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Articles and News Reports about or referencing the Iowa Cold Cases website

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An ongoing series, published statewide, as part of a partnership between Iowa Cold Cases, the Iowa Newspaper Association, and participating newspapers.

Click or tap on any story title to read the full referenced article.

Jury selection begins in Tama County cold case disappearance

May 1, 2017 | The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

MARENGO — Jury selection has started in the case of a former Tama man accused of killing his fiance in 2000.

Tait Otis Purk, 50, is charged with first-degree murder in the disappearance of Cora Ann Okonski, a 23-year-old mother who went missing April 16, 2000.

Okonski’s body has never been found, and Purk wasn’t charged until December 2016, about a month after the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced it had classified Okonski’s case as a homicide.

Purk’s trial was moved from Tama County to nearby Iowa County earlier this year because of pretrial publicity.

The Iowa County Clerk of Court called in 65 to 70 people for jury selection on Monday, and court officials interviewed prospective jurors about their knowledge of the case and media exposure.

Responses ranged from people who had passing media exposure of the case to a woman who said she had been following news of Okonski’s disappearance for years through newspapers, TV and the Iowa Cold Cases website.

The judge struck the woman from jury service in the case.

Full Story

Murder trial for Iowa woman whose body was never found begins Monday

April 30, 2017 | The Des Moines Register

Winning a conviction in a decades-old killing presents challenges for prosecutors: Memories wane, witnesses can be hard to find or dead.

On Monday, in Iowa, a trial starts with a rare, extra hurdle: The body of the victim, Cora Ann Okonski, has never been found.

Okonski was 23 in 2000 when she was reported missing from her Tama home. In December, a Tama County grand jury indicted her boyfriend, Tait Otis Purk, 50, on a first-degree murder charge.

Prosecuting a murder case without a body is almost unheard of in Iowa.

Full Story

COLD CASES: Iowa woman is seeking answers for the forgotten

Friday, April 28, 2017 | by Jetske Wauran, SiouxlandNews.com | KMEG 14 and FOX 44

Ashley Oakland, Layne Schneider, Breighton Ackerman. These are just a few of names of the homicide victims and missing persons whose cases have gone cold.

“People in small communities often know exactly what happened but bodies aren’t found,” said Jody Ewing, founder of Iowa Cold Cases.

And though the memories of their dark past could have faded away, their stories are saved and documented by Iowa Cold Cases.

It is to be the most trusted database as well as the first of its kind in the state of Iowa, featuring over 600 cold cases in the state.

Full Story

Cracking Iowa’s Cold Cases

September 22, 2016 | whoradio.iheart.com

WHO Radio News recently had a conversation with Jody Ewing, the woman behind a website that tells the stories of victims of crimes here in Iowa that have not been solved.

She is a passionate person for the families of victims who have not had closure or the resolve of knowing the responsible person or persons have not been held accountable.

She believes there are many ‘out there’ who know something and they’re afraid to tell authorities.

Could that be you?

Have a look through her front page and go deeper at her website.

Maybe you will see something that jogs your memory and perhaps be the key that solves a mystery.

Iowa Woman Going to New Lengths to Help Solve Iowa Cold Cases

Sept. 15, 2016 | WHOTV.com

An Iowa woman who’s spent 30 years trying to solve cold cases plans to get even more involved.

Jody Ewing launched the Iowa cold cases website in 2005. The site includes details of hundreds of unsolved cases, some dating back more than 100 years.

Ewing is now working to get her private investigators license, hoping to keep some of the cases from forever remaining cold.


“There are so many cases that I feel could use a private investigator,” she said. “The current law enforcement department, there are so many crimes happening every day, it’s not that they don’t want to look at these cases, they just don’t have the time. I think these private investigators could play a major role in going back and reinterviewing some of the witnesses and sometimes people are willing to talk after a few years.”

Full Story

Unsolved Mysteries of Cedar Rapids

March 15, 2016 | KRNA.com

With relatively little violent crime to speak of, Cedar Rapids nonetheless has its share of unsolved murder mysteries!

Consider these five most intriguing cold cases from our own neighborhood compiled from Iowa Cold Cases. This organization helps keep these cases open by using the resources of citizens like you offering tips and new information, and the police and journalists who investigate and report on developments.

