January 11, 2016


AGE: 42


Hometown: Des Moines

Body Found: Warren County

On Christmas Eve, 1993, Phil Terrell went for a walk near his home on Des Moines’ south side. The 42-year-old father of three never returned, and his family reported him as missing. On Wednesday, March 2, 1994, a horseback rider found Terrell’s snow-covered, decomposed body in a creek bed just inside Warren County. Autopsy results showed Terrell died from blunt force trauma to the head.

His body had been dragged to the location where it eventually was found. Some of his clothing had been neatly folded and placed beneath his head. Investigators believed his body had been in that same location since the day he disappeared, but due to time exposed to the elements, said they had no physical evidence.

Terrell, who had always been a hard-working family man, had begun associating with a rough crowd in 1993. He started insisting someone wanted to harm him and his family began to fear for his mental health.

Terrell’s girlfriend, Julie, had told varying stories to the family and to investigators. FBI agents sorted through Julie’s contradictory statements and explanations, and asked her to submit to a lie detector test. She failed. Still, they had no hard evidence to tie her to the crime.