Family of Council Bluffs woman found dead responds to arrest of ex-boyfriend

‘I don’t feel like justice has been served yet’
The family of a missing Council Bluffs woman found dead is searching for answers after an arrest was made in connection with her disappearance.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Two memorials beneath the Old Mormon Bridge Road overpass stand near the spot where Ilene Gowan’s body was found in frigid winter conditions last February.

But her family wants to remember her in other ways.

“She raised four of us kids,” her son Jack Kilgore said. “She had two jobs, sometimes three jobs, just to make sure we had everything we needed.”

She loved “getting her vitamin D” out in the sun, and her spontaneous laughter, like that time they kept missing their off-ramp on the freeway.

“We were both just laughing to the point we were crying,” her daughter Nicole Schipper said.

And everyone will miss her cooking, including homemade roasted noodles and her minute steaks.

”Minute steaks,” daughter-in-law Shayna Kilgore said. “And she would make mashed potatoes homemade with gravy.”

And she beat breast cancer in 2020.

”She survived the breast cancer and this monster took her out,” Jack said.

Facing charges related to her disappearance is the man police describe as her on-and-off boyfriend, Ivan “Sam” Brammer.

A two-page affidavit details how police used city traffic cameras, cellphone records, and more to track the two in his truck together just before her disappearance. At one point Ilene appeared unconscious in his passenger seat.

A day after his last interview with police, he took his truck to be crushed and recycled.

The investigation led to charges including abuse of a corpse but none relating to homicide. The Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office may still present other charges as the investigation into the cause of her death continues.

“I feel relief that he’s locked up and that he’s not free,” Schipper said. “But I don’t feel like justice has been served yet.”

Ilene’s other two children, Clint and Katherine live out of state with their families. They are all now left wondering if the investigation will bring more charges and if that will be enough to provide peace in their mom’s memory.

“I could care less about the jail time, all that,” Jack Kilgore said. “I just want to know what happened to my mom. I don’t care about jail and all that, our pastor preaches all the time on forgiveness. At some point, I’m gonna have to forgive this man. I don’t know how.”

Council Bluffs police made the arrest in the case Wednesday. Formally, 61-year-old Ivan Samuel Brammer is facing charges of abuse of a corpse, a charge generally made in connection with dumping a body; and second-degree theft in relation to the death of Ilene Gowan, 60.

Ivan Samuel Brammer
Ivan Samuel Brammer(Council Bluffs Police Department)

Gowan was reported missing on Feb. 15 after her daughter told police that she hadn’t been seen or heard from for two days. The family had already begun searching the snow-covered neighborhood and nearby areas.

Eleven days later, on Feb. 26, Gowan was found dead in a ditch near 152nd Street and Old Mormon Bridge Road, near Crescent. The Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office said her autopsy did not indicate a cause or manner of death.