Read More: Unsolved Mysteries of Cedar Rapids!

WOMEN OF THE WORLD: Karen Lajon’s series on the unusual or exceptional careers of women in the world

Cold Cases, Affaires classées

FEMMES DU MONDE – Chaque semaine, Karen Lajon, grand reporter au service étranger du JDD, revient sur le parcours exceptionnel ou peu ordinaire des femmes, dans le monde. Cette semaine, au cours d’un voyage en Iowa, elle a rencontré Jody Ewing qui consacre désormais sa vie à tenter de résoudre les crimes non élucidés.

November 7, 2015 | By Karen Lajon, reporter to the foreign service JDD, Le Journal du Dimanche | Paris, France

The article’s first paragraph, as published in French.

Cold Case. La série américaine avec la jolie blonde Lillian Rush et la brochette de détectives qui l’accompagne. Certains s’en souviennent peut-être encore. Eh bien, elle existe en chair et en os. Elle s’appelle Jody Ewing, est un peu plus âgée, pas officier de police, mais totalement investie dans un projet fou qui dure maintenant depuis onze ans. Un site Internet entièrement dédié aux meurtres non résolus, dans l’Etat de l’Iowa, où elle est née et réside encore, aujourd’hui. Une dingue diraient certains, mais une dingue avec la suite dans les idées, et un coeur gros comme l’Himalaya. Parce que quoi, sinon? Que penser de cette femme de 56 ans qui, pour pas un sou, passe ses nuits à déterrer des affaires non résolues, que les autorités officielles ont mis au rencart. Que croire, si ce n’est que seule une curieuse générosité, pousse Jody Ewing à écouter des familles en détresse, et à essayer de faire ce que la police n’a pu achever.

Read the full story

Gone Cold: 36-year-old case remains unsolved

Sept. 29, 2015 | By Russ Mitchell | Dickinson County News

Part 1 of a two-part series

“Somebody knows something,” Jody Ewing tells families who are trying to get answers to an unsolved murder or disappearance.

“It is very hard for people to keep secrets to themselves,” she said. “The bigger the secret is, the more compelling it becomes for someone to tell somebody else.”

If the founder of the Iowa Cold Cases website is right, then someone knows what happened to Delores Sumpter on April 1, 1978. She was supposed to meet her family in Spirit Lake, then left a note for them stating she’d gone to church and would be late.

She never returned.

Full Story

D.M. police chief gets more officers into neighborhoods

August 1, 2015 | desmoinesregister.com

rose to Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert for restructuring the neighborhood policing program…

rose to Bankers Trust for doing its part to build police-community relations…

thistle toGov. Terry Branstad for saying the Des Moines Water Works should pipe down about water quality problems if it wants state aid…

roseJody Ewing of Onawa, who has pursued a one-woman campaign to keep murder investigations from going cold…

Full Story

Jody Ewing’s passion for victims’ families, for justice led her to create Iowa Cold Cases

July 30, 2015 | By Mike Kilen, The Des Moines Register | The Perry Chief | The Daily Iowegian | The Tama News-Herald/Toledo Chronicle

She taps away at her computer through the night. She didn’t sleep at all before a recent interview in her Sioux City home, whose front room is equipped with a large desk bulging with deep case files.

She works for no pay, often 16 hours a day. She and her husband, Dennis, live sparsely on his disability check after his stroke a year ago. Her nonprofit receives no grants, and she says she gathers an average of only $500 a year in donations. She even sold her truck.

Ewing says the cases are like a puzzle you can’t quit working on. One can hardly ask her about her own life; she diverts the conversation to one unsolved case after another.

Full Story

Seeking Justice

July 28, 2015 | The New Hampton/Chickasaw County Tribune | Original story by Mike Kilen, The Des Moines Register

She was writing book reviews for a Sioux City newspaper, which even 10 years ago wasn’t considered eye-grabbing material for the masses.

An editor asked her to take on a series of cold cases — unsolved murders — the kind you see on TV shows. People love that stuff.

