Jane Ellen Wakefield

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Above Images: Jane, circa 1975

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 9, 1975 from Iowa City, Iowa
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: November 19, 1948
  • Age: 26 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'2, 112 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, green eyes. Jane wears eyeglasses. One of her teeth is missing. Her maiden name is Hallberg.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Jane was last seen at her mobile home at the Bon-Aire Mobile Home Lodge in Iowa City, Iowa on September 9, 1975. She has never been heard from again. Initially it was thought that she had left with a religious cult which was active in the area, but her family did not believe she would have joined a cult. When investigators searched the cult's camp they found no sign of Jane, and the theory was thus discredited.

    Jane was separated from her husband, John in 1975; she had filed for divorce about six months before she vanished and was seeing another man. Their friends stated Jane wanted to have children but John did not, and they believe this was a cause of the couple's marital problems. The day of her disappearance, Jane went on a bicycle ride with friends. A neighbor spoke to her after she returned to her home, and said she was behaving normally. Late that evening, one of Jane's neighbors heard someone yelling or screaming, but did not investigate the noises. Jane was discovered missing the next day.

    Jane's Fiat was found parked in its assigned space and her bicycle was locked to a yard lamp. Inside her residence everything seemed to be in order. Investigators believe she had been taking a shower when she disappeared. They administered many lie detector tests to eliminate suspects in her case, but one person of interest refused to take one. Shortly after Jane vanished, an informant told police a friend of his had confessed to her murder. Jane's body was supposedly cremated and scattered along Interstate 80. The informant passed a lie detector test, but his information was never confirmed. Authorities searched several locations, including two businesses owned by John. They removed bone fragments, a piece of metal believed to be a tooth filling, and five vacuum cleaners from his property. Laboratory testing could not connect the items to Jane, however. John maintains his innocence in her disappearance. He advertised a cash reward for her safe return. Authorities have identified a suspect in Jane's disappearance, but the individual has never been publicly named.

    Jane was employed as a teacher at at Penn Elementary School in North Liberty, Iowa in 1975; her disappearance was reported by the school principal when she did not show up for work. She grew up in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area and attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa for a year before she met John. Jane married him in 1967 and continued her studies at the University of Iowa. She graduated in 1970. She is considered missing under suspicious circumstances and her case remains unsolved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Iowa City Police Department
    319-356-5275

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    Source Information
    Iowa Missing Person Information Clearinghouse
    The Cedar Rapids Gazette
    The Doe Network
    Iowa Cold Cases

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    Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 1, 2015; picture added.

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