With the settling of one cold case in Lyon County Thursday, there are now five unidentified bodies the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is working to identify.
Two of them are within Woodbury County, in Sioux City and near Correctionville. Both those cases involve men found in the 1980s.
The five cases, which include bodies in Des Moines, Clinton County and Winneshiek County, have been entered by DCI into the National Crime Information Center computer system for possible matches against the missing person file. But if an individual has never been entered as missing by any agency, there will be no matching possibility, DCI assistant director Steve Vogel said.
The DCI has taken to placing information about the cases on the Internet (www.dps.state.ia.us/dci/ud) in order to reach a more diversified audience in order to identify the found bodies.
On March 25, 1986, a burned body was found under a bridge of an abandoned river channel near the Sioux City stockyards. Sioux City Police Department officials said they believe the man's death had occurred the previous day as an apparent suicide. The body had been doused with gasoline, and the white male with a medium build was believed to be 45 to 49 years old.
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On Aug. 30, 1988, skeletonized remains were found in a roadside ditch one-half mile east of Correctionville. A number of possessions were found with the man, including a shirt, socks, shoes, gloves, gym bag and shaving materials. The cause of death could not be determined, but the officials put the estimated date of death long before discovery of the skeleton, roughly 1971 to 1973. Some think that the man, whose age was estimated from 33 to 53 years, was a transient who perished.
Given a popular television program, there is a lot of interest in "cold cases." As he explained the breaking of the Lyon County case, with a 28-year old puzzle solved with the identification of a woman found half-naked in a ditch, Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal spoke about the need for the state of Iowa to have a cold case unit.
"Guys that specialize in cold cases are very special individuals that don't mind failing every time they turn around," Bloemendaal said. "You have to learn how to put up with failure when you're doing a cold case. The state of Iowa, it would be nice if they achieved a group of guys who had the stamina and the whereforall to investigate these cases and bring closure to these families throughout the state who have missing loved ones."
Sioux City DCI agent Dan Moser said, "I think it is a goal. I think we'd like to do that." But Moser said financing is a sticking point to get a cold case unit started in Iowa.