April 1st, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We are chagrined to hear that Billy Ben Carroll has died. He was with Lonnie and Paula the night she disappeared. We tried to find him, so we could ask him about what happened, but were unsuccessful. Until we found this:
We know this is the right person, from his Statement to the police:
March 19th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
On Monday, March 18th, 2013, a conversation was started on Facebook, in the “You Know You Grew Up in Cedar Rapids in the 70′s and 80′s Because…” group when a photograph of the Unique Motel was posted there. Several comments into the discussion, illegal abortion was mentioned along with Joe Abodeely’s name. One reader commented that the Abodeely family has denied that he was ever involved in such activities, and from there the conversation expanded to include allegations of prostitution, child prostitution, and sex trafficking. Some folks took offense to this and eventually the thread was removed, by the original poster, not by the administrators as we had thought at first, because he was uncomfortable with where the thread was going. Fearing that this might happen, we saved the whole thread as a PDF file and are posting it here for you to see and, we hope, comment on, to continue the discussion and provide a space for more victims to speak up about their experiences.
You Know You Grew Up In Cedar Rapids, IA in the 70′s & 80′s Because….
Monday, March 18 2013, 6:53 AM
Like · · · March 10 at 7:16pm
10 people like this.
Kim Melheim wow…I remember this place!
March 10 at 7:20pm · Like · 1
Tiffany Stull Where was this?
March 10 at 7:21pm via mobile · Like · 2
James Wagner By St. Lukes……it was always on our list of drive‐bys while cruising the strip.
March 10 at 7:26pm · Edited · Like · 1
Eileen Boulet The emergency room sits in this spot now.
March 10 at 7:48pm via mobile · Like
Mike Haars thanks for the pic …i worked at the Meeting Place during 1974 cover charge taker
Friday at 5:55pm · Like
Deb Boyles Yes, St Lukes bought it rented it to people who had family in hospital…I worked there in 1986?? or around that time period…
Friday at 6:00pm · Like
Mitch Cumsteen ironic the Emergency room sits there now, because the Unique was used for illegal medical procedures (among other things) in the 50′s/60′s
Saturday at 8:48am · Like
Lynn Brown Mitch Im really confused, I thought this set across from the hospital not next to it?
Saturday at 11:39am · Like · 1
Sharon Kahler Bailey I believe it was across the street from the hospital………
Saturday at 1:29pm · Like
Rick Sampson It was on the same side of A Ave, basically where St. Luke’s parking ramp is now located.
Saturday at 1:44pm · Like
Sharon Kahler Bailey Oh. totally mispictured it then
Saturday at 2:36pm · Like
Steve Clark Rumor has it I was conceived at the Unique and born at St.Luke’s.
Saturday at 3:24pm · Like
Susan Jagerson Huh????
Saturday at 4:46pm · Like
Mike Haars 852 A Ave those motel room face st lukes
Saturday at 4:48pm · Like
Kevin Picard it’s on the same side as Lukes.. the windows of the rooms would be directly opposite the emergency room entrance ( or the origeinal one,, the entrance now sits where the motel was)
Saturday at 7:52pm · Like
Kevin Picard and Mitch… the relatives of the former owner deny the medical procedure thing… but it was well known that if you were a girl in a scrape.. you could get out of it with a scrape in the back room
Saturday at 7:55pm · Like
Kevin Picard and they had strippers in the bar.. and it was rumored that for a small fee……..
Saturday at 7:56pm · Like
Kevin Picard I would LOVE to have that sign for my mancave… if it still exists
Saturday at 7:57pm · Like · 1
Honest Tea I don’t understand why anyone‐‐relative or otherwise of the owner, Joe Abodeely‐‐would deny FACTS. It
is fact that Joe Abodeely was in the abortion and prostitution business. Joe Abodeely spent two years in Ft Madison prison for participating in an abortion, during which the woman died from the abortion and her body was dumped in the Me Too parking lot (I’ll post the articles).
