnes Kennedy’s photos gives the impression that she would normally be seen at the Lyric Opera, or at a Broadway play, instead of doing a stroll down some city street looking for a john.

  3. Mike says:

    I hope that Chad Welch is charged,tried and convicted of murdering these 2 women.It would be a shame for their murders to remain unsloved just because he was convicted of Ms.Hennes’ murder and sent to prison.Even prostitutes need closure to their cases.

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