Full Story

Collection: Gone Cold series

July 27, 2015 | The Sioux City Journal



Click map to explore Iowa's cold cases. (Courtesy Des Moines Register)

Click map to explore Iowa’s cold cases. (Courtesy Des Moines Register)

July 25, 2015 | The Des Moines Register

Explore this interactive map of Iowa’s unsolved murders, dating back to 1847. All information is courtesy of Iowa Cold Cases, and each link will send you to more information about the case on the Iowa Cold Cases website.

View the interactive map.

48 years later, memory of a mother’s brutal death lingers

July 25, 2015 | The Des Moines Register | By Mike Kilen

brenda-camp-conklin-DMR-7-7-2015Courtesy photo Des Moines Register
Brenda Camp’s mother, Leota Camp was stabbed to death in the family’s home while her children, including Brenda, were outside playing on July 10, 1967. “I’d like to know who did it,” Camp added, “It’s always been this mystery of what happened.”

It was a typical summer day in 1967. Leota Camp kissed a goodbye to her husband, Ray, as he went off to his job at the Iowa Employment Security Commission.

Like the many other stay-at-home mothers in the working-class Des Moines neighborhood on Fleming Avenue, a block east of Lower Beaver Road, she had housework to do and children to supervise.

Brenda, 3, and Kevin, 4, played in the back yard as Camp hung laundry on the line, leaving to check on her 3-month-old, Kristine, inside.

It was getting close to noon. Brenda and Kevin grew hungry and went inside to ask their mother for lunch.

What they found was a horror — one that 48 years later, still has no answers.

Full Story

Woman crusades to publicize Iowa’s unsolved murders

July 25, 2015 | By Mike Kilen, The Des Moines Register | The Independence Bulletin Journal | Dickinson County News | The Sioux City Journal

She was writing book reviews for a Sioux City newspaper, which even 10 years ago wasn’t considered eye-grabbing material for the masses. An editor asked her to take on a series of cold cases — unsolved murders — the kind you see on TV shows. People love that stuff.

With three unfinished novels in a drawer, Jody Ewing could hardly turn down an assignment. And when she heard about Donna Sue Davis, there was no going back to writing about books. The 21-month-old toddler with clear blue eyes and curly blond hair was snatched from a crib in her home in a working-class Sioux City neighborhood and later raped, sodomized, beaten and killed from a severe blow to the head. Her killer was never found.

“I couldn’t believe in 1955 that someone could commit such a heinous crime and not be caught,” Ewing said.

Full Story

Getting away with murder

July 25, 2015 | The Des Moines Register | By Jason Clayworth

Courtesy The Register

Courtesy The Register

The killers behind roughly a third of American murders go unidentified by law enforcement.

In the Midwest, it’s even less likely a killer will be caught: Just over half — 52 percent — are identified, according FBI data referred to as “clearance rates.”

Criminologists and forensic death consultants such as Jim Adcock estimate more than 200,000 homicides have gone unsolved in the United States since 1980.

And the longer a case goes unsolved — the colder it becomes — the harder it is to crack.

Advances in forensics and social media have helped identify some killers, but the bitter truth for victims’ families is that the national clearance rate has remained relatively static for more than 20 years.

Why? Read the full story.

6 photos: Gone Cold: Julie Benning

July 16, 2015 | The Des Moines Register | Photos by Brian Powers

Clarksville, IA resident JoAnn Benning stands in her dining room on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 surrounded by photos of her children including Julie Benning who is one of three cold cases from the 1970’s with similar stories. Julie disappeared the day after Thanksgiving in 1975 which is why JoAnn says she still hates the holiday.

Deputies: Former hotel worker attempts to kill boss

May 18, 2015 | KWWL.com

WILLIAMSBURG (KWWL) — An Ainsworth man charged in attempting to kill an Iowa City man at a hotel, is a former employee at the hotel.

48-year old Ron Lee Boughner is charged with attempted murder after deputies say he shot at his former boss Yule Park, the Ramada Inn hotel manager and owner.

Lt. Tim Walters with the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened inside the hotel just off Interstate 80 about 5 miles east of Williamsburg.

Deputies say Boughner shot at Park with a 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun…

…We searched Iowa Cold Cases and found out the hotel – under a different name at the time, is the same one two people were murdered in 1980.

Rose Burkert, 22, and Roger Atkison, 32, from Missouri were killed with an ax-like weapon, according to Iowa Cold Cases.

