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Unidentified Bodies

Map of Iowa with Found Unidentified Body Locations

The State of Iowa has six unidentified bodies on file. These cases have been entered into the National Crime Information Center Computer System for possible matches against the missing person file. However, if the individual has never been entered as missing by any agency there will be no match. The purpose of placing these cases on the DPS website, is to reach a more diverse audience that might have knowledge about the identity of any one of these individuals.

Caution: Every effort has been made to present this information in a way that is not offensive to the viewer. Given the nature of the information, it may be uncomfortable for some. While no photographs of live individuals or remains are presented, there are images of clay reconstructions of the persons whose remains are unidentified, along with images of tattoos and personal effects found with the remains. These images are presented in order to enhance the possibility of successfully identifying any of these individuals.


1.  Clinton County - April 11, 1975

Description Black female, 12 - 23 years of age, 5'2" to 5'4", 100 to 120 lbs., average build, black hair
Details Body found April 11,1975, in river in Clinton County. Victim was approximately 10 weeks pregnant.
Clothing None
Jewelry None
Cause of Death Gunshot wound. Death occurred sometime in early 1975.
Agency Clinton County Sheriff's Office 563.242.9211.
2.  Des Moines, Iowa - February 28, 1984
Description White male, 28-48 years of age, 5'7" to 5'9", approximately 150 lbs., brown hair , medium build, right handed, surgical pin implanted in right knee
Details Skeletal remains found February 28, 1984, in brushy area along a dirt trail in Des Moines, Iowa.
Clothing Faded blue denims with 31" waist, dark leather belt, brown socks, low cut TRAX sneakers brown/blue in color.
Possessions Plastic comb, plastic Copenhagen snuff box and a pocket knife.
Cause of Death Blunt trauma, sometime during the summer of 1983.
Agency Des Moines Police Department 515.283.4800
Tattoos Found on the Remains
Full body image pinpointing tattoo locations
Right Arm Side Profile Right Front Profile Right  Rear Profile
Right Arm Side Profile Right Front Profile of Tattoos


Right Rear Profile
Tattoo 1 Flying bird carrying streamer in its beak. Written inside streamer is "MOTHER". The word "DAD" is above bird. The bird is in red-orange ink. Back of streamer is in green ink. Located right upper-arm near shoulder-tip. Dimensions: Approximately 3 inches from "DAD" to bottom of streamer. Approximately 2 1/2 inches from beak to tail. Tattoo 1 image
Tattoo 2 Nazi storm-trooper. Wearing German Helmet, iron cross, SS on collar tabs. Face under helmet is skull-like. Has appearance of wearing leather coat. Dark-colored ink. Located on side and extending to rear of right upper-arm. Dimensions: approximately 6 inches tall by 3 inches wide. Runs parallel to tattoos three and four.

Tattoo 2 Image

Tattoo 3 Laughing skull with top-hat and cigarette. The words "BORN TO DIE" encircling design. Red ink inside eyes. Green ink inside nose. Located on right arm/inside bicep. Approximately 1/2 inch above tattoo no. four. Total size approximately 1 3/4 inches wide at brim of hat by 2 inches long. Tattoo 3 Image
Tattoo 4 Female face with dark hair under a sombrero. Fancy design on brim of sombrero. It's believed that the sombrero was put on after the female's features were tattooed. An additional tattoo of "JOHN" is visible under the design inside the sombrero brim. From top of hat to chin of female face is approximately 2 1/2 inches. The brim of the sombrero is approximately 2 1/4 inches wide. Located inner-arm approximately 3 1/2 inches. Located inner-arm approximately 3 1/2 inches from elbow joint. (right side) Approximately 1/2 inch below the skull in top-hat design. Tattoo 4 Image
Tattoo 5 Description: Female facial-profile/left side. Located on right side of chest above nipple. Tattooed so that female's hair appears light-colored. NOTE: A distinctive feature is that female has a "gear" with a wrench through it for an earring. Dimensions: Tattoo would take up most of subject's right breast-area. Tattoo 5 Image
Tattoo 6 Description: Appears to be a spotted snake coiled around a tree. Dark ink. Located in middle of chest; along the sternum, from the xiphoid process to the angle. Majority of this tattoo is indistinguishable due to skin deterioration. Tattoo 6 Image
Tattoo 7 Description: Dark-colored ink. No combination for colors. Believed that skin-section from abdominal area/right side between navel and chest. Approximate dimensions: (male cartoon figure minus head due to skin deterioration.) toe to toe - 3 inches; sole to upper-chest - 3 3/4 inches Tattoo 7 Image
Tattoo 8 Dark-colored ink. No discernible color combinations. Butterfly pattern. Located on rear of right-side shoulder; towards collarbone area. Dimension: approximately 1 1/2 inches long. NOTE: No pattern distinguishable on rearward wing (possible due to skin deterioration) Tattoo 8 Image
3.  Sioux City, Iowa - March 25, 1986
Description> White male, 45-49 years of age, 5'6" to 5'8", 145 to 155 lbs., medium build, blood type A+
Details Burned body was found under a bridge of an abandoned river channel in Sioux City on March 25, 1986.
Clothing Subject was wearing white cotton gloves, brown western shirt, blue jeans, blue cotton socks and tan western boots.
Possessions Tube of contact cement.
Cause of Death Apparent suicide; burned body was found doused with gasoline. Estimated time of death was the late afternoon of  March 24, 1986.
Agency Sioux City Police Department 712.279.6365


