IA JANE ELLEN WAKEFIELD: Missing from Iowa City, IA - 8 Sept 1975 - Age 26

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
Missing Person, Presumed Homicide
1581616142164.png

Name: Jane Ellen Wakefield
Age at Report: 26
Date of Birth: Nov. 19, 1948
Maiden Name: Hallberg
Missing From: 213 Bon Aire Mobile Home Park
Iowa City, IA
Johnson County
Height
: 5′ 2″
Weight: 112
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Green
Dental: Missing Tooth #14
NCIC Number: M-703329643
NamUs MP Number: 27737
Last Seen Alive: September 6, 1975
Reported Missing: September 8, 1975

Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Jane Ellen Wakefield, a 26-year-old schoolteacher in North Liberty, Iowa, disappeared without a trace from her Iowa City mobile home sometime between late Saturday night, Sept. 6, 1975, and early Sunday morning, Sept. 7, 1975.

Wakefield, who was in divorce proceedings with her husband, John Wakefield, had spent Saturday on a cross-country bicycle ride with a group of friends. According to a Cedar Rapids Gazette article published March 19, 1992, Wakefield told her friends she had to get back for an appointment. A neighbor talked with Wakefield later that afternoon and said nothing seemed unusual.

crg-3-19-92-fraley-schuller-wakefieldCourtesy The Cedar Rapids Gazette
On March 19, 1992, Gazette writer Jeff Burnham chronicled the cases of three Iowa women who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. All three women are presumed dead.


Wakefield had filed for divorce six months earlier and moved from the couple’s apartment into a mobile home at Bon-Aire in Iowa City. She had recently become romantically involved with another man, but found her divorce held up over disagreements on how she and John Wakefield would divide two businesses he owned.

Late night on Saturday, Sept. 6, neighbors recalled hearing someone yelling or screaming, but weren’t sure where the screams were coming from. They assumed the yelling came from a nearby home’s loud party.

When a friend paid a visit to Wakefield’s mobile home Sunday, no one answered the door and the friend left.

“Obviously, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, she disappeared,” Iowa City Police Department Capt. Patrick Harney told the Gazette.

When Wakefield didn’t report Monday morning to her teaching position at Penn Elementary School in North Liberty and school principal Larry Sharp couldn’t reach her, school officials called Bon-Aire. The mobile home park manager contacted Wakefield’s boyfriend, and the two went together to Wakefield’s home.

The Gazette’s Jeff Burnham wrote:

Outside, they found her bicycle locked to the yard lamp, and her Fiat in its parking space. Inside, they found her purse and other belongings, but no sign of Jane Wakefield.
The two then contacted Iowa City police. Inside the mobile home, detectives found everything in order, and evidence suggesting she’d recently showered.

In the beginning, police thought Wakefield may have left with a “Jesus People” cult that had been camping near Coralville Lake. Wakefield’s friends and family members told the Gazette Jane was “too much on top of things” to join a cult, a belief confirmed after a search of the cult’s latest camp in Huntsville, Arkansas, turned up nothing to tie the teacher to the group.

On Sept. 10, 1975, Iowa City police drained two city lagoons near the victim’s trailer court but uncovered no evidence pertaining to the case.

Gazette map showing Wakefield, Schuller, Fraley disappearances
These maps show where Jane Wakefield disappeared in Sept. 1975, where Denise Fraley vanished in Sept. 1982 and where Lynn Schuller went missing in Aug. 1972. All three women were in volatile marriages with divorce proceedings pending. Detectives are certain all three were murdered, and though they’ve long had a prime suspect in each case, have never been able to find enough evidence to convince a prosecutor to charge any of the suspects with murder. (Maps courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 19, 1992)
Informant: Body cremated and scattered along I-80


Four months after Wakefield vanished, detectives got a break when a confidential informant — a friend of the primary suspect — told police that an individual he knew had admitted to murdering Wakefield, cremating her body, and spreading her remains along a ditch on I-80 near Iowa City.

The suspect had gone so far as attempting to redirect suspicion toward Jane Wakefield’s new boyfriend.