Write About Me: Authors Keep Cold Cases, Missing Persons from being Forever Forgotten

March 29, 2015 | Carol Kean Blog

Author Carol Kean profiles five individuals from around the world who found unique ways to ensure unsolved murders and missing persons cases are kept alive as the writers approach cold cases from different perspectives and angles.

Full Story

Museum exhibit highlights unsolved crimes

March 4, 2015 | by Juli Probasco-Sowers | Iowa Living Magazine

Mystery, intrigue and murder can be found at Forest Park Museum just south of Perry.

Sounds like a dark novel, but museum curator Pete Malmberg assures visitors that the Iowa Cold Case Files on display are all based on real Iowa murder mysteries. In fact, the current cases highlighted are specific to Dallas County.

“I’m always looking for history and artifacts that are relevant to our area and to Iowa,” Malmberg said. “There is always a lot of interest in mysteries and unsolved crimes so I figured I would do an exhibit on cold cases and start with ones from the area.”

While local cases are highlighted now, sometime this spring, Malmberg plans to highlight some of Iowa’s more notorious unsolved murders and disappearances, particularly that of Jodi Huisentruit.

Huisentruit was abducted at approximately 4:30 a.m. on June 27, 1995 from the parking lot of her apartment on North Kentucky Avenue in Mason City. Her purse and its contents were found scattered around her car. She has never been found and it is assumed she is deceased.

Malmberg is collaborating on the exhibits with Jody Ewing, founder and president of Iowa Cold Cases. He is making plans to have Ewing give a program on cold cases at Forest Park Museum sometime this summer. The time and date have not yet to be determined.

Full Story

Police Receive Leads In Martinko Murder

February 15, 2015 | KGAN-TV/CBS2/FOX28

In an exclusive interview during the holiday season, the family of cold case murder victim Michelle Martinko pleaded for those with information to do the right thing and call police. Now we know, Cedar Rapids investigators and cold case unit members did receive tips.

The 18-year-old Kennedy High School senior was found dead in her family car in the parking lot of the newly opened Westdale Mall in December of 1979. Despite numerous suspects and 35 years of searching for the killer, there has never been an arrest.

A MORNINGSIDE MYSTERY — 40 years after Morningside triple slaying, police still have questions

December 3, 2014 | The Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | Forty years after an unsolved triple slaying on Morningside Avenue, former police chief Joe Frisbie sits in his Sioux City home reflecting on lost time and opportunity.

On a recent night, the 69-year-old picked up his phone to discuss the murders that happened on Dec. 3, 1974, with his ex-partner, Russell White Jr., 67, who now lives in Des Moines.

It’s a typical conversation for the two who led the investigation into the deaths of Freta Bostic, Ernest Isom and Jesse Hanni at 1117 Morningside Ave.

Channel 13 Investigation Helps Close Cold Case

November 12, 2014 | whotv.com

DES MOINES, Iowa — For nine years Des Moines police have been investigating a cold case involving a homeless man whose body was found in the river. Now that man’s family has some closure.

“We were able to present the cremains of what we’ve been calling John Doe 2005 for the past nine years to the family today….it’s good,” says Polk County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk.

Schmunk fights back tears as he talks about finally giving a family closure. Back in October of 2005, the body of a man was found in the Des Moines River near the Center Street Dam. It was close to a homeless camp. The man had about $10 in cash on him, but no identification.

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

November 1, 2014 | defrostingcoldcases.com

Defrosting Cold Cases features Jody Ewing’s “The Waverly Three” as the November Case of the Month. The article highlights the unsolved Waverly, Iowa murders of Valerie Klossowsky, Julie Benning and Lisa Peak.

Iowa teen’s death still unsolved 2 years later

October 20, 2014 | KCCI.com

DUBUQUE, Iowa —Dubuque police say they have few leads in the shooting death of a teen two years ago, citing a lack of cooperation from witnesses.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports 15-year-old Marlon T. Barber Jr. was fatally shot in downtown Dubuque while he and his friends walked away from a party before midnight.

He was taken to a hospital where he was able to provide police some clues about the alleged shooter before dying from his injuries.

