Details of Disappearance
Iva was last seen leaving her job at the Ranch House restaurant on west 49th Street in Hialeah, Florida at 1:30 a.m. on October 26, 1974. A coworker said she left with her estranged husband, James "T-Bone" Edwards, and they walked across the street towards Big Daddy's Lounge. She has never been heard from again.
Iva and her husband married in 1949 and had twin boys and three daughters. Prior to the marriage, James was dishonorably discharged from the Army after serving only five months, and was arrested a dozen times, mostly for minor crimes. He did serve fourteen months in prison for grand larceny.
According to her daughters, James had a violent temper, tortured and killed their pets, and also sexually abused them. They told Iva about it on several occasions, but she didn't intervene.
All of the couple's children had serious problems as adults. Their youngest daughter ran away from home at age twelve and developed a drug addiction, and she and one her sisters lost custody of their children. One of her their sons was imprisoned for a series of bank robberies, and the other son died by suicide while in his twenties.
Iva finally left James in 1974. She and her eighteen-year-old daughter, Rena, moved in with their oldest daughter and her infant son in an apartment in the 600 block of west 68th Street in Hialeah. She began seeing another man and took a late-shift job at the Ranch House on west 49th Street.
On the evening of October 25, two days before their 25th wedding anniversary, James came to the Ranch House and waited several hours in his truck in the parking lot until Iva got off of work. Rena saw him sitting in the parking lot during Iva's shift and told her mother she was sure he was going to kill both of them. Iva reassured her, telling her to go home and "Daddy's never going to hurt you again."
Rena went home and made a pot of coffee, and waited for Iva's return. Sometime that evening, Iva called her and said she'd come home after work and they'd have dinner. She sounded calm and normal during the conversation. She never returned to her the apartment, however.
When questioned, James said he'd had a drink with Iva at Big Daddy's and then dropped her off at the apartment at 2:45 a.m. He stated he noticed four or five "hippie type" Puerto Rican men in the parking lot, sitting on the hood of Iva's car, and she told them to stop. After seeing her walk towards her apartment door, James left and drove home to Fort Myers, Florida, arriving at 5:45.
Iva's children don't believe she left of her own accord, because she left all her clothes behind. After her daughters told the police about James's history, investigators began treating the case as a possible homicide. Although James failed a polygraph test, authorities couldn't find any evidence against him.
The case was reopened in 1989. The police questioned James, who denied having harmed his wife. James's brother, however, stated James had bragged about killing Iva about a year after her disappearance, and James's young daughter and her husband both said he'd threatened to kill them as he had Iva. Investigators still couldn't find sufficient evidence to charge James in Iva's disappearance, however.
Foul play is suspected in Iva's disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.