According to the CI, on Sept. 6, 1975, the individual had rented a car from the Cedar Rapids Airport that matched the one driven by Wakefield’s boyfriend. The individual had then driven to Jane’s mobile home late that night and choked her to death with his bare hands.

He’d put her body in the rental car’s trunk and driven to an Iowa City apartment building — the same building where John Wakefield resided.

In its week-long MURDERED, MISSING, UNSOLVED March 1992 series, the Gazette reported March 19 that, according to the CI, the person then placed large quantities of charcoal into the trash incinerator, lit it, and dumped [Jane’s] body inside.

Wrote the Gazette’s Burnham:

After the fire was out, the individual swept the contents of the incinerator into a garbage can. The individual claimed he waited until the next night, drove onto I-80 near Iowa City, pulled to the shoulder and spread the contents of the garbage can along the ditch.
Though police declined to identify the informant, they did confirm he was friends with the suspect and that he’d passed a lie detector test.

A series of lie detector tests narrowed the list of suspects down to one, who refused to submit to a polygraph and questioned the validity of such tests.

In January 1976, armed with search warrants for the apartment building, the trash incinerator and the two businesses run by John Wakefield, police went to an Iowa City tavern where the suspect worked, and then searched the Iowa City apartment house and a billiard parlor, both of which John Wakefield managed.

Police sifted ashes from the incinerator of the apartment in question and sent them to the state crime lab in Des Moines.

Reported the Gazette:

Police detectives and agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation seized miscellaneous pieces of bone debris, a piece of metal that appeared to be a tooth filling, and a small, white chip of bonelike material.
Officials also seized five vacuum cleaners from the property, and weren’t about to give up.

The following week, some 20 detectives — on their hands and knees — searched several miles of ditches north of Iowa City along I-80.

Lab analysis of bone fragments found in the incinerator were inconclusive.

One individual remained the prime suspect in Wakefield’s disappearance, but never faced charges due to insufficient evidence and forensic limitations from that era.

Although the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Missing Person Information Clearinghouse lists Wakefield’s incident type as Endangered / physical — meaning Wakefield is missing under circumstances indicating her physical safety is in danger — detectives have long believed homicide played a role in her disappearance.

A Cedar Rapids Gazette article dated Jan. 31, 2002, included Wakefield’s case in a sidebar titled, “Unsolved murder cases.”

Seven years following her disappearance, Jane Wakefield was declared legally dead on September 5, 1982.

About Jane Wakefield

Jane Ellen (Hallberg) Wakefield was born Nov. 19, 1948, and grew up near Minneapolis. She met friend “Carol,” in 7th grade, and during the two’s senior year they discovered both had plans to attend Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

They decided to room together, and in 1966, both enrolled as freshman at Morningside. That year, Jane worked at Sioux City’s Public Museum, and through a co-worker met John Wakefield.

After completing her freshman year in spring 1967, Jane moved in with John for the summer. John, a graduate student in business administration at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, had classes starting in the fall of 1967. In September 1967 Jane and John married, and Jane transferred from Morningside College to The University of Iowa.

She graduated from UI in 1970 and taught in two area school districts before filing for divorce from John in March 1975. She moved out of the couple’s home and into the Bon Aire Mobile Home Park in Iowa City.

In August 1975, she accepted a teaching position at Penn Elementary School in North Liberty, Iowa, and vanished without a trace the following month.

Media - https://www.crimewatchers.net/index...rom-iowa-city-ia-since-8-sept-1975-age-26.81/
 
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GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
(Continued)
Officials immediately suspected foul play and believed her husband played a role in her disappearance. Jane’s friend, Carol, was living in New Jersey when she learned Jane had gone missing. Jane’s mother, Pauline, and Carol’s mother spoke frequently about Jane’s suspicious disappearance.


On September 5, 1982 — seven years after she mysteriously vanished — Jane was legally declared dead.


Her remains have never been recovered.

Information Needed

Anyone with information concerning Jane Wakefield’s disappearance is asked to contact the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-5275 or Lt. Sid Jackson at 319-356-5276. You may also email the Investigations Division at investigations@iowa-city.org.


