SOLVED / CLEARED

The cases listed below represent Iowa cold cases where arrests have been made since we first began tracking the state’s unsolved cases in December 2005. It includes cases where suspects have been convicted or acquitted, cases solved by exceptional means, and cases currently making their way through the criminal justice system.

This page is dedicated to the many past and present investigators who never gave up on seeing justice served for the victim and his or her family.


Cari Farver

Cari Farver

Cari Lea Farver

37 YOA
Home Residence: Macedonia, Iowa
Went Missing From: Pottawattamie County
Last Seen Alive Nov. 13, 2012, in Omaha, Neb.
Case Number: S12-021291
Investigating Agency: Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office
Arrest Made: Dec. 22, 2016
Trial Began: May 10, 2017
Guilty Verdict: May 24, 2017

Cari Lea Farver, 37, of Macedonia, Iowa, was last seen alive in Omaha the morning of Nov. 13, 2012. Her mother, Nancy Raney of Carson, Iowa, reported her as missing to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nov. 16, 2012. Officials found Farver’s vehicle in Omaha on Jan. 10, 2013.

Shanna Golyar

Shanna Golyar

The case went cold, but in February 2016, Pottawattamie County detectives asked the Omaha police cold case unit to assist in the investigation. On Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, Omaha police announced they’d arrested 41-year-old Shanna Goylar at her home in Persia, Iowa, and charged her with first-degree murder in Cari Farver’s death. Persia is located about 35 miles northeast of Omaha.

Police believe the slaying took place Nov. 13 or 14, 2012, in west Omaha, according to a police report.

Golyar went on trial before Douglas County (NE) District Judge Timothy Burns on May 10, 2017. Golyar chose a bench trial over a jury trial.

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Judge Burns found Golyar guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree arson in Farver’s death. Golyar will be sentenced to life in prison in August 2017.


Cora Ann Okonski

Cora Ann Okonski

Cora Ann Okonski

23 YOA
Tama, Iowa
Tama County
Date of Crime: April 16, 2000
Arrest Made: December 9, 2016
Tait Purk Convicted of First-Degree Murder: May 10, 2017

Cora Ann Okonski, a 23-year-old young mother engaged to be married the following month, went missing from her Tama, Iowa, home around 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 16, 2000. Tait Otis Purk, 33 — Okonski’s live-in companion and the man she planned to marry — told police she left that night to go to the store to buy cigarettes but never returned. He said he’d stayed home to care for Okonski’s 2-year-old son, Austin, and that he’d last seen his fiancée walking west on 5th Street in Tama.

Tait Otis Purk

Tait Otis Purk

In March of 2015, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) reopened Okonski’s case.  Iowa DCI special agents with significant experience working cold cases, working in conjunction with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Tama County Sheriff’s Office, Tama Police Department and Tama County Attorney’s Office concluded Okonski’s disappearance was not voluntary.

Through interviews and additional discoveries, the case was classified as a homicide investigation. Agents traveled extensively throughout the country conducting multiple interviews of key witnesses relevant to the investigation. Their findings were submitted to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the Tama County Attorney’s Office. Upon review of the report, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the Tama County Attorney’s office convened a grand jury to review evidence and testimony. A grand jury returned a True Bill indictment on Tait Otis Purk, 50, for the crime of Murder in the First Degree in violation of Section 707.2(1) of the Code of Iowa.

Purk’s murder trial, moved to Iowa County on a change of venue, began Monday, May 1, 2017. On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, jurors found Purk guilty of first-degree murder. He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on July 10, 2017.


Tony "T-Bone" Canfield

Tony “T-Bone” Canfield

Tony Ray “T-Bone” Canfield

52 YOA
1401 George St.
Sioux City, Iowa
Woodbury County
Killed: Sunday, May 1, 2011
Arrests Made: June 10, 2016
Sentencings: Sept. 1, Sept. 7, 2016

At 11 p.m. Sunday, May 1, 2011, three men – Courtland Clark, 26, of Flowery Branch, Georgia, Robert Beaver, 35, of Sioux City, and Devery Hibbler, 26, of Dumas, Arkansas – entered the 1401 George St., Sioux City apartment belonging to Dana and Tony Canfield in order to rob Tony of his marijuana and cash.