4.  Winneshiek County - March 31, 1986
Description White male, 33-36 years of age, 5'6" to 5'9", 145 - 160 lbs., brown hair, medium build
Details Skeletal remains found March 31, 1986, between hay bales at a farm site in Winneshiek County, Iowa
Clothing Plaid white-tan-black pile-lined jacket, medium white-tan short sleeve terry cloth shirt, blue cords with 33" waist, black socks, extra-large blue windbreaker and brown shoes
Possessions A one dollar bill, pink blanket and a match book
Cause of Death Unknown. Estimated date of death: April 1985
Agency Winneshiek County Sheriff's Office 563.382.4268
The individual may have been traveling from Ohio to California. Skull reconstruction pictures indicate what the individual may have looked like. The pictures show the clothing the individual was wearing.
Skull Reconstuction Facing Front Image
Map showing route from Ohio to California image
Skull Reconstruction Right Side Profile Image
5.  Woodbury County - August 30, 1988

Woodbury County Unidentified Dead

Description White male, 33-53 years of age, approximately 5'6" tall
Details Skeletonized remains found August 30, 1988, in a roadside ditch 1/2 mile east of Correctionville in Woodbury County.
Clothing One short sleeved plain colored shirt with button down collar. No markings were found on this item. This shirt was made of a light weight fabric. One short sleeved white or pale yellow shirt of a broadcloth type fabric. One red, white and black plaid long sleeved shirt (pictured below). The characters "SL51" were stenciled in the center of the neck band. This shirt also had a button down collar. Three pairs of socks-one black pair, one brown pair and the remains of one pair of unknown color. The remains of one pair of shoes. The soles of the shoes had the characters "7' DE" and "675" molded on the surface. One pair of light weight black dress type gloves. One baseball type cap which was black in color. One blue double insulated baseball cap.
Possessions Black plastic wallet with imprint design and plastic metal clasp coin purse. Shaving materials consisting of two razors, styptic pencil and shaving brush contained in a gym bag (see picture below).
Cause of Death Unknown. Estimated date of death: 1971-1973.
Agency Woodbury County Sheriff's Office 712.279.6010
Items Found With Body
Image of Plaid Shirt
Shaving Materials Image
Plaid Shirt Shaving Materials
Gym Bag Image
Tobacco Can Image
Gym Bag Tobacco Can


6.  Des Moines, Iowa - October 25, 2005
Description White male, 40-45 years of age, 5'8" to 5'10", 195 to 210 lbs., Brown hair, goatee.
Details Body was found submerged in the Des Moines River, West Bank, in Des Moines on October 25, 2005. No apparent injuries or trauma.
Clothing Subject was wearing size 36 tan shorts under size 38 blue trousers, no shirt and a yellow and white Relic brand watch.
Possessions Less than $10 in cash and coins.
Cause of Death Drowning.
Agency Des Moines Police Department  515.283.4805


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