Alleyway Robbery: Murder of Carlisle Hunter 1919

Murder Victim

Carlisle Gordon “Lyle” Hunter
30-year-old Guthrie County Farmer
Cause of Death: Gunshot
Motive: Robbery

Murder Scene and Date

Downtown Alleyway
Des Moines, Iowa
Polk County
November 22, 1919


By Nancy Bowers
Written October 2010

location of Des Moines, Iowa

location of Des Moines, Iowa

In the early hours of Saturday, November 22, 1919 — five days before Thanksgiving — Des Moines Police found 30-year-old Carlisle Hunter lying unconscious in a downtown alley.

Because he appeared intoxicated, Hunter was taken to the Police Station. When blood was found on his clothing, police discovered he was shot once in the back and once under the right arm.

from the Oelwein Daily Register

from the Oelwein Daily Register

Hunter, who was from Guthrie Center, was taken to Samaritan Hospital, where he died a few days later.

Hunter and his companion, Guthrie Center implement dealer Joe Selby, were in Des Moines for the evening when the tragedy occurred. Police detained Selby in connection with the case, but later determined the shooting was related to a robbery.

Union Cemetery, courtesy

Carlisle Gordon Hunter, also known as “Lyle” and “Lysle,” was born in Guthrie County on March 30, 1887 to Ida F. Burten and John Hunter, Sr., who were both of Irish extraction.

He had six brothers — John, Jr., Connaught, Charles, Duke, Leon, Randall Hunter — as well as four sisters, Grace, Bonnie, Jenny, and Marie Hunter.

Carlisle Hunter was buried in Union Cemetery in Guthrie County.

Please note: Use of information in this article should credit Nancy Bowers as the author and Iowa Unsolved Murders: Historic Cases as the source.



  • ☛ “Guthrie Center Man Near Death,” Cedar Rapids Republican, November 25, 1919.
  • ☛ “Has Little Chance,” Cedar Rapids Republican, November 25, 1919.
  • ☛ “Hunter Murder Still Mystery To Officers,” Cedar Rapids Republican, November 27, 1919.
  • ☛ “Hunter Shot In Des Moines,” Oelwein Daily Register, November 22, 1919.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.

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