It is also fact that women were prostituted out of The Meeting Place and the Unique Motel, as well as other bars/restaurants in CR. This was human trafficking. It was highly organized. This is fact. And frankly, I think it’s part of our history that the good citizens of CR have not properly addressed or dealt with.
Joe Abodeely and his cohorts trafficked young women (and children were involved as well) in the late 1960′s ‐ the late 1970′s. This is a span of nearly twenty years. It’s unimaginable to grasp how many victims that is.
I understand that people who post here mean no harm. I also believe that some of the snickering about The Unique is not meant to insult or with a bad intent. However, I would like you to consider something. Where do you think those girls came from? Do you recognize that they were human beings who were being taken advantage of and exploited? I was sexually abused and traumatized as a child in this situation. I have found another victim who was a teenager. She was alone in CR, with no parents and a child “of the system.” Upon her arrival, within a week, she was manipulated (and I would say terrorized) into complying and prostituting herself. She’s been in therapy for ten years. Myself, 15 years.
I imagine there are hundreds of victims. Most of these victims would be in their 50′s and 60′s now. Many victims of sexual trafficking and rape don’t even begin to process what happened to them‐‐until they are in their 40′s or 50′s.
I am not pointing fingers at any particular posters. I’m just asking you to consider that for many of these victims‐‐trauma and pain is a part of their daily lives now. Anyone else have teenage daughters? We know how vulnerable they are and how easily they can be manipulated by their peers. Imagine how teenage girls from dysfunctional families (or with no families at all) would fare against an organized system of corruption ruled by powerful people, big personalities and a lot of fear‐‐in an organized system that seemed to have a firm grip on them.
None of those girls became rich. None of these girls longed for this reality as little girls. Only the ringleaders were enriched. Only the ringleaders, like Joe Abodeely and his willing accomplices were realizing their dreams through these activities.
And to those who may be embarrassed that this is part of Cedar Rapids history‐‐please also consider that helping victims and healing broken souls may supersede your discomfort and your desire to sweep truth under the carpet. Please know that when you deny this reality‐‐you are denying the pain of the victims. You are telling them that‐‐once again, they are objects who do not matter.
If any of you are survivors of organized childhood sexual abuse or human sex trafficking in Cedar Rapids‐‐and you have felt alone, afraid, overwhelmed, depressed, or fearful STILL of these people who did these things to you‐‐please know that you are not alone. If you have suffered from depression, eating disorders or addiction to quell the pain‐‐I understand. You are not alone. If you have spent thousands in therapy‐‐crying, venting rage that you thought would break you in two‐‐and grieving your lost childhood and teenage years‐‐I get it. You are not alone. It was not your fault. And I hope you are well. You are also welcome to message me via Facebook, if you feel the need and are comfortable.
I have found validation and comfort from the other survivor (and many, many others that have validated my memories of how CR was run in those days). Maybe it’s time for the survivors to reach out and support each other. Others may want to bury this chapter in CR history, but the victims are the most important part of this story‐‐and they have rights, they have voices and they are human beings too. For many of them, they may have only begun to heal.
Thank you for listening.
Honest Tea 6‐9‐71 Cedar Rapids Gazette Abodeely Is
An order was issued in Linn County
District court Wednesday morning: for county
officers to arrest Josef Abodeely and;transport him
to the’penitentiary at Ft
Madison to begin serving a live year term on his
guilty plea in an abortion case.
At ‘mid-afternoon’ authorities
reported they still had been unable to locate Abodeely.
Arrest of the 40-year-old Cedar Rapids
ordered after Linn district court
received notice from the Iowa
supreme court to proceed as though Abodeely had made no appeal.
The former nightclub owner’s
conviction was affirmed by the
Iowa supreme court last Sep
tember and the U.S. Supreme court denied an appeal to that
court May 3.