Information may be submitted on an anonymous basis.

Sources:

 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
Foul play suspected -in Wakefield, case By R. C. BRANDAU Sta ff Writer Introduction of "Significant new evidence" has led the Iowa City Police Dept. to suspect "foul play" in the Sept. 6 disappearance of Jane Wakefield, according to Capt. K.L. Stock of the Iowa City Police Department. Stock said although there is "no proof" that Wakefield is "deceased," when foul play is indicated it "usually does mean that the person is deceased. " According to police, Wakefield, 2t7 Bon Aire Trailer Court, was last seen riding a bicycle with six friends. She left the group supposedly to ride home. Wakefield was a math and reading teacher at Penn Elementary school in North Liberty. Stock said that because of the new evidence, search warrants were issued for the home and two businesses operated by Wakefield's estranged husband, John A. Wakefield. John Wakefield resides at 923 Iowa Ave. and operates Magoo's Lounge, 206 N. Linn St. and Four CUshiOM, Inc., a billiards parlor at 18-20 S. CliJl.. tonSt. Stock said a vacuum cleaner was taken from John Wakefield's home for content analysis. He added that the contents were sent to "various labs" for examination. Jane Wakefield was the subject of two pond searches conducted by the Iowa City Police Dept. in early October. The police were acting on in-formation from a man in Emporia, Kan. The informant alleged to have overheard two Field men discussing getting rid of a woman "the same way we did that one back in Iowa City, in a sewage lagoon." "I don't think that we will start to drain the ponds again," Stock said. According to Stock, the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been called in to assist the Iowa City police.
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
Bringing my posts over from another site:
Ok, I'm going to try to reveal my personal knowledge about this (IMO) homicide without crossing any inappropriate lines. First, I want to be absolutely clear that the following info is based on: 1) talks w/ various members of LE over a period of years; 2) interaction with individuals who personally knew Jane and/ or John Wakefield; and 3) my face to face encounters with John (hereafter referred to as "the POI"). The people I mention have very strong opinions about the POI (myself included); but to the best of my knowledge, the alleged homicide was not witnessed, and there wasn't enough evidence to bring the case to trial and give Jane the justice most people feel she deserved.
The background: Jane was allegedly being abused (I'm not sure of the exact nature of the abuse), and was preparing to leave the POI. She was a small woman; the POI is not a large or tall person, but he is very cunning, and diabolical. If you passed him on the street or saw him in the grocery store, you probably wouldn't look twice; he's basically a "Joe Average" looking guy. Anyway, he allegedly (sorry to keep using that word, but I have to protect myself & this forum... believe me, it's not easy!) murdered Jane & cut her body into pieces. Before the murder, he had driven to a town about 30 miles from here & bought a bunch of "charcoal" from a crematorium (at that time, none of the local funeral homes did cremations). He burned the pieces of her body in his fireplace, vacuumed up the cremains, and dumped them in various dumpsters behind the bars he owned downtown. LE searched his house, his businesses, and the dumpsters. All they were able to find were a couple of TINY fragments of what appeared to be human bone; they were so destroyed by fire LE was unable to determine what bones they came from or any info as to blood type, age, sex, DNA, etc. He told her family she had "run off." Every LE officer I've spoken with is certain that he killed & disposed of her as I've described, and to this day they are beyond frustrated that the POI was able to commit this crime without leaving enough evidence to put him behind bars where he belongs.
I met the POI about 15 years ago; I'd heard of him, and, ironically, he was a good friend of a person I was working with who I also considered a friend. I met him at my co-worker's house one afternoon; I'd heard my co-worker (we'll call him "X") talk about "John" a lot, but I had no idea it was *that* John. When I was introduced to him by his full name my blood ran cold. A female friend was with me that day, and John asked us if either of us could use some vacuum cleaner bags (yes, he has that much audacity, and more). My friend accepted the bags; after we left I told her who he was and the story behind him, and she threw the bags away; she didn't want anything he'd handled in her home. Occasionally, I'd meet my friend "X" at one of John's bars. John was constantly trying to sell and/or give things away. He tried to sell me a TV; the case of the TV was kind of warped, and he explained to me that it had been struck by lightening during a storm & had briefly caught fire (yes, this guy knows NO shame). I was SO disgusted I replied, "Yes, John, very strange things can happen with fire, huh?!" I then proceeded to load the jukebox w/ quarters & play every da*m song in it that mentioned fire ("Light My Fire", I'm On Fire", etc. etc.). He just looked at me, smirking, with a gleam in his eyes. It was absolutely unbelievable.