Devery Hibbler

Devery Hibbler – sentenced Sept. 1, 2016, to 35 years in prison.

Authorities said Beaver beat and held Canfield’s wife while Clark and Hibbler struggled and robbed Canfield. Canfield fought back and managed to escape by running out the front door. At this point Hibbler then shot Canfield in the head on the front porch.

Robert Beaver

Robert Beaver – sentenced Sept. 1, 2016, to 20 years in prison.

The three robbers fled the scene, and evaded capture for five years as the Sioux City Police Department, Woodbury County Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked together to build a solid case against all three men. Because his business was illegal and involved interstate commerce, Sioux City police and the Woodbury County Attorney’s Office referred the case to the United States Attorney’s Office, and federal prosecutors were able to claim jurisdiction in the case.

Courtland Clark

Courtland Clark – sentenced Sept. 7, 2016, to 21 years in prison.

Sioux City police announced on Friday, June 10, 2016, that they’d arrested and charged all three men in Canfield’s homicide and that all three individuals entered guilty pleas.

Clark and Hibbler each pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery. Clark and Hibbler also pleaded guilty to one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, Hibbler was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison; Beaver was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison. Neither will have the possibility of parole or the right to appeal his conviction.

On Sept. 7, 2016, Courtland Clark was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in Tony Canfield’s death.


Lance DeWoody

Lance DeWoody

Lance Lee DeWoody — Plea Deal Reached

22 YOA
University of Iowa
Oakdale Campus
Coralville, IA
Johnson County
Date of Crime: August 12, 1985
Arrest Made: March 24, 2016
Murder Charges Dropped: Jan. 31, 2017

Lance Lee DeWoody, 22, of North Liberty, Iowa, was shot in the head and neck at a picnic shelter on the north side of the University of Iowa’s Oakdale campus in Coralville sometime between late Monday night, August 12, 1985, and early Tuesday morning.

Oakdale campus employees found DeWoody’s body shortly after sunrise Tuesday near the campus’ general hospital parking lot. He lay face up on the floor of an open-air park shelter, dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and tennis shoes. His pickup was found parked about 70 yards away.

Anthony Burtsch

Anthony Burtch

More than 30 years later, The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), in cooperation with the Coralville Police Department, arrested Anthony Burtch, 57, of Iowa City, on March 24, 2016, and charged him with Murder in the First Degree, a Class “A” Felony, in DeWoody’s slaying.

Throughout the investigation it was determined that DeWoody was dating the wife of Burtch. DeWoody and Burtch’s wife spent the evening of August 12, 1985, together and then Burtch’s wife returned home to Burtch. Shortly after her return, Burtch left for approximately an hour-and-a-half. Investigators believe that Burtch killed DeWoody during this time. Burtch was scheduled to face trial Feb. 7, 2017, but in January 2017, he entered a guilty plea to obstructing prosecution, a misdemeanor, and the murder charges against him were dropped. On February 23, 2017, Burtch was sentenced to six months in jail with credit for time served.


Nathan Messer

Nathan Messer

Nathan Messer, 20
Seth Anderson, 22

Arson Investigation
11612 140th Street
Wapello County
Date of Crime: March 5, 2006
Arrests Made: March 24, 2016
[Yenger] Found Guilty: Feb. 14, 2017

At approximately 6:33 a.m. on March 5, 2006, a neighbor observed smoke and flames coming from the residence of 11612 140th Street. Wapello County Rural Fire and Rescue and the Hedrick Fire Department were called and responded to the scene.

Arriving emergency personnel found two individuals outside of the home. The residence was fully engulfed in flames and sustained major fire damage. Seth Anderson, 22, and Nathan Messer, 20, who were sleeping on the second floor of the home, never made it out and died from smoke inhalation.

Zachary Dye and Christopher Yenger (Courtesy KCCI.com)

Zachary Dye and Christopher Yenger (Courtesy KCCI.com)

The investigation in 2006 was closed and the fire was ruled undetermined. In January 2016, the case was reopened after information came to light that two individuals started the fire after a physical altercation at the residence shortly before the fire was discovered.

