July 1, 2016

AGE: 23 | DIED: OCTOBER 4, 1978 | Location: Rock Rapids

The body of Wilma Nissen was found on Oct. 4, 1978, in a roadside ditch near Lake Pahoja in Western Lyon County. Unrecognizable due to decomposition, the body lay in a ditch on the north side of the gravel road. The body went unidentified for nearly three decades, until finally being identified as Nissen’s in 2006.

Investigators believe her body had been dumped between June and July of 1978. No evidence was present at the crime scene except for her body, her clothing and a rope. Evidence suggests that she was not killed at that particular spot and based on the position of Nissen’s body, the rope was used to pull her into the ditch from a nearby area or a vehicle.

Nissen grew up in California with a neglectful father and then in several foster homes. She resorted to prostitution in her twenties as a means of survival. In February 1978 she left California and moved to Atlanta with Charles Inman Belt. Belt, the last known person to have seen her alive, told detectives Nissen left his mother’s apartment just a few days after arriving in Atlanta and he did not hear from her again.

In addition to her married names of Wilma Wellington and Wilma Irvin, Wilma would sometimes use aliases including Amy Irvin, Amy Belt, Wilma Belt, or Amy Nissen.

There is a $10,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Wilma Nissen’s death. The ANONYMOUS HOTLINE is 712-472-8334. Please visit Lyon County’s website (www.lyoncosheriff.com/tips) for more details about the case and the reward.