However, the Iowa high court
was not formally notified of the
denial until Tuesday. The order
to proceed was then sent to
Linn district court.
(more at Gazette Online Archives)
Lynn Brown Bless you for your honesty. I pray that other’s affected will reach out to you. We need to remember in this
same time frame there was a conviction of psychiatrist’s because they had sex with their patients in the treatment rooms at St Lukes. Also another doctor was convicted of providing date rape drugs to others….There is a dark history in Cedar Rapids during this time frame. I’m proud of the people that made those convictions possible …. however so little has been done as a community to support the recovery of those affected by these sex crimes. We also had a priest that was convicted of sex crimes recently that taught at IC in the 60′s as well ‐‐ There were whispers among those in our neighborhood about ‘bad touching’. I hope that you can reach out and as a group become empowered. Healing wishes
Honest Tea Another article that details how Joe Abodeely the “defendant admitted referring seven women over a three year period to Meyers and Geater. Defendant claims he received no financial gain. Evidence produced by the State at the hearing preparatory to sentencing indicates defendant did realize a financial gain and that he referred far more than the seven women he noted in his own testimony. One of the women, Mrs. Wright, died immediately after having been treated by these men.”
Link to full article:
At this point in the conversation someone named Nick Saba came on and complained about the maligning of a dead person (Joe Abodeely): demonizing was the word used. Then his comments disintegrated into a rant against “liberals” and “our stupid President” for allowing babies to be murdered… We did not get screen shots of that part of the conversation, but it’s not really relevant anyway.
What we’re interested in is this suggestion that there might be other victims out there. We’d like to hear from them. We’d like to see them empowered, as Lynn Brown suggested above.
March 18th, 2013 § 1 Comment
Follow the link below to a public post on the Facebook Group page, You Know You Grew Up In Cedar Rapids in the 70′s and 80′s Because…
and find there a conversation about the Unique Motel, Joe Abodeely, abortions (aka “medical procedures”), sex trafficking, prostitution, victims…
February 19th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
February 19th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Our research has repeatedly provided us with sufficient information to question the activities and motives of the CRPD and their connection to abortions in the area. Possibly even sex trafficking. Not to mention the corruption of “looking away” or insufficient investigation, not only in Paula’s case but also in the 1959 murder of Marlene Padfield. If you have a story to tell about any possible CRPD nefarious activities in the 60s and 70s, please, let us know! http://www.iowaunsolvedmurders.com/the-murders/the-aspiring-actress-murder-of-marlene-padfield-1959/
September 7th, 2012 § 3 Comments
What if Paula was working for the police?
THE THROWAWAYS: Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.
June 24th, 2012 § 5 Comments
In his first statement to the police, dated 12/2/70, Mike (Michael Dewayne) Himes – who spent the early morning hours of the day that Paula was reported missing driving around with Lonnie Bell – had this to say:
“I further wish to state that at about 3:30 AM which would have been the morning of July 11, 1970 I was going east on 1st Avenue in the 600 block when I spotted Lonnie Bell coming west on 1st Avenue in his red Porsche. Lonnie turned around and parked his car in front of Rapids Chevy. I stopped and Lonnie got into the car with me. I had some beer in the car and Lonnie and I rode around in my car drinking the beer and sometime while we were riding around Lonnie mentioned to me that he had stopped by his girlfriend’s house that evening and she had informed him that she was pregnant, however, he had told her he did not want to get married at that time and nothing else was said about the girlfriend or any other problems he might have had. Lonnie and I rode around until daylight which would have been somewhere around 7 AM and I then drove Lonnie by his car and dropped him off and I went on home. I further wish to state that several days later I again ran into Lonnie and in the conversation Lonnie told me that his girlfriend, Paula Oberbrockling, had disappeared and that he had been looking for her and he had had second thoughts that if he could find her he would consider marrying her and settling down. I have seen Lonnie several times since then and up to the present time Lonnie has never mentioned anything about Paula being missing to me.”
