Related topics

Authorities investigate possible link between two rural slayings

June 12, 1997

WHAT CHEER, Iowa (AP) _ Authorities today were investigating whether the killings of two women in rural farmhouses a few miles apart were connected to a nearby bank robbery.

The car of one of the slain women, 18-year-old Island Schultz, matches a description of the car used by two men in the bank robbery. It was found abandoned after Wednesday’s robbery in nearby Gibson.

Still missing is the pickup truck belonging to Barbara J. Garber, 52, whose body was found just before the 9:30 a.m. robbery in her home in What Cheer, about five miles west of Gibson.

``We don’t know the sequence of events, nor do we know if these three crimes are related,″ said Rick Benson, special agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The women may have been shot, but autopsies were not complete, another spokesman said.

The Gibson Savings Bank was robbed at 10 a.m. Wednesday of an undisclosed amount of money by two men armed with a shotgun and a long-barreled revolver. They wore dark ski masks, tan coveralls, rubber boots and gloves.

No shots were fired in the small bank and there were no injuries. Afterward, a handwritten sign was taped to the bank’s door reading: ``Sorry, we’ve been robbed. Need anything, go to Keswick.″

The crimes shocked the farming communities of 1,000 people about 60 miles east of Des Moines. Many residents could be seen carrying firearms Wednesday afternoon.

Schultz, whose body was found in the home she shared with her grandparents in Barnes City, had just graduated from high school. Garber was a farmhand who lived alone.

Update hourly