Details of Disappearance Iwert was last seen in Washington County, Kansas on April 20, 1983. He owned a farm near Washington County State Lake, with seventeen cows and two bulls. His sister stated Iwert was devoted to the cattle because they had belonged to his late wife.
His brother saw him that morning, and Iwert said his neighbor, J. Ted Garner, a chiropractor, was coming over to help with farm chores and give him a chiropractic treatment. That same day, Iwert paid delinquent personal property taxes on his cattle to renew a $1,500 note and to borrow an additional $500 he needed for farm repairs.
The vice president of the bank saw him that afternoon and asked him about rumors that Iwert had a girlfriend and that he was selling his property. Iwert denied having any girlfriend and said he had no plans to sell any land or livestock. He has never been heard from again. He left all his belongings behind, including his three walking canes, and his wallet, checkbook, driver's license and medications.
Garner claimed Iwert had met a woman named Martha Kline through a personals ad in a Topeka, Kansas weekly newspaper. Kline was supposedly in her sixties and owned 31 acres of land in Mississippi. She supposedly visited Iwert in January 1983, and returned on April 17. Garner said he'd driven Iwert to the Korner Cafe six miles west of Washington, Kansas at 9:30 p.m. on April 20, and Kline was waiting there in her car. Iwert left with her, telling Garner, "If things don't work out, I may see you in a couple of days."
Garner also said Iwert had sold his property and livestock to him prior to his disappearance, but Iwert's brother said Iwert hadn't sold anything. Authorities traveled to Mississippi, but were unable to locate Kline. A search of subscribers to the newspaper where the personals ad was placed turned up no results, and when police searched through records of every state, they couldn't find anyone named Martha Kline who was the right age and knew Iwert. No one else besides Garner had heard of this woman.
Garner produced a bill of sale of personal property, and a lease agreement with an option to buy, both signed with Iwert's name, in which he turned his livestock and farm over to Garner. The documents were dated September 20, 1982, seven months prior to Iwert's disappearance, and Garner said he'd paid $30,600 in cash for his property, but agreed that Iwert could keep living on the farm as long as he paid the utility bills. A documents expert with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said he was "virtually certain" the signatures on both papers were both forgeries.
In October 1983, Garner was charged with Iwert's murder. He was convicted of felony murder, attempted theft, and forgery in January 1984. He was only the second person in Kansas state history to be convicted of murder without the victim's body.
Iwert has never been located.
- Washington County Sheriff's Office
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 5, 2019; casefile added.