Last I heard, he was living with a woman who had 2 or 3 small children. I'm sure I don't have to describe my horror over this. She was not from this country & hadn't even been in the U.S. when the (alleged) murder took place & was being investigated. I don't want to reveal her occupation, but suffice to say she was very intelligent from all accounts. This reinforces to me how "charming" a sociopath can be.
I'll be happy to answer any questions I can, as long as they don't involve personal info about me or other innocent parties.
Thanks,
G&Td
The above post in my personal, constitutionally protected opinion only.
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
It's been quite awhile since I've discussed this case with LE, so I can't recall exact details of my conversations. The LE people I used to talk to include undercover detectives from both the Iowa City Police Dept. & Johnson County Sheriff's Dept., in addition to the then (I'm "guesstimating" around 1984 thru mid 80's) head detective & supervisor of the P.D. To the best of my recollection, the house was searched by the PD and the forensics team from the State (I don't recall the FBI being mentioned, but, on the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if they were involved-- I'm sure they would have been if there was any legal/procedural way they could have been brought in...I don't believe there was any reason to think the crime had crossed state lines, if that makes sense). I know John was the primary suspect pretty much from day 1; I'm sure I would have heard about any other suspects considered worth pursuing in any depth. I know there was tremendous frustration at the unbelievable lack of physical evidence; I have no doubt that the house AND businesses were searched meticulously & repeatedly...along with vehicles the POI owned & had access to. I think I can safely say that LE was/is stunned by this suspect's ability to plan & carry out such a "messy" homicide that left virtually no useful forensic evidence, as well as his audacity in openly purchasing the materials from the crematorium using his own name ( I've often wondered what, if any, "reason" he gave the crematorium for "needing" the supplies necessary to effectively cremate a human body-- having never personally considered, let alone carried out purchasing cremation materials, I can't begin to fathom how one would know what & how much is required to perform a cremation in a time before people had internet access to this type of "specialty" information).
I can tell you with certainty that LE would love to nail this ***; sadly, I know of no evidence in storage that might yield DNA or other forensic info which wasn't possible to test for in 1975.
I remain committed to doing all I can to help get justice for Jane, and welcome any questions, comments, or suggestions.
Thanks,
G&Td
P.S. I also recall LE not being sure of what was used to dismember the body...but I know they retrieved all instruments that could have been utilized & nothing contained any evidence. My impression was they felt he effectively disposed of whatever he used.
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
To the best of my knowledge/recollection, he only purchased "charcoal" (or whatever material a crematorium would have used at that time to burn bodies; i.e. wood, charcoal, etc. ). I heard nothing about accelerants or any other "supplies." I never visited his home <shudder> but was told by all my sources that he had a very large fireplace (FWIW, I grew up in an old house in Iowa City that had 2 fireplaces downstairs; the one in the den/family room was HUGE; I was only 6 when we moved in, but I recall my parents telling us kids that that particular fireplace was "big enough to hold a buffalo"- I lived there until I was 16, and I can safely say it would've easily held a child's body, or the folded or dismembered body of an average-sized adult; I believe Jane was quite petite). I do know Wakefield lived in a similarly old house when Jane disappeared, and was still living there when I met him.
As far as the timeframe of his cohabitation with the woman who had young kids, it would have been in the mid-eighties. This was the last time in which I had contact w/ my former co-worker and the LE sources I previously referred to. I know my LE sources from that time have since moved away and/or retired. I did meet Sid Jackson briefly during that time period; however, I never knew him well or discussed the case w/ him. I wasn't surprised to learn he'd been fired; he had a reputation as a bit of a "rogue cop" (I want to state for the record that I never personally witnessed anything other than professional behavior from him).
Please feel free to ask any more questions I may be able to help with.
Sincerely,
G&T'd
P.S. I have no idea if Wakefield still lives in Iowa City, or where he may be now. I know where I'd *like* him to be :jail: JMHO!
 

