Suspect Photo Released In 1978 Murder Case

Date posted - May 3, 2016

Rock Rapids, Iowa — There have been no new leads in the Wilma June Nissen Cold Case in Lyon County — BUT — investigators have now released more information than has ever been released before. And for the first time in public, they’re calling one wanted individual a “suspect.”

unidentified suspect

unidentified suspect

On October 4th, 1978, the badly-decomposed body of a young woman was found in a ditch southwest of the West Lyon School in Lyon County.

Since no one in the area would say they knew who she was, she remained a “Jane Doe” for 27 years. In 2006, some fingerprint records from an arrest in California matched up with those taken from the body, and her name was released. She was identified as Wilma June Nissen from California.

Investigators say there is very little information about Nissen’s whereabouts between early in 1978 and the time her body was found in October, 1978.

Lyon County Chief Deputy and detective Jerry Birkey tells us that although they have known what he’s about to tell you for some time, this is the first time they have gone public with it.

wilma nissen


He says that while they are not releasing the name of the woman they believe killed Nissen, they have released a photograph of her from around 1978. He says they know their suspect worked for the Sioux Falls escort service, know as “Playmates” or “Playgirls”. He says one witness says Nissen did too. He says he knows where the suspect lives, and he’s even spoken to her about the case, but he can’t get her to confess. He says he needs someone to help link the two women.

Birkey says that due to the manner of death, they believe that at least two people were involved in murdering Nissen. They don’t know who the other person may be, but they would like to talk to another person, who went by the name, “Peaches.”

He says “Peaches” is a light-complected black female from Thunder Bay, Canada. To clarify, they have released a picture of a woman whose name they are not releasing, and they are also looking for the woman who was called “Peaches.” — two separate people.

Birkey says they think they know the killers’ motive.

He says he realizes that people may not want to come forward, but in the interest of justice, he hopes someone will.

If you have any information about “Peaches” or the woman in the photograph, or about Wilma June Nissen, Birkey would like you to call his office at 712-472-8300.

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