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House panel votes to create unit to investigate unsolved Iowa murders

DES MOINES — Legislators are considering creation of a “Cold Case Task Force” in the Iowa Department of Public Safety to investigate more than 400 unsolved murders.

“I have know a lot of people who live with a cold case of a parent or child, or a sister or brother, a friend, uncle and this task force will be very helpful to them,” said Representative Marti Anderson of Des Moines, who was director of the state’s Crime Victim Assistance program for 22 years. “I had an employee whose father was found down by Indianola and they have never solved the case and that was 20 years ago and she still is tortured by it.”

The plan calls for hiring two agents to investigate murders as well as missing person cases where the person is presumed dead.

“When we get to the time frame of appropriations, we need to make sure that these positions are funded, otherwise that will be basically robbing Peter to pay Paul, by taking probably taking two agents from the Major Crimes unit,” said Representative Jon Thorup, a state trooper from Knoxville.

The bill cleared the House Public Safety Committee this morning. It’s now eligible for debate in the full House.

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