Kimster

Director of Things
Staff member
This case makes me so sad! Where is John now, do you know? Never mind, you already answered that !

I always want to know where they are because people need to be aware that they are in present danger around those who may have committed a murder and are still out there among us!
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
This case makes me so sad! Where is John now, do you know? Never mind, you already answered that !

I always want to know where they are because people need to be aware that they are in present danger around those who may have committed a murder and are still out there among us!

John Albert Wakefield
UNLOCK PROFILE
Aliases: Jane H Wakefield
Male, Age 75
Locations: North Sioux City, SD • Jefferson, SD • Iowa City, IA • Oviedo, FL
Looks like he's in SD as of January 2020.
(I love that his alias is Jane H. Wakefield- may be that this site lists relatives or something, but knowing the POS, I wouldn't put it past him to find this amusing).
He makes me SO sick!:angry:
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
Pig. 2-The Dally Iowan-Iowa City, Iowa-Friday November 6, 1981 Starport's owner, John Wakefield, said that the license is being withheld because the city views the agreement between Wakefield and Weston Frank, the bar's operator, as a partnership and not as an owner-operator relationship, Wakefield said that the liquor license must indicate who owns the establish-ment, and city officials apparently view Frank as part owner. Wakefield said that he leases the property and Frank is paid a salary plus incentives for doing more business, "If our relationship is a partnership, then so is that of every shoe store in town." said Wakefield, Assistant City Attorney Linda Woito, who Is handling the case for the city, could not be reached for comment Thursday night. DET. WILLIAM KIDWELL said that the opinion of the Police Department' and the city attorney's office is that the present license is invalid. Neither Kidwell nor City Manager Neal Berlin would specify exactly why they view the license as invalid. "The complaint has not been drawn up by the city," Berlin said, "It would be inappropriate for me to comment on it. " , Kidwell said that police were first drawn to the Starport, which has been open for a little more than a week, because of a contest that was adver-tised in The Daily Iowan Wednesday. The advertisement announced that a free keg of beer would be given to the person who scored highest on the video game called Donkey Kong. Kidwell said that the contest violated section 99B.10 of the Iowa Code, which prohibits awarding cash or merchan-dise for use of an electronic amuse-men t device, Kidwell said an inspection of the li-quor license showed it was not issued to the Starport. The license was issued to Wakefield, but it was issued to the Control Tower Bar, the location' s IIrevious business name. WAKEFIELD SAID he has leased the location since 1972, and when he changed the title from the Four Cushions 10 the Control Tower, the city allowed him 30 days to amend the license, Wakefield said that he is in the process of obtaining an up-to-date license, Frank said Thursday that the Star-port has been open for 10 days, Frank said that when police told him to close the Starport, he offered to dis-connect the keg and remain open for the amusement games only, He said that police infqrmed him that Starport could not be reopened un-til all alcoholic beverages were removed from the premises, The a lcohol was removed and Starport reopened Thursday evening, he said.
I dj'd for him at this place a couple of times- he asked me to. I felt SO honored:shakinghead:. Of course, I checked to see where he was going to be, etc. before I agreed to do it (he wasn't there either time). Hoped I might be able to find some "gossip", but no luck.
BTW, I did know Bill Kidwell; not as more than an acquaintance. He'd quit the PD & was a P.I. in the mid 80s.
Edited to add: he never had my phone number; my co-worker called me to ask me to DJ (just so no one thinks I'm THAT stupid)!
 