Dubuque Police Department Lt. Scott Baxter says the investigation into Barber’s shooting has come to a standstill. He says police believe they have identified all of the people involved in the shooting. But he says that they and others who have some knowledge about the crime have been “relatively uncooperative.”

DNA evidence helps close case 40 years after teenage girl was raped, beaten, shot and killed in rural Iowa

October 18, 2014 | The New York Daily News

In the spring of 1974, Mary Jayne Jones, 17, was raped, beaten, and shot at close range in the face and heart with a high-powered rifle.

On April 9, 1974, her body was found, naked on a bed, in an isolated farmhouse near Blakesburg, Iowa.

From the start, police had strong suspicions about who had snuffed out her life, but they failed to put together a strong enough case for an arrest.

After about a year, the crime-scene evidence, including a blood-soaked blanket, was packed up and sent into storage. It was still there almost a decade later, when a young geneticist in Leicester, England, had a “eureka moment” — the discovery that led to DNA fingerprinting. Three years later, this new crime-busting technology would, for the first time, help catch and convict a killer.

Sioux City boy remembered on 20th birthday

June 30, 2014 | Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | Fourteen years ago seems like just yesterday to Bruce Evans.

On June 20, 2000, his 5-year-old son Anthony was struck by a hit-and-run driver on 21st Street in Sioux City. Anthony died from his injuries the next day.

Tuesday would have been Anthony’s 20th birthday. Evans was at work on the day the accident happened. He knew something was wrong even before he received the news.

“I looked at my brother and I said, ‘Something’s not right,’” said Evans, who now lives in Ceresco, Neb.

His gut feeling led him to call home, where his wife told him their son had been hit by a pickup.

“It was one of the worst feelings in the world,” Evans said.

Police Need One Phone Call to Solve Cold Case

April 10, 2014 | KGAN FOX28/CBS2 CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Cedar Rapids Police say they could be one phone call away from breaking one of the most well-known cold case murders in Iowa. At 4:00 AM on the morning of December 20th 1979 officers responding to a call that 17-year-old Michelle Martinko never came home after a shopping trip, found her body inside the family Buick in the parking lot of the new Westdale Mall.

She had been stabbed multiple times including several wounds to her face. Cold case stories and a Facebook page dedicated to finding the killer kept the hunt alive for three decades until last December, almost exactly 34 years to the night of the murder, when police received a tip.

Iowa sheriff hopes TV show helps crack cold case

March 27, 2014 | USA Today via The Des Moines Register

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa sheriff who led the investigation into a 31-year-old double homicide says he’s “apprehensive” about a crime-solving reality television show that will feature the case in an episode Friday.

But Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said he’s also expecting to hear from the show’s viewers, who could have useful tips to aid the investigation into the 1983 slayings of Steven Fisher, 20, and Melisa Gregory, 17.

“A case is never over. … You’re always looking for more information, you always have unanswered questions,” Halferty said. “I’m hopeful that (the show) will create some additional leads.”

Iowa cold cases: Loose ends with no resolution — yet

December 5, 2013 | KWWL.com

Cold cases bare a chill, but a long list of unsolved crimes statewide isn’t freezing over.

There are hundreds of cold cases in the state of Iowa, with 28 in Black Hawk County alone.

One of the oldest unsolved mysteries is that of a Waterloo case from 1908. Others are fresh in the mind, happening just in the last year.

Division of Criminal Investigation agents said two main challenges they face in solving cold cases are time and resources.

“I have three cold cases that I currently have assigned to me, but all from the 1970s,” said agent Jack Liao. “With that, we have to be able to work those cases in conjunction with the current cases that we pull on a weekly basis.”


October 25, 2013 | Little Village: Iowa City’s News & Culture Magazine

Though Iowa City has never experienced a debacle on the scale of the Villisca axe murder, or crime rates like those seen in big cities, it has had its share of unsolved murders and missing persons. In late 2009, a state cold case unit was established and nearly 150 cases were listed on their website in the hopes of solving them using the latest advancements in DNA technology. The cold case unit closed in December 2011 due to lack of funding, but the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) continues to pursue some cold cases on which they have made progress.

Marlon Barber’s death not only unsolved case in Dubuque

October 8, 2013 | KWWL.com

DUBUQUE — Unsolved homicides and missing person cases frustrate local law enforcement agencies and leave communities hungry for answers.