On January 25, 2016, Christopher Joseph Yenger, 28, of Ottumwa, and Zachary Allen Dye, 27, of Council Bluffs, were arrested and each charged with two counts of Felony Murder.

On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, Wapello County jurors found Christopher Yenger guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Messer and Anderson. Zachary Dye, 28, accepted a deal with prosecutors and was convicted of aiding and abetting first-degree arson.


Susan Kersten

Susan Kersten

Susan Kersten

38 YOA
Iowa City, Iowa
Johnson County
Case Number: 95-11388
Date of Crime: September 24, 1995
Arrest Made: July 27, 2015
Alford Plea Entered: Feb. 17, 2017

Steven Klein

Steven Klein

Susan Kersten, a 38-year-old gifted artist and divorced mother of four — including 1-year-old twin daughters — was killed in Iowa City on Sunday, Sept. 24, 1995, sometime after returning home from a family reunion. She’d been beaten severely, put inside her vehicle, and the car then set afire after being rolled down an embankment.

Kersten’s former boyfriend, Steven J. Klein, was arrested in Muscatine July 17, 2015, and charged with first-degree murder in the nearly 20-year-old unsolved homicide.

Kersten’s death came just three weeks before a scheduled child support hearing for the couple’s twins. On Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, Klein entered an Alford plea on charges of second-degree arson, willful injury causing serious injury and suborning perjury in the death. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.


Robert "Bryan" McMahon

Robert “Bryan” McMahon

Robert Bryan McMahon

Former John Doe 2005
Approx. 40-45 YOA
Case Number: 05-43363
Body Found: 800 block W. Riverside Drive
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Approx. Date of Death: Oct. 18, 2005
Body Found: Oct. 25, 2005
Body Identified: November 2014

On Oct. 25, 2005, the body of a white male was found floating in the Des Moines River near the west bank in the vicinity of the 800 block of W. Riverside Drive in Des Moines. The victim, believed to be somewhere between 40 and 45 years old, had brown hair with a goatee, was shirtless, wore size 36 tan shorts beneath size 38 blue trousers and wore a yellow and white Relic brand watch.

In 2010, WHO-TV Channel 13’s Aaron Brilbeck ran a story about the case as part of an ongoing cold case series with Iowa Cold Cases. A woman thought she recognized the picture of the victim shown on TV as her ex-husband and called Des Moines police, but was incorrectly told the body was that of a Hispanic male.

Robert-Bryan-McMahon-family-WHOTVCourtesy photo WHO-TV Channel 13, Des Moines
The man known for nine years only as “John Doe 2005” has been identified as Robert “Bryan” McMahon.

WHO-TV eventually removed the story and video and from its website, but the case summary and video remained on the Iowa Cold Cases site. In November 2014, the woman checked out the story again on the iowacoldcases.org website, and was sure the body belonged to her ex-husband, Robert Bryan McMahon. She contacted the medical examiners office, and Polk County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Schmunk was able to positively identify the body as that of McMahon. The cremains were presented to McMahon’s ex-wife Nancy and family Nov. 12, 2014, and Dr. Schmunck credited both WHO-TV and Iowa Cold Cases for helping to solve the case.

“It was absolutely crucial,” Dr. Schmunck told Channel 13’s Brilbeck. “Had you not done your work, and Iowa Cold Cases not put it out there, he would have been never identified.”


Holly Durben

Holly Durben

Holly Rae Durben

29 YOA
2492 Highway 59
Shenandoah, IA
Fremont County
Date of Crime: July 18, 2009
Arrest Made: Oct. 29, 2014
Conviction: Feb. 16, 2015

Brian Davis

Brian Davis

Holly Rae Durben, 29, was shot to death on Saturday, July 18, 2009, in the Shenandoah home she shared with her boyfriend, Brian Heath Davis. Davis told authorities Holly had committed suicide.

Brian Davis was arrested Oct. 29, 2014 and charged with first-degree murder in Holly’s death.

On Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, Fremont County District Court Judge Timothy O’Grady found Davis guilty of first-degree murder in Holly’s death.


