Ten "Unbelievable Unsolved Murders": My sister made the list

in isleofwrite •  4 months ago

My sister's cold case made another Top Ten List. This is not the kind of fame any young woman ever hoped for.

By chance, I happened across this blog today:


So while you might think of Iowa as just a quiet land of simple folks quietly dotting the rolling farmland, not only do we have pimps and gangsters, but corporate conspiracies and corrupt officials spinning games of deadly intrigue. Hey, we can’t all be Iowa Nice! Joshua Scott Hotchkin

Coincidentally, guess who left town a few months ago, after Julie's Cold Case started heating up. Yes. The 1976 police officer who obfuscated her case, misled witnesses, and tampered with the file. He had become a pastor, well known for being such a "religious" man. He was a missionary in Africa; he worked with homeless men and former felons; he played guitar in church; he quoted from the book "Sons of Grace" by Mark Hughes:

Did this man really repent?

Was this same man involved in my sister's murder before the police department hired him in 1976? My hopes of ever knowing anything have plummeted, especially after watching "Forensics Files" on TV, which shows how scientific evidence is required to get an arrest (not to mention a conviction).

I have a big, fat file full of names I found in my sister's diary. Funny thing. The entire month of November is missing, the last month of her life. Coincidentally, the same police officer had her diary inside his home for more than a month, until my mom went knocking on his door, asking to have it back. He refused to come to the door. After a 45-minute wait, his wife handed off the diary. To this day, my parents have not met this man face to face, though they've spoken with length at other members of the police force.


I have shared these names with so many people,

it's too late to silence me the way my sister was silenced. Too many people know the names of the perps. And yet, too many people are afraid to speak up. Fires of unknown origin have a way of killing those connected with a Cold Case. Just one example: Rich, a friend of Julie's, "knew something," and suddenly he was dead.

Rich Luther | May 30, 1954 - Sep. 9, 1977 |

Meanwhile, fire officials still haven't determined the cause of a fire at a rural Westgate house which took the life of Richard Luther, 23, who was asleep in the house at the time of the fire. That fire occurred early Saturday morning, although the blaze was not noticed until close to 9 a.m. when the alarm was sounded by a passing motorist. The investigation is continuing into that blaze. https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/3687581/
Oddly, the same investigators were quick to pinpoint the cause of another fire that same week. For Rich Luther, no cause was ever reported, and foul play was never mentioned.

The sheer number of homicides and violent crimes is staggering, even in the quaint Midwest.

My family is far from alone. The author of the Top Ten list lost his father:

10 Unbelievable Unsolved Iowa Murders by Joshua Scott Hotchkin February 27, 2018

My own father had died when I was eight years old, and the cause of his death was a mystery to myself, my brothers and even my mother. There were rumors and suggestions of foul play and drug deals gone awry. Fueling these rumors was none other than Terri Supino, the woman who most likely killed her ex-boyfriend (and father of her children).... there has never been enough evidence to convict and the case against her is closed forever.

Drug trafficking. Time and again, silencing someone is the motive for murder.

Sex trafficking too. The news stories I could hyperlink!

It would take hundreds of Steemit posts to even begin to talk about novelist, crusador, and journalist Jody Ewing, the unpaid volunteer who created Iowa Cold Cases website--then lost her beloved stepfather, who has since become a Cold Case. Irony. Yes.

About Jody Ewing | Iowa Cold Cases
Iowa Cold Cases Founder & President, Private Investigator. Jody is an author, cold case journalist and private investigator based in west-central Iowa. ... She launched the Iowa Cold Cases website (originally at iowacoldcases.com) in 2005 after working on a Sioux City cold case series.

Jody has put her own calling as a novelist on hold while she fields thousands of emails every week from the families of Cold Case victims. Telling these stories is important. Some things cannot be told, for fear of lawsuits or worse (how about another house fire, honey?). And so Jody and I agree:

The truth is best told in the guise of fiction.

And we promise each other we will make time to write these stories.

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Can't imagine the pain and frustration you've dealt with....hope your answers come soon after all this wait.

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Thank you. Anger and outrage are useful when futility and despair threaten to pull us down. :)

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I am so sorry for your pain and anguish over the death of your sister. I can imagine how horrible it is not getting who did this to her. I hope that someday soon you will get the answers that you so desperately need.

God, that is insane. Nothing sucks more than lack of closure. If you don't get
'em, God will.

I'm sure you've been told this many times, but I truly am sorry for what you and your family have had to go through with this. I also admire your resolve and courage to continue to pursue truth and justice.

An old co-worker of mine has a very similar story to yours involving her sister's murder in the 1970's. It's also still unsolved and she actually became a private investigator just to find out what happened. There was a lot of the same corruption and "hush" from those in power and authority in her case, as well. It's sobering, but these kinds of things are a lot more common than people know. I've gone down a lot of rabbit holes over the years researching these types of things. It's hard to even process sometimes.

Thank you for sharing, and I encourage you to keep shining a light on this!

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Jody Ewing has done that - become a private investigator. I thought about that (so has our youngest offspring). The trick is to get people to tell you anything. People *know things, for sure, but won't *say things, for fear of repercussions. Or because they don't care. Or because they're guilty of something, too....

I cannot claim to know how losing your sister in such a brutal manner makes you feel but i pray you always have this strength to pursue your cause and at the end, find just recompense for your efforts.

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Thanks - I've abandoned hope of "Justice" or even just knowing the truth -
but something, some stubborn, unkillable urge deep down inside me, just won't let me "Let it Go"
The killer is out there, basking in the admiration of his followers who praise him for his ministry.
That. That! That keeps me going, wanting to take action, yet not daring, because I didn't list the number of houses that have burned down. Coincidence? I hardly think so.

After reading this I am reduced to pure profanity. I'm typing carefully. This makes me so angry I could just spit venom.

'Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies'. It is a pestilence on our species and just shouldn't be.

I feel for your pain. Thank you for your account of it.

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Thank you for reading it, @bigtom13, and commenting!
"Move on" is what I did, from age 13 to age 50-something.
When I learned the #1 Person of Interest is a minister half an hour away from me, I kinda freaked.
Spent two years searching my sister's diary for clues. Talking to people.
Stonewalled!
The police misled witness and tampered with the case file. No arrests will ever be made.

1975! Her body was found six months after - was she she still living in captivity after she first disappeared? Sadly, this is sometimes the reality of our world. Despite reading it all, i still had to get to the comments to believe that it actually happened to your own sister, I guess I am one of those people who want to live in denial. What can I say,I hope things work out somehow, that justice is served in a way, even after so long.

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Thank you for reading and commenting! :) Autopsy determined she'd been dead the whole time. Yes, my own sister, which is one reason the endless TV, movies, and police procedural novels weary me. I do watch Forensics Files. I'm amazed at how many people will commit murder for a $100,000 (or less!) life insurance policy. Or murder as a substitute for divorce. Justice? Even if the evidence is found and leads to a conviction, the dead are still six feet under, and nothing changes that. (Thx again @boladyl!)