That is, as long as those cases are kept in the public eye.

One group in Dubuque is trying to draw attention back to unsolved cases, some of which stretch decades into the past.

Margreet Ryan and David Becker are on the Social Justice Committee of the parishes of St. Raphael Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Church in Dubuque.

On Oct. 19, they’re holding a ceremony in Jackson Park to remember the victims of unsolved homicides and missing person cases and show support for the families.

Crime Stoppers reports productive first year

June 11, 2013 | WCF Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa — In its first year in operation, Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has helped in the arrest of dozens of people and has pulled in tips about high-profile crimes.

It also spawned an effort to track down sex offenders who have slipped through the system and sparked new interest in cold cases.

Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit group that pays rewards to residents for anonymous tips and passes information to law enforcement, got its start in Black Hawk County last June.

According to numbers released last week, tips to the Crime Stoppers hotline brought 60 arrests, and the residents who called made a combined $7,500 in rewards. Brice Lippert, an investigator with the Waterloo Police Department, said there are several more arrests from Crimes Stoppers tips in the pipeline.

CRPD Chief Opens Up On Recent Open Homicide Cases

February 14, 2013 | KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The work of a police investigative unit can be a never ending vacuum of work. Solve one major case and there is almost always an older and more difficult puzzle to piece together.

While Cedar Rapids is generally regarded as a safe city, quite a few of the homicide cases since 2000 are still unresolved.

Extensive research through KCRG-TV9/Gazette reveals a total of 36 homicide victims in Cedar Rapids since 2000. Out of that, 12 of the victims are in homicide cases without a resolution and without a conviction for those responsible.

Iowa’s cold cases: Website offers hope to victims’ familie bsp;(Part 2 of 2)

May 31, 2012 | The Des Moines Register

The stories kept coming.

The year was 2005. Newspaper reporter Jody Ewing had finished her series on a half-dozen Sioux City-area cold case crimes for the Sioux City Journal magazine, the Weekender.

But months after the last paragraph published, emails and letters continued. Family members of victims, amateur crime historians and retired law enforcement officers wrote and called Ewing with more stories of unsolved crimes from across Iowa.

Iowa’s cold cases: Families yearn for the truth (Part 1 of 2)

May 30, 2012 | The Des Moines Register

Tammy Parks fears the day her son’s case goes cold.

The body of her son, Jared Parks, was found along Interstate Highway 35/80 three years ago this month. The official cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a vehicle.

She believes her son, then 17, was murdered. The case is officially classified as a suspicious death. Parks worries that one day it will have another classification: cold case.

Agent: Remains are those of missing Iowa woman

May 23, 2012 | Quincy Herald-Whig/Associated Press

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa — Investigators say skeletal remains discovered in rural southeastern Iowa in March are those of a 24-year-old mother who vanished last year.

Division of Criminal Investigation agent Jeff Uhlmeyer said Wednesday the remains are those of Jackie Douthart of Mount Pleasant.

Keeping cold cases from being forgotten

May 11, 2012 | Iowa City Press-Citizen

When Jody Ewing first began writing about Iowa’s unsolved murders, people would ask if she had a personal connection to a cold case that sparked her interest. Until 2007, the answer was always no.

‘I think about it every day’

May 11, 2012 | Iowa City Press-Citizen

It was shortly after sunrise Tuesday, Aug. 13, 1985, when employees on the University of Iowa’s Oakdale campus found the body. Face up on the floor of an open-air park shelter, 22-year-old Lance Lee DeWoody, wearing blue jeans, a blue jacket and tennis shoes, lay dead of gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

Cold cases land in spotlight

May 10, 2012 | KWWL.com Channel 7

WATERLOO (KWWL) – They are the cases authorities continue to look at, even decades later.

In 1995, Angela Buck was shot in her chest. Her body was found south of Dunkerton in a wooded area.

In 1977, Ronald Butler was stabbed to death in the bathroom of his home in Waterloo.

In 1974, Dennis Clougherty died of five gunshot wounds. His body found near Union Road in Cedar Falls.

These are just some of the cases haunting investigators.

Man, 66, confesses to brutal double murder of elderly couple three decades ago

May 10, 2012 | Daily Mail (UK)

A 66-year-old man confessed to the grisly murders of an elderly couple after keeping the secret to himself for more than 30 years.