Mark Koster

Mark Koster

Mark Edgar Koster

58 YOA
610 N. 5th Street
Sac City, IA
Sac County
Reported Missing: July 4, 2009
Declared Legally Dead: Oct. 10, 2011
Remains Found: Nov. 5, 2012
Suspect Arrested: March 25, 2014
Conviction Date: April 3, 2015

Mark Koster disappeared from Sac City, Iowa, sometime during the summer of 2009 and reported missing to the Sac City Police Department July 4, 2009. He’d been “last seen with a friend from Florida,” and a search warrant served on Koster’s house revealed all his clothes and possessions still in the home. His vehicle remained parked in the garage.

John David Green

John David Green

On Nov. 5, 2012, a new homeowner renovating Koster’s former Sac City home discovered human skeletal remains concealed in the basement and immediately notified Sac City police. Officials later identified the remains as Koster’s.

On March 25, 2014, officials with the Sac City Police Department and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested 54-year-old John David Green in Orange Park, Florida, and charged him with first-degree murder in Koster’s death. On April 3, 2015, a Boone County, Iowa jury found Green guilty of second-degree murder in Koster’s death.


Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez

Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez

Nelson Alvarez Hernandez

33 YOA
1613 S. 13th St., Apt. 1
Council Bluffs, IA
Pottawattamie County
Case Number: 03-004354
Date of Crime: July 31, 2003
Arrest Made: March 4, 2014
Date of Conviction: July 1, 2014

In the early morning hours on July 31, 2003, Nelson “Selena” Alvarez-Hernandez, 33, was stabbed to death in front of an apartment building at 1613 So. 13th St. in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

James Harris

James Harris

Thomas J. Sanchez was arrested Jan. 23, 2014 after DNA evidence linked him to Alvarez-Hernandez’s murder, and on March 4, 2014, authorities also arrested 36-year-old James Cain Harris of Council Bluffs on suspicion of first-degree murder in the case.

Charges against Thomas Sanchez were dismissed June 24, 2014.

Harris was held at the Pottawattamie County Jail on a $1 million bond, and his trial began June 24, 2014. On July 1, 2014, jurors found Harris guilty of first-degree murder. On Aug. 20, 2014, Fourth District Judge Greg Steensland sentenced Harris to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Melisa Gregory

Melisa Gregory

Steven Fisher

Steven Fisher

Melisa Gregory, 17
Steven Fisher, 20

Copper Dollar Ranch
Newton, IA
Jasper County
Case # 83-1119
Date of Crime: March 3, 1983
Arrest Made: March 3, 2014
Verdict: Feb. 20, 2015 — Theresa Supino acquitted

Steven Fisher and girlfriend Melisa Gregory were found bludgeoned to death at the Copper Dollar Ranch northwest of Newton, Iowa, in Jasper County on March 3, 1983. The attack’s sheer brutality initially led police to believe the pair had been shot in their heads. It later was determined the two were bludgeoned to death.

Jasper County Attorney Steve Johnson acknowledged there was some known drug activity in the area, but said he personally believed the murders were “up close and personal.”

Terri Supino

Terri Supino

On Monday, March 3, 2014 — exactly 31 years to the day when Melisa and Steven’s bodies were found — the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference to announce they’d arrested Fisher’s estranged wife, Terri Supino, and charged her with two counts of first-degree murder.

During a pretrial conference Wednesday morning, Aug. 27, 2014, Judge Terry Rickers said there would be “substantial prejudice” against 54-year-old Theresa Lynn “Terri” Supino if her trial were held in the Newton or Des Moines areas, and the trial was moved to Black Hawk County.

On Feb. 20, 2015, Black Hawk County jurors acquitted Supino in both counts of first-degree murder.

Jasper County Attorney Mike Jacobsen said his office would not have brought charges against Supino if they didn’t feel they could get a guilty verdict.

Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said that while the case is now considered closed, his office would leave the door open to entertain new leads if they become available.