Two weeks later (12/5/70) he reportedly made the following correction:
“In summing up activities in the investigation conducted by me [Det. Trousdale] reference the Paula Oberbroeckling case, Mike Himes of 1210 20th Avenue SW was contacted and came in to take a polygraph test, which he passed. However, in conversation with Mike, he did state that he had withheld information in his statement to the point that while he and Lonnie had been riding around in his car, Lonnie had asked him to drive up by the Ely home and also by the Robert Williams home and through the ghetto during the time they were together and that Lonnie had told him he was looking for Debbie Kellogg’s car because Paula had taken this. Mike still insists that Lonnie Bell did not appear to be perturbed over the fact that Paula was not home and did not seem really too intent on finding her and that the rest of the time they were together they had rode aimlessly around the city drinking a beer.”
In his report regarding Mike’s polygraph test, Lieutenant William J. Byrne noted:
“The only thing the subject [Michael Dewayne Himes] is confused on is the time that he let Lonnie Bell out of his car on the morning of July 11, 1970. He now believes that it was between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. rather than 7:00 a.m. as he had previously mentioned.”
What do you make of this?
May 29th, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A reader has suggested that maybe Cedar Rapids resident Geraldine Maggert was seeking an abortion when she was murdered in March, 1968. Her body was found near the Coralville Reservoir in Johnson County, Iowa. She died from a beating and exposure and was about three months pregnant. Geraldine was murdered only two months after another victim, Sheila Collins, who had been struck on the head and strangled. Her body was found in a ditch near Colo, Iowa, in January, 1968.
Comment below, and let us know what you think.
May 25th, 2012 § 4 Comments
Several readers have asked, Who started the abortion story?
We’ve done some checking and this is what we’ve found:
The first time the word “abortion” is mentioned in the police file is in a note attached to the file:
Florence called and said that two night ago she heard a man and woman talking, saying something about a girl by the name of Paula Ober (she didn’t know the rest of the last name) that the man told the woman that this Paula’s grandmother was offering a $50 reward to find out where Paula was. The woman said that Paula had gone to Florida to have her baby or to have an abortion. SMK
Then, from Detective Trousdale on Jan 12, 1971:
I have received numerous phone calls from Florence Donnell in which she keeps mentioning the Jackson family who lived in the vacant house on 10th Ave., and that certain articles of clothing were found in this vacant house. However I have gone to this house and searched it from the basement on up and have been unable to find anything that would have any connection with the Oberbroeckling case.
So that might be the “Florence” who tipped about the abortion.
The next time the word abortion is mentioned in the file is when the body is found.
Officer Huston reported:
On 11/30/70 I went to Franklin School to talk to a Mr. Duane A. Buchheit who is a counselor at the school; home address of 1955 Ave. S.E., phone number 365-3989. The reason for seeing Mr. Buchheit was because he had given information to Vera Oberbrockling, the grandmother of the missing girl Paula, that he had received information from a boy that the girl was in Colorado. While questioning Mr. Buchheit in regards to where he received this information he stated that he had come to Cedar Rapids in about 1960 and had rented a room from Vera for about 6 1/2 years and gotten to know the family very well and that since he had been married he and his wife are still in close contact with Vera and also attended the same church she does. When Vera’s grand daughter was reported missing he had talked to Vera about the case several times. He stated that he was also contacted by Vera when the police contacted her about the body so that he could help find Carol, her daughter, mother of the missing Paula. He also stated that the reason foul play was felt was that the family all knew that Paula was a few months pregnant and she apparently had talked to her room mate, Debbie Kellogg, about getting an abortion and that when she left her apartment she had borrowed Debbie Kellog’s car and had on only a nightgown and a bathrobe.
So it seems to have come from Debby Kellogg, as well as from the family, who likely got it from her.
Florence Donnell was 68 in 1980 and lived at 1007 6th st SE. In 1993 she was Florence Donnell aka Florence Robovsky (probably her maiden name) and she lived at 1021 9th Street SE. She died in 1994.
