April 19, 2016

AGE: 37

DIED: AUGUST 29, 1984

Hometown: Dyersville

On August 29, 1984, Charles Jaeger was found in a pool of blood in his bed at his Dyersville home. He had been shot in the back of the head with a rifle or a handgun. Jaeger’s wife, Eileen, reportedly found his body, surrounded by splattered blood. He was rushed to the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, where he died at 8:23 p.m.

Law enforcement officials say the doors were locked and there was no sign of forcible entry. The murder weapon was never found. Jaeger’s two sons were in a bedroom next to their parents’ room the night of the slaying. They said they didn’t hear the shot or the ambulance sirens, and that a train roaring past, practically in the home’s backyard, muffled any sound. Eileen, who told investigators she was sleeping downstairs, reportedly heard some sounds coming from her bedroom, noises that apparently got her attention.

The crime scene was compromised from the beginning, by necessity. Paramedics moved Jaeger from the waterbed where he was presumed to have been shot. The crime scene wasn’t sealed once the victim was found. The Division of Criminal Investigation wasn’t called in until after Jaeger was flown to Iowa City.

There are conflicting reports about the cooperation of Jaeger’s wife and children in the investigation.

During a search of the residence, investigators collected 133 items, including numerous personal letters and love letters sent to Jaeger from women in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and small towns in Nebraska, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Charles Jaeger’s brother, Ed, said Charles had asked his wife for a divorce, but she refused. Ed Jaeger said there was a lot of tension in the house that summer. Charles had planned to leave Eileen and had moved some of his possessions to a rented apartment and had opened his own checking account, evidence shows.

Investigators hold differing theories about who was involved in the murder, but possess little evidence to prove or disprove any theory. The first step in solving the crime would be finding the gun. DNA evidence, which wasn’t commonly used in 1984, could also play a role in solving the crime.