Justin Hook

Justin Hook

Justin Hook, Tina Lade, Sarah Hook

Drakesville, IA (Davis County)
Eldon, IA (Wapello County)
Case Number: 84-01854
Date of Crime(s): April 13, 1984
Case Solved: January 10, 2014

Sarah Link

Sarah Link

On Friday, April 13, 1984, the body of 20-year-old Justin Alfred Hook Jr., was found outside near his burned-out mobile home in rural Drakesville in southeast Iowa. Firefighters discovered Hook’s body about 4:30 p.m. after they’d extinguished the fire. He’d been killed by blows to the head.

Tina Lade

Tina Lade

Officials were unable to locate his mother, 41-year-old Sarah Lee Link, to inform her of her son’s death, but discovered her body the following Monday, April 16, in a hilly wooded area north of Eldon. She, too, had died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Andrew Six

Andrew Six

Authorities then launched an intensive search for Hook’s fiancée, 19-year-old Tina Marie Lade of Ottumwa, to whom he’d recently become engaged. On Wednesday, April 18, trained police dogs discovered Miss Lade’s body in a ravine about a half-mile from where they found Mrs. Link’s body. Lade, like the others, had died from blows to the head.

On Jan. 10, 2014, nearly 30 years after the triple homicide, DCI and Wapello County authorities announced that Andrew Wessel Six was responsible for the murders. Missouri authorities executed Six in 1997 for the 1987 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Kathy Allen.


Frances Bloomfield

Frances Bloomfield

Frances Bloomfield

57 YOA
38 Wakefield Ct.
Iowa City, IA
Johnson County
Date of Crime: Sept. 20, 1997
Arrest Made: Nov. 26, 2013
Husband, John Bloomfield, Arrested/Charged: Nov. 26, 2013
John Bloomfield dies while awaiting trial: Nov. 6, 2014

John Bloomfield booking photo

John Bloomfield

Frances Bloomfield was reported missing on September 22, 1997, by her husband, John, who had returned from a business conference in France.

Mrs. Bloomfield’s body was found three days later, bound with pantyhose and wrapped in plastic bound with duct tape, in a ditch along a highway about a half-mile south of Rockford, Illinois. She’d been strangled.

Investigators believe she’d been killed in her home on Sept. 20.

John Bloomfield was arrested in November 2013 and charged with first-degree murder in his wife’s death. He died Nov. 6, 2014 while awaiting trial.


Judith Weeks

Judith Weeks

Judith Kay Weeks

44 YOA
1319 Second Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
Date of Crime: April 4, 1999
Arrest Made: August 16, 2013
Alford Plea Entered: June 23, 2016 for Voluntary Manslaughter

Deshaun Phillips

Deshaun Phillips

Judith Kay Weeks, a 44-year-old mother of two, was last seen alive on Sunday morning, April 4, 1999. The following day, her body was discovered in the back yard of a vacant apartment house at 1319 Second Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The only apparent injury was a wound to Weeks’ forehead caused by a bladed object, according to a police affidavit filed with an application to search her apartment at 1002 Fifth St. SE.

Deshaun Lamonte Phillips, 34, was arrested in Shakopee, Minn., on Friday, August 16, 2013, and charged with First-Degree Murder in Weeks’ death. On June 23, 2016 he entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter. He faces up to 10 years in prison and will be sentenced Aug. 23, 2016.


John Snyder Jr.

John Snyder Jr.

John Snyder Jr.

20 months old
10 S. Adams Ave., Apt. 1
Mason City, IA
Cerro Gordo County
Date of Crime: July 20, 1994
Arrest Made: July 15, 2013
Suspect Acquitted: July 14, 2014

Twenty-month-old John Joseph Snyder Jr., the son of John Snyder Sr. and Lisa Sellman, was reported as missing from his father’s 10 S. Adams Avenue Mason City apartment on Wednesday morning, July 20, 1994.

Police searched surrounding areas and that same day found the toddler’s blue pajama bottoms and his diaper by Willow Creek about two blocks south of the Snyder home. Thursday morning around 10 a.m., searchers using dogs discovered the young boy’s body snagged on a tree stump near Willow Creek’s north bank, about one-half mile downstream from where the tot’s clothing had been found.

