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Gone Cold

Editor's note: "Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa's unsolved murders" is a weekly feature highlighting some of Iowa’s unsolved homicides in the hope that it will lead to new tips and potentially help solve cases. The project is a partnership between The Journal and other members of the Iowa Newspaper Association.

MARTHA “MARTY” ERICKSON | AGE: 47 | DIED: NOV. 21, 1995

Hometown: Avon Lake, Iowa

On the evening of Nov. 21, 1995, Martha Erickson, 47, was murdered while on her way to a dance. Her body was discovered the following day in Avon Lake’s shallow water. She had been beaten and stabbed. Police say the body offered few clues due to time spent in the water and that they couldn’t even say for sure whether Erickson had been sexually assaulted.

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Erickson enjoyed helping people fight their demons and often attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings even though she wasn’t an alcoholic.

After Erickson’s death, it was discovered that she was an acquaintance of two other murdered women: Susan Kersten, whose severely burned body had been found two months earlier near Iowa City, and Donna Lee Marshall, who was found shot in the head in her home in Bon Aire Mobile Home Lodge in Iowa City in January 1996. But the investigation into the acquaintanceship of all three women yielded nothing substantial.

Anyone with information about Martha Erickson’s unsolved murder is asked to contact the FBI at 712-258-1920 or contact Special Agent in Charge Mike Motsinger at the Iowa DCI at 515-725-6010 or email mmotsing@dps.state.ia.us.

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