Rhonda Weatherwax lived with James Browning in the 1000 block of 6th street. She’s the girl who was a good friend of Paula’s, who died of a suspicious overdose in rehab at Mercy Hospital. James Browning was Junior Browning. Relia Clark said that James Browning raped her.
May 24th, 2012 § 1 Comment
When we first started looking at the police files on Paula’s case, we consulted with our friend Paul Marks, who retired from the LAPD as a captain in 1999. In his 22 year career he worked in patrol, vice, detective, and narcotics assignments as an officer and as a supervisor. For three years he was the officer in charge of the Hollywood Vice Unit. Following the completion of that assignment he was the officer in charge of a squad of narcotics detectives. As a captain he commanded both patrol and detective personnel.
Here’s some of what Paul had to say about the police investigation into Paula Oberbroeckling’s death:
CRPD almost immediately concluded that Lonnie Bell killed Paula. When it became obvious even to them that he was not responsible for her death, then the CRPD seemed to have lost interest in solving this murder. I think that for racial reasons they wanted Lonnie Bell to be involved. They didn’t want to have to acknowledge, or have the town acknowledge, that one of the town’s prettiest women was having regular sex with a “colored” and that her baby would have been “colored” as well. Cedar Rapids is a town that in 1970 had a police department that was still referring to blacks as coloreds on their official police reports. God only knows what other members of the community were calling blacks.
Did CRPD keep a list of current abortionists and where they “worked” and where they lived? Because so many people suspected from the very beginning of this case that Paula had gone to an abortionist, why didn’t CRPD at least question the town’s known abortionists? The abortionists would have loved a legal reason to get rid of a competitor The police may have been able to arrest a couple of them for various unrelated crimes such as warrants, illegal possession of hypodermic syringes, violations of probation/parole, etc. and squeeze them for information in the process.
The street is full of information, but it doesn’t look like CRPD spent much time on the street trying to get it. They did a very good job of interviewing Paula’s family and known friends. It is unlikely, however, that with the exception of perhaps Debbie Kellogg or Robert Williams that these people would have known much about the crime itself. In this case the information was probably available on the street all along. The police needed to go out and get it. You don’t get information about hideous crimes by talking to saints. You get it by talking to, and dealing with, street people like Dale Peyton and Corby Powell. They should have used one of them as a true informant. The police should have questioned dope dealers and users, parolees, prostitutes, tricks and any confidential reliable informants they had.
Narcotics seem to have played a prominent part in the lives of the major players in this case. It would have been easy for the police to have made narcotics arrests on some of the case’s players and make deals with them in exchange for information.
There was no mention in any of the reports that the police ever executed a single search warrant during the course of this investigation. They should have executed search warrants on Sturgeon’s home and on the suspected abortion location on 5th Street. Search warrants should have also been conducted on Jordan’s and Harris’ homes, and the yellow Mercury (they may not have even needed one for the car. Case law acknowledges that vehicles are mobile and, therefore, the courts are less stringent about warrantless searches of cars, especially if the car itself is evidence rather than being a container of evidence.) There was a distinct possibility that there would have been trace forensic evidence in the car. There could have been residue from the cord or other material that was used to tie up Paula.
Once the police suspected that Sturgeon performed the abortion on Paula, did they conduct any kind of surveillance of him? Obviously the guy is gay, which I suspect, is an orientation not highly regarded in Cedar Rapids in 1970. Reading between the lines, he may have been a child molester. A surveillance of Sturgeon could have produced all kinds of results, including clues to the resolution of Paula’s murder.
Dale Peyton is the invaluable type of street person I was talking about earlier. Why didn’t the police question her more about Sturgeon when they began to suspect he was responsible for the murder? Why didn’t they put Dale out on the street and have her operate for information?
Paul currently lives in Southern California where he is working on his first novel.