Michael Jason Cisneros

Michael Cisneros (jail photo)

On Monday, July 15, 2013, Mason City police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation held a press conference stating that Michael Jason Cisneros, 37, formerly of Mason City, had been charged with first-degree murder in John Snyder Jr.’s death. Investigators had linked Cisneros to the crime via solid DNA evidence found on the toddler’s pajama bottoms.

On July 14, 2014 — just six days before the case’s 20th anniversary — Cerro Gordo County jurors acquitted Cisneros, despite the DNA evidence, after public defender Letitia Turney based her entire defense not on her client’s innocence but by defaming the boy’s father to make him appear responsible for the crime. Two weeks after the verdict, a judge found Turney in contempt of court over her handling of the Michael Cisneros murder trial. Turney was fined, though Cisneros cannot be tried again due to double jeopardy.


Mary Jayne Jones

Mary Jayne Jones

Mary Jayne Jones

17 YOA
Blakesburg, IA
Wapello County
Case # 74-00243
April 9, 1974
Arrest Made: Nov. 13, 2012

Robert Pilcher

Robert Pilcher

Mary Jayne Jones, 17, of Ottumwa, Iowa, was found slain in a farmhouse near Blakesburg, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 9, 1974. She had been shot once in the head and once in the heart at close range with a high-powered rifle.

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, Robert “Gene” Pilcher, 68, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Mary Jayne’s death. Under the plea deal, both sides recommended a 10-year sentence, which Judge Richard Meadows imposed on Pilcher.

Pilcher will receive credit for the two years served since his arrest, and also will quality for reductions for good behavior. He may be out of prison in as little as five years.


Evelyn Miller

Evelyn Miller

Evelyn Miller

5 YOA
1781 Quarry Road, Apt. #4
Floyd, Iowa
Floyd County
Date of Crime: July 1, 2005
Date Charges Filed: Sept. 27, 2012
Conviction Date: March 10, 2015

Casey Frederiksen

Casey Frederiksen

Five-year-old Evelyn Miller was reported missing on July 1, 2005, from the Floyd, Iowa apartment her mother, Noel Miller, shared with her fiancé, Casey Frederiksen. Evelyn’s body was found in the Cedar River five days after she went missing.

On Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, Casey Frederiksen was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in connection with Evelyn’s death.

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a Hamilton County jury found Frederiksen, 35, guilty on both charges. Frederiksen is currently serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography, but will now spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.


Alysia Marburger

Alysia Marburger

Alysia Kay Marburger

27 YOA
Home Residence: Sabula, IA
Found: Area of Rock Creek cabins at 2829 U.S. 67
Camanche, IA
Clinton County
Date of Crime: October 7, 2008
Arrest Made: July 27, 2012
Conviction Date: July 11, 2013

Alysia Kay Marburger, 27, was last seen alive leaving a friend’s apartment with Andy Cole of Clinton about 2:15 a.m. October 7, 2008. The next day, her parents, John and Leone Marburger, filed a missing persons report with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. At 11:08 a.m. on Friday, October 24, 2008, Marburger’s partially nude remains were discovered in a ditch in the Rock Creek Cabin area at 2829 U.S. 67 in Camanche.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole

The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny conducted an autopsy but were unable to determine an exact cause or manner of death but called it “highly suspicious of a homicide.”

On Friday, July 27, 2012, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office announced they had arrested Cole and charged him with first-degree murder in Marburger’s death. Cole, 48, entered an Alford plea and on Thursday, July 11, 2013, was sentenced in Clinton County District Court to 10 years on one count of voluntary manslaughter and 5 years for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.


Brandyn Preston

Brandyn Preston

Brandyn Preston

19 YOA
1101 10th Avenue
Fort Dodge, IA
Webster County
Crime Date: May 8, 2011
Date of Death: January 22, 2012
Arrest Made: July 12, 2012

On Sunday, May 8, 2011 — Mother’s Day — Brandyn Preston of Fort Dodge was shot in the neck while attending a bonfire party in the back yard at 1101 10th Ave. SW in Fort Dodge. Preston, 19, was taken to Trinity Regional Medical Center just after 4 a.m. and then transferred to Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.