Jack Wendell Pursel confessed to shooting Richard Huntbach, 85, and his wife, Goldie, 77, in their home in 1981 after walking into the Waterloo, Iowa police station and requesting an audience with officers.

Top Stories — University of Iowa Police Hoping for New Information in Nearly 40 Year Old Murder

May 10, 2012 | KGAN CBS 2

IOWA CITY, IA (KGAN/KFXA) — Here in Iowa there’s a site dedicated to highlighting the state’s cases that have run cold. The site contains homicides, missing persons, all of the unsolved.

“We do have cold cases of our own,” says Alton Poole.

Jack Pursel’s confession to a 30 year double homicide in Waterloo has sparked new interest in other cold cases especially one on the campus of The University of Iowa.

Discovery of remains spurs M.P. speculation: As investigation starts, police chief notes two women still missing

March 20, 2012 | The Hawk Eye

It will take a month, maybe two, for authorities to determine the identity of skeletal remains two bicycle riders found in rural Henry County Saturday afternoon. Jeff Uhlmeyer, a special agent from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said the difficulty lies in getting credible DNA samples from the bones.

Feb. 14 heartbreaking for family

February 14, 2012 | Keokuk Daily Gate City

When Dolores (Toni Martinez) Hornung, 48, of Keokuk was found murdered on Feb. 14, 1999, in her Keokuk home, it changed Valentine’s Day forever for her loved ones.

Cold cases: Mason City woman missing since 1983

November 7, 2011 | North Iowa Today

Grace Esquivel, 25, the mother of a six-year-old daughter, Angie, was reported missing in June 1983. She lived at 1619 N. Pennsylvania Ave. in Mason City.

Money runs out for Iowa cold-case unit

November 3, 2011 | The Sioux City Journal

DES MOINES — An Iowa Department of Public Safety official said the state’s cold case unit is “in transition” but stopped short of saying it has shut down after failing to get the federal funding to keep it going.

“I know it sounds like I’m splitting hairs,” Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jessica Lown said, “but we will follow up on any new information that we receive. We just don’t have a field agent that can do it full time.”

News :: Pair of women keeping Benton County and Iowa cold case victims in the spotlight

October 21, 2011 | Vinton Today

Most Iowans know about some well-known “cold cases” — murders or disappearances that remain unsolved. The 12-year-old paperboy from Des Moines. The Mason City TV anchorwoman who was abducted from outside her studio just after her 27th birthday.

News :: Who murdered Myrtle Cook? Vinton’s 1925 cold case still intrigues historians

October 19, 2011 | Vinton Today

Myrtle Cook’s last words probably got her killed. Cook was sitting near the window of her home at 703 Third Avenue, across the street from the busy Vinton train depot, rewriting and rehearsing outloud her speech to an upcoming Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) meeting.

Cold Cases: Five murders remain unsolved in county; four between ’77 and ’81

October 14, 2011 | Vinton Today

Between Jan. 1, 1977, and Aug. 2, 1981, four men were murdered in Benton County. Their killers were never caught.

According to the Iowa Cold Cases web site, there are five Benton County murders that remain unsolved, dating back to September of 1925 (six if you count the skull that was found in 1997).

Over the next few weeks, Vinton Today will be telling the stories of these murder victims, talking to law enforcement officers about the cases, and interviewing the researchers at Iowa Cold Cases about their efforts to tell the stories of the nearly 500 Iowans whose killers have not yet been caught.

Iowa’s unsolved crime unit in jeopardy

June 26, 2011 | Quad-City Times

DES MOINES – Time and money are running out for the state’s two-person cold case unit. The team came together in January 2009 to help the state’s police and sheriff’s departments cover the gap between what DNA forensic science could do to help solve unsolved cases and the cost in labor and hours that careful investigation requires.

Time, money running out for state’s cold cases

June 25, 2011 | Mason City Globe Gazette

Iowa Q-C area’s cold cases

June 25, 2011 | Quad-City Times

Davenport’s unsolved homicides

June 25, 2011 | Quad-City Times

PUGH: Journal builds better digital news products

April 2, 2011 | The Sioux City Journal

… SUX 911 also features photos and video from breaking news, deep databases devoted to local crime and court information (including an interactive crime map) and links to crime-related resources, Iowa courts online and the Iowa Cold Case website. In short, www.sux911.com is a one-stop destination for all crime and emergency news.

