On This Day

MAY

While his wife was at the movies on May 1, 1920, 30-year-old Des Moines resident David Faulkner was murdered in his own home by someone who sneaked up behind him as he browsed the newspaper. Click here to read “Strangled With His Own Necktie.” On December 7, 1922, Faulkner’s brother-in-law Thaddeus Mitchell was murdered while driving a Des Moines “party taxi.”
location of Des Moines, Iowa

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On May 1, 1904, James Banda died near Britt in Hancock County after being given carbolic acid he thought was an alcoholic drink during a drunken gathering of local men. Click here to read his story in “Horse Medicine.”
location of Britt, Iowa

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On Sunday, May 2, 1965 — Mother’s Day — 56-year-old mother of four Lillian Elizabeth Randolph was kidnapped from her home near Guthrie Center. On May 11, her body was found in her car trunk at the Des Moines Polk County Municipal Airport. She was stabbed 13 times in what appeared to be a murder-for-hire. Click here to read her story in “Mother’s Day Death.”
Lillian Randolph's car

Lillian Randolph’s car

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On May 5, 1925, 46-year-old laborer W.A. Davies was shot in the stomach while putting his car in a garage near the intersection of Pearl and 11th streets. He died 33 hours later. His homicide was one of eight that went unsolved in Sioux City that year. Click here to read “Mayhem.”
location of Sioux City, Iowa

location of Sioux City, Iowa

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On May 10, 1930, 9-year-old fourth grader Evelyn Lee was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s home in Des Moines. Her raped and strangled body was found in a rural pasture by wildflower pickers on May 12. Click here to read about the manhunt for what one investigator termed “fiends in human flesh” set against the backdrop of city-wide outrage and sorrow in “Myself, Meadow, Hawk.”
Evelyn Marie Lee

Evelyn Marie Lee

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On the evening of May 12, 1896, an idyllic ice cream social and band concert ended with Unionville’s most flirtatious girl — 18-year-old Mamie Peterson — lying dead from a bullet wound, still clutching her summer hat. Click here to read “Obsession,” the story not only of suspect Ned Hemphill’s possessiveness but also of hysterical trial groupies who dominated the legal proceedings.
Ned Hemphill

Ned Hemphill

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Thirty-four-year-old attorney James Alfrey was shot to death on May 16, 1866 while trying to serve an assault and battery warrant on Jacob Williams near Pleasanton, Iowa (formerly Pleasant Plain), in Hamilton Township of Decatur County. Williams escaped and Alfrey’s murder went unavenged. Click here to read “Pointblank.”
location of Pleasanton, Iowa

location of Pleasanton, Iowa

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On the night of May 17, 1925, Allan Shoemaker, a 36-year-old Special Officer for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Police was shot by tramps as he patrolled the Missouri Valley rail yard in Harrison County. Click here to read the story of an Iowa peace officer killed in the line of duty in “Deadly Tramps.”
Officer Alan Shoemaker

Officer Alan Shoemaker

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On the night of May 24, 1888, George Diggle, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, barber, died after drinking a glass of beer laced with morphine in Clarion, where he had gone to bring home his stage-struck wife Bertha, who was appearing in the “Count of Monte Cristo” with a traveling theatrical company. Bertha Dingle claimed her husband committed suicide, but local authorities thought it looked like murder. Click here to read “The Fatal Glass of Beer.”
location of Clarion, Iowa

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On the night of May 25, 1893, carpenter and builder James Chamberlain was bludgeoned on a railroad bridge over the Des Moines River at Ottumwa in Wapello County. Click here to read his story — which bore similarities to another Ottumwa murder — in “The Wabash Trestle.”
Location of Ottumwa, Iowa

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On May 27, 1925, 38-year-old Sioux City merchant Benjamin “Barney” Kaplan died of wounds he received on the evening of April 15, 1925, when he was shot by robbers in front of his wife at their Wall Street grocery. Click here to read the story of a man who died out of determination to protect his property in “Third Time, No Charm.”
Benjamin "Barney" Kaplan

Benjamin “Barney” Kaplan

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At dawn on May 30, 1950 — Memorial Day — the beaten and strangled body of Lillian A. Guthrie Chapman, 69, was found in an alley behind her house. Why did the 69-year-old babysitter get dressed and leave her home in the middle of the night? Was she lured out by her killer on the promise of a job? Did she have an assignation with the person who savagely murdered her? Click here to read her story and that of a prime suspect in “The Widow in the Alley.”
Lillian Chapman

Lillian Chapman

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On May 31, 1948, 72-year-old Fremont County farm wife Lucy Ann Kemp Rhode died of poisoning. Hers was the second in a series of deaths and poison-induced illnesses to strike her family. Did the evidence point to a family member eager to wipe out everyone who stood between him and his inheritance? Click here to read “The Poisoned Family: Rhode-Elefson Murders 1948-1949.”
Lucy Kemp Rhode

Lucy Kemp Rhode

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