The Boy on the Train: Murder of Addis Lyman 1905

Murder Victim

Addis Lyman
Cause of Death: Gunshot
Motive: Unknown

Murder Scene and Date

Chicago and Northwestern tracks
Carroll, Iowa
Carroll County
February 23, 1905


By Nancy Bowers
Written 2011

location of Carroll, Iowa

location of Carroll, Iowa

When the body of 17-year-old Addis E. Lyman was found on Monday morning, February 23, 1905 beside the Chicago and Northwestern Railway tracks near Carroll, Iowa, it was assumed he fell from a train car on which he hitched a ride.

However, an autopsy by Drs. Kelley, Johnson, and Patty showed that Addis was shot once behind the right ear. A .32 caliber bullet was retrieved from his skull.

from the Bedford Free Press

A coroner’s inquest ruled Addis Lymnan’s death the result of gunshot by “foul play,” even though no gun was found at the scene.

It was believed Lyman was traveling alone at the time he was shot.

Investigators questioned railroad employees from the train he was riding, but could learn nothing to answer questions about the homicide. The case was never solved.

Addis E. Lyman was born in November 1888 in Harrison, Iowa, the son of Lucy and Thomas A.E. Lyman. He had two sisters, Clarice M. Lyman and Marian Lyman. At the time of his death, the family was living in Carroll.


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



  • ☛ “Addis Lyman Was Shot,” Spencer Herald, March 3, 1905.
  • ☛ “Iowa State News,” Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, February 27, 1905.
  • ☛ “Mysterious Murder Near Carroll,” Bedford Free Press, March 2, 1905.
  • ☛ “Mystery In His Death,” Waterloo Times-Tribune, February 24, 1905.
  • ☛ “Mystery Surrounds Young Lad’s Death,” Sioux Valley News, March 3, 1905.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.

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