Week 7: Sum it Up!

February 16, 2011 | Defrosting Cold Cases

Two cold case bloggers were placed in the spotlights and justifiably so! “On Tuesday, Feb. 8, Iowa Cold Cases founder Jody Ewing was the featured guest on “Moebanshee’s Lair,” a weekly visionary talk radio show hosted by Moe Banshee. Jody and Moe talked about how the ICC website — the first of its kind in the U.S. — came to be and the resources it provides to victims’ families and the general public.

Death of stepfather drives woman to profile Iowa’s unsolved crimes

July 29, 2010 | WHO-TV Channel 13, Des Moines

Onawa, IA – For Jody Ewing of Onawa, near Sioux City, this is her calling. Remembering the forgotten. Profiling cold, unsolved cases throughout the state on her website iowacoldcases.org.

The project started out in 2005 when Ewing was working as a newspaper reporter. She did a series on cold cases, and more and more victims’ families began asking her for help.

“By the time I finished that cold case series I had so many people that had contacted me and I felt so bad that I couldn’t write about their family member that I decided, well, I’ll just start a website and start putting the cases on there,” Ewing says.

Passion for justice drives Cold Case volunteers

June 10, 2010 | The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun

A passion for justice keeps the people at Iowa Cold Cases going. The organization, which operates the website www.iowacoldcases.org, has taken an interest in the suspicious death of Marlene “Mickey” Padfield, a former Lisbon High School student who died in 1959.

Lisbon leaders hope to shed light on unsolved case of Marlene Padfield

March 18, 2010 | The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun

Lisbon, IA — There always have been more questions than answers in the murder of 17-year-old Marlene Padfield back in February 1959, and Beryl O’Connor and Bob Hill of Lisbon are determined to get to the bottom of the unsolved case.

State unit investigates cold criminal cases

March 8, 2010 | The Des Moines Register

When 8-year-old Valerie Peterson and her bike were launched into the air nearly four decades ago in a lethal hit-and-run accident, police immediately suspected one man.

Cold Cases: Gone But Not Forgotten, Part 2

March 3, 2010 | KCRG.com

Cedar Rapids, IAKCRG TV 9 takes viewers inside the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Laboratories.

Cold Cases: Gone But Not Forgotten, Part 1

March 2, 2010 | KCRG.com

Cedar Rapids, IAKCRG TV 9 report featuring the work being done by the Iowa Cold Cases website.

Police: The hunt doesn’t end

February 15, 2010 | The Muscatine Journal

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Law enforcement officials say they haven’t stopped investigating a pair of unsolved homicide cases involving two Muscatine County men whose deaths happened more than a decade ago.

Iowa woman casts a wide net to catch criminals: Web site helps keep Iowa cold cases alive

February 12, 2010 | The Muscatine Journal

ONAWA, Iowa – Bringing up unsolved murders can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, victims’ families hope new stories and information can cut through years of mystery and uncertainty and bring to justice the person responsible for their loved one’s murder.

Iowa cold case proposal in the running for funds

August 17, 2008 | Mason City Globe Gazette

Cold Case Website Hits Home for Founder

June 9, 2008 | KTIV-TV Channel 4, Sioux City

…this year, Ewing made the hardest decision of all concerning her website. She added her own step-father’s cold case to the site.

Stolen In The Night: Police Continue Search for Killer of Donna Sue Davis

August 27, 2006 | The Sioux City Journal

Donna Sue Davis never sang in cowgirl costumes, modeled bathing suits or won trophies for her beauty.

Unlike JonBenet Ramsey, Donna Sue never reached her sixth birthday. She did not even live long enough to celebrate her second.

The 22-month-old Sioux City girl was abducted Sunday, July 10, 1955, from her home at 715 Isabella St.

A farm family from South Sioux City found the toddler’s half-naked body in their cornfield the next afternoon. Donna Sue had been raped and sodomized. Cigarette burns covered her bottom. Her left jaw was fractured. Bruises covered her petite, 21-pound frame.

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