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BKL67

Concerned Citizen 007
@GarAndMo39, all I can say with my very limited knowledge of the case, this being the first I have heard of it, to me it's all about the C.I. and unfortunately as we have seen with so many other cases for some reason keeping the C.I.'s identity secret out trumps all other considerations. That's the flip side of using or putting trust in C.I.s, they usually have criminal records which is why they make good informants they can weave in and out of the criminal element with ease and without detection and gain trust on both sides of the law. Too often it's law abiding citizens that end up paying the price for this less the perfect arrangement. So a few questions. Did anyone ever give up the name of this C.I.? According to his story the killer rented a car that was the same as the boyfriend's, did you know if they ever found if John Wakefield did rent the car and if so what would be the timeline on that; when he rented and when he returned car? Did anyone in the mobile home park recall seeing the car there that night? Where was the boyfriend during this timeframe, from the time Jane Wakefield lert her friends until the discovery of her body? And what was John Wakefield's alibi? Sorry if these are facts that are already well established, just trying to provide something new and this would be new to me, I still need the basics.
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
@GarAndMo39, all I can say with my very limited knowledge of the case, this being the first I have heard of it, to me it's all about the C.I. and unfortunately as we have seen with so many other cases for some reason keeping the C.I.'s identity secret out trumps all other considerations. That's the flip side of using or putting trust in C.I.s, they usually have criminal records which is why they make good informants they can weave in and out of the criminal element with ease and without detection and gain trust on both sides of the law. Too often it's law abiding citizens that end up paying the price for this less the perfect arrangement. So a few questions. Did anyone ever give up the name of this C.I.? According to his story the killer rented a car that was the same as the boyfriend's, did you know if they ever found if John Wakefield did rent the car and if so what would be the timeline on that; when he rented and when he returned car? Did anyone in the mobile home park recall seeing the car there that night? Where was the boyfriend during this timeframe, from the time Jane Wakefield lert her friends until the discovery of her body? And what was John Wakefield's alibi? Sorry if these are facts that are already well established, just trying to provide something new and this would be new to me, I still need the basics.
Hey @BKL67 !
You know, as long as I was involved (obviously, not deeply or in any official capacity) in this case, I never heard anything about the C.I. from any of the guys I talked to. I realize no one would have given me any details, but I was quite close to a couple of the cops, and I honestly believe someone would have mentioned that there was a C.I. if they put much stock in him/her. What threw me the most about the C.I. was the stuff about the ponds and the remains being scattered along I-80. By the time I became involved. I think LE had discounted those stories, as they were not passed along to me. I didn't hear about the rental car, either- and I have no clue as to who the "Field men" were or what that was referencing. I heard the same story from every cop I spoke with- that Wakefield had done all this on his own, in his own car, and left the remains in dumpsters behind his businesses. I never heard about Jane's boyfriend, or about anyone seeing Wakefield at Bon Aire. Bon Aire's trailers aren't as close together as trailers in other parks around here, but, of course, trailers aren't generally very sound-proof, so it's not surprising that neighbors heard screaming. When I initially read about the events at Bon Aire, I figured John had been there in his own vehicle- perhaps because maybe he & Jane were getting together occasionally to work out issues in re: the divorce. I know Jane wanted one of John's businesses as part of the settlement, and John wasn't about to hand it over. But that's only an assumption. I'll try to do some more research on these things- I'd found quite a bit a couple of years ago, and posted it here- unfortunately, the site went down because of a jerk who was supposed to be maintaining this site, and we lost all the older threads at the beginning of this year.
You bring up great questions and issues; please keep it up, on this case and others. Your willingness to do the work and dig deep is a HUGE asset!
 

BKL67

Concerned Citizen 007
@GarAndMo39 or maybe they didn't even mention a C.I. because the best way to avoid slipping up and giving away a tip that could lead to some one discovering his true identity is not mentioning him at all. You are telling me the C.I. and the man from Kansas that they got the information about the two field men and getting rid of the body like they had another victim in a sewage lagoon are the same? I didn't read it that way, I thought they were two different individuals providing different information or two different accounts. And that the C.I. knew about buying the charcoal, burning the body and named the apartment building where John lived, sticks out. That is one of the difficult things with cold cases decades old, were looking at things in hind sight and forget how things would have been seen back then or what would have been publicly or well known at the time, like where John lived and where Jane lived, was that common knowledge or that the C.I. knew this point to him having intimate knowledge or being told by someone that did? Just my thoughts.
 

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