Archive for  July 2018

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The AAU Junior Olympics brings more than 12,000 young athletes to Des Moines from all around the USA.

The Opening Ceremony was held Monday night.

WARREN COUNTY, Iowa  —  “I was just sitting there, watching TV, and I smelled smoke,” said Janet Michael of rural Norwalk. “I thought, oh my God, one of the trailers (is) on fire or something.”

It was Saturday night, July 30th, 2011. The home of Bill and Kay Wood was ablaze. Michael, who lives nearby, remembers that night well.

“I came outside and walked down the stairs and you could see the flames, and they were as high as the trees,” she said.

Fire destroyed the house, located just south of Des Moines’ city limits. The next day, Bill’s body was discovered among the charred remains of the home. Autopsy reports showed Bill died of multiple gunshot wounds. Kay was never found.

“I can’t believe they haven’t found her and they haven’t found what happened,” said Michael. “You know, it’s really sad. Seven years, I mean, you’d think they’d have more information than this, you know?”

That’s a frustration shared by Bill’s granddaughter, Sarah Warywoda.

“You go through every emotion, every scenario,” said Warywoda. “I mean, I’ve thought about every single possible scenario. I still do. My family still does…we want to know, we want to know what happened.”

The same day Bill’s body was found, his red Chevrolet Silverado pickup was discovered at an apartment complex in Kansas City, Missouri. Witnesses told detectives they’d seen a man with the truck. Investigators described that man as a “person of interest” and said they wanted to speak with him.

Meanwhile, Bill’s granddaughter is speaking out now in the hopes of generating new leads in this mysterious case.

“I want the public to know and understand that this is still not solved that we still need help finding answers,” said Warywoda. “That what might seem like something small and insignificant could be exactly what we need to get the answers we still don’t have.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 515-961-1122 or the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6010.

In this week’s Murphy’s Law, Keith Murphy says Iowa’s Brady Reiff was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, but tried to do the right thing.

In this week’s What’s Bugging Andy, it’s a home for sale that’s under Andy’s skin.

PELLA, Iowa — Investigators in Pella are warning the public of man seen on surveillance video taking pictures of young women without their knowledge.

Police Chief Robert Bokinsky calls the person’s behavior suspicious.

“As covertly as he possibly could, took photos of them unbeknownst to them, it seemed to be very creepy,” he says.

Surveillance video recorded from the West End Auto body shop obtained by Channel 13 shows a driver parking his car for a brief moment, sneaking out his digital camera, and then snapping at least two pictures of a pair of high school-aged girls jogging in front of the car on Friday morning.

Police are now looking for the man witnesses describe as being in his 30s, wearing a hat and sunglasses. Investigators believe he was driving a 2008 silver Honda Accord.

The department posted a word of caution to its Facebook page on Friday night. The post received more than 600 shares, gaining the attention of thousands like Monroe resident Katie Dolejsa.

“You know he has intentions if that’s what he’s doing. That’s the worst part. You know he’s around and you don’t know where else he’s going,” she says.

Police believe the driver left town, and they say finding him could be nearly impossible; the video didn’t clearly capture the car’s license plate. Investigators have found more than 530 cars in the state that match the description of the man’s vehicle. However, two of those cars were found in Pella, but the drivers did not match police’s description.

The suspicious activity comes on the heels of the disappearance of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. The University of Iowa student went missing from a neighboring county more than a week ago.

College student Ashlynn Johnson says both incidents have prompted her to carry a pocket knife and pepper spray.

“Just as a woman, I want to feel protected, I don’t want to feel scared to walk around in my own town,” Johnson says.

Pella police say the man they are looking for isn’t doing anything illegal, but they want to try and stop him before he does.

“Crimes are committed, they just don’t happen,” says Bokinsky. “There is usually a period of surveillance or planning that goes into that.”

Police have turned over the video to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office–the department aiding in the investigation of Tibbetts–out of an abundance of caution in case there is a connection. Anyone with information regarding the suspicious motorist is asked to call the Pella Police Department.

DAVENPORT, Iowa  —  Saturday marked the last day of this RAGBRAI 2018.