Derrick McElroy

Derrick McElroy

The bullet lodged in Preston’s spinal cord and left the basketball enthusiast paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. On Sunday, January 22, 2012, he passed away in Tampa, Florida, where his family had taken him for longterm care.

On Thursday, July 12, 2012, Derrick J. McElroy, 26, of Fort Dodge, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Preston’s death.

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, a Webster County jury found McElroy guilty as charged.


Robert Huntbach

Robert Huntbach

Robert and Goldie Huntbach

Goldie Huntbach

Goldie Huntbach

311 W. 10th St.
Waterloo, IA
Black Hawk County
Crime Date: January 12, 1981
Arrest Date: May 9, 2012
Conviction Date: June 7, 2012

Robert Huntbach, 85, and his wife Goldie, 77, were bound, gagged and tortured in their modest Waterloo home before someone shot each of them twice in the head sometime late Sunday night, Jan. 12, 1981. Police interviewed dozens of people after the murders — including Jack Wendell Pursel — but never made any arrests and the case went cold for 31 years.

Jack Pursel

Jack Pursel

Late on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, Jack Wendell Pursel, a 66-year-old former Waterloo resident who’d been living in South Gate, Calif., walked into the Waterloo Police Department and confessed to the double homicide. Police said he offered information about the crime only the killer would have known.

Police arrested Pursel early Wednesday, May 9, and charged him with two counts of first-degree murder.

On June 7, 2012, Judge Brad Harris sentenced Pursel to life in prison without the possibility of parole — the mandatory punishment under state law.


Angela Hennes

Angela Hennes

Angela Marie Hennes

41 YOA
Davenport, IA
Scott County
Case # 07-01804
Est. Date of Death: January 11, 2007
Body Found: January 13, 2007
Arrest Made: June 8, 2011
Conviction Date: April 17, 2012

Chad Welsh

Chad Welsh

On or around January 11, 2007, Angela Hennes, 41, was strangled to death, her body set on fire and then dumped in a farm field off Seven Sisters Road in rural Scott County. Toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol in her system.

On June 8, 2011, Scott County authorities announced they had charged Chad Michael Lee Welsh, 33, with Angela’s murder. Investigators linked Welsh to Hennes’ murder through DNA. On April 17, 2012, a Scott County District Court jury found Welsh guilty of first-degree murder.


Cathy Stickley

Cathy Stickley

Catherine “Cathy” Ann Stickley

54 YOA
1500 block alley between Second and Third avenues SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
Linn County
Date of Death: April 29, 2011
Arrest of Johnathan Dewayne Mitchell: May 3, 2011
Story County jury acquits Mitchell of all charges: Oct. 23, 2013
Federal prosecutors charge and indict Mitchell April 26, 2016, in U.S. District Court for “violently” robbing Stickley on April 29, 2011. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

On Friday, April 29, 2011, someone stabbed Cedar Rapids cab driver Catherine Ann “Cathy” Stickley 18 times in the neck and head before stealing the cab fare money from the 54-year-old mother of four children and five grandchildren.

Johnathan Mitchell

Johnathan Mitchell

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, nearly 20 officers in SWAT gear approached the 416 15th St. NE home of 33-year-old Johnathan Dewayne Mitchell, located a half-block from Polk Elementary School and just five blocks from where Stickley had been killed. Armed with shields, rifles and crowbars, officials arrested Mitchell at the home without incident, and later charged him with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Stickley’s homicide.

The trial — moved from Linn County to Story County based on pretrial publicity — eventually began jury selection on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Nevada, Iowa. On Oct. 23, 2013, Story County jurors acquitted Mitchell on both the murder and robbery charges. The story did not end there.

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, federal prosecutors charged and indicted Mitchell in U.S. District Court for “violently” robbing Stickley on April 29, 2011. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

3 Responses to Solved

  1. Gail says:

    I think it is great there is justice be served for these lost people!!!

  2. Richard Clark says:

    My father was murdered in a hotel at pocahontas Ia in 1977. His name is Warren Douglas Clark. And yet i can find no records of his case file or court records of the trial for the man the was caught for his murder.

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