Authorities in Iowa investigate claims of human remains buried in Fremont County

A big mystery in a small Iowa community.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 2:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2022 at 3:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BARTLETT, Iowa (WOWT) - Authorities in Fremont County said Monday that they are looking into reports of human remains buried near a small Iowa town.

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said they are looking into claims from a woman there who said her father murdered many women decades ago and buried the remains in a remote field near Bartlett.

Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told 6 News that a cadaver dog did pick up a scent of human remains over the weekend at the acreage, but said he has no credible evidence at this time that proves the daughter’s story is true.

The investigation has been making national headlines.

“It’s a big mystery for a small county,” Aistrope said.

Aistrope said a woman claims her late father killed at least 50 women over a span of three decades and used his children to help bury them in a well. The alleged victims are believed to be prostitutes or transients picked up in Omaha and lured to the farmland.

“We will try everything we can to prove or disprove this. As of this time, we have nothing,” he said.

He said it would cost up to $300,000 to dig the well at the exact spot where two cadaver dogs found the scent of what is believed to be human remains, so investigators will try other investigative methods first.

“We’ll get some different dogs to try it; that would be one thing,” Aistrope said. “If we do find a site, we could use metal detectors to see. Ground-penetrating radar that’s a tool we have.”

He said since the alleged suspect is dead, time is not a factor.

“There’s no urgency that there’s going to be a murder tomorrow; so, we will move when we can move and do it right,” he said.

The sheriff said his office will continue working with the FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation as well as the Paige County Sheriff’s Office out of Clarinda to look into the matter.

Iowa State Patrol told 6 News that they were assisting the sheriff’s office with an investigation and that law enforcement officials and investigators had a Monday meeting planned.

The FBI told 6 News on Monday that they had no information to pass along about the investigation.

Digital Director Gina Dvorak and Managing Editor Kevin Westhues contributed to this report.