The race came to an end when riders dipped their bikes into the Mississippi River in Davenport. The entire trip was nearly 500 miles across the state.

Some people were riding alone, others in groups, and many riding for a cause–and most say it’s been a wonderful experience.

“It’s amazing, the atmosphere here is really cool, it’s just a good sense of accomplishment that you actually rode that far and were able to get something done like that, it’s a neat experience,” said rider Nick Wetzel.

The search for Mollie Tibbetts, who went missing in Brooklyn, Iowa, last week, also made its way to the RAGBRAI route. A father and son duo from Tibbetts’ hometown wore shirts with her picture and information during the seven-day race.

More riders will be finishing up their trips on Saturday evening.

OTTUMWA, Iowa  —  An Ottumwa mother has been charged with first degree murder in the death of her five-year-old daughter.

“When I heard about it, I was shocked that it happened so close and to such a young person,” said Ottumwa resident Amy Yareley.

Last week, police were called to a home in the 100 block of James Street on a report of an unresponsive child. Five-year-old Cloe Chandler was then taken to Ottumwa Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. On Thursday, her mother, 22-year-old Kelsie Thomas, confessed to police that she killed her daughter.

Cloe’s biological father, Steven Chandler, is now left with questions.

“I just want to know the truth, that’s all I am worried about at this point is knowing the truth,” Chandler said.

An autopsy was performed on Cloe’s body on Monday, but police say the results are still pending. Cloe’s cause of death has not yet been released. Police are still investigating the incident and executed search warrants on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s a lot more traumatic when you’re dealing with cases that involve children because a lot of times they can’t defend themselves and we’re the only voice for the child,” said Michael Motsinger, Special Agent in Charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Thomas is currently being held in the Wapello County Jail without bond.

IOWA  —  Polk County suffered extensive flood damage earlier this month, but several other counties are also making millions of dollars in repairs.

New preliminary estimates show 31 counties suffered flood damage between June 6th and July 2nd. The dollar amount of damage tops $17 million, which is enough for Governor Reynolds to request a federal disaster declaration.

Polk County saw the worst of the damage, totaling nearly $6 million.

MADRID, Iowa–  Thursday, the Madrid City Council took up a measure to fire the town’s police chief.

Before the meeting even started, council member Valerie Chapman was escorted out.

Last week, council member Valerie Chapman sent a resignation letter to the Mayor.

It read in part, “I no longer have the respect of the community, nor am I trusted to do the job I was elected to do.  Personally, I have no idea how this community can recover from this divide.”

The letter says the resignation is effective immediately.

Yet during the meeting Chapman took her seat at the council table.

Chapman argued the letter wasn’t valid because the mayor hadn’t acted on it.

The city’s attorney stepped in and ruled otherwise and, Chapman was eventually escorted out.

All while, support for the Madrid Police Department filled the Madrid Community Center.

“Absolutely that’s why we are wearing blue, I support all three of our officers,” Madrid resident Tony Ortiz said.

Mayor of Madrid Kurt Kruse called a special meeting to terminate the Madrid Police Chief Rick Tasler.

The council unanimously voted and, decided Tasler will keep his job.

“Why he did it breaks my heart Mayor Kruse and I were very close and, he was very clear that he wanted the sheriff’s department to take control,” Madrid Police Chief Tasler said.

But Mayor Kruse couldn’t give us a clear reason.

“I am definitely in favor of him not being the Police Chief of Madrid,” Mayor Kruse said.

This meeting coincides with pending litigation against the Madrid Police Department.

Glen Downey is the attorney representing two people who say Madrid officers used excessive force.

“I think they would be disappointed as well obviously they have had personal interactions with the chief and other officers and those haven’t been particularly positive,” Attorney Glen Downey said.

Until then, this town of nearly 2,600 people will be protected by their own local law enforcement.

Glen Downey says there could be future litigation.

As a result, the police department’s insurance could be dropped.

At the boys state baseball tournament from Principal Park, Centerville routed higher-seeded Wilton, 13-0 in five innings. The Big Reds will play for the championship.

Also from the semifinals, Regina edges Van Meter, 4-3, and Newman blanks MSTM, 6-0.