COUNCIL BLUFFS—“Cold case” unfortunately accurately describes the death of a 24-year-old Council Bluffs woman nearly 50 years ago.
On Monday, March 6, 1967, Burlington Railroad employees found the frozen body of Gloria Fay Slump under a trestle over Pony Creek three miles south of Council Bluffs.
A trail of blood showed she was dragged to the site from a county road 150 yards away. Officials estimated Slump died three days earlier.
Slump had told friends she was going to spend the weekend with her parents, who lived in Stanton, about 40 miles away.
The Omaha, NE, brokerage house worker had been beaten, stabbed 14 times in the throat with a dull knife or an instrument similar to a beer can opener, and left under the trestle to bleed to death. There were no signs of sexual assault.
One day before Slump’s body was found, an Iowa State Patrol officer discovered an abandoned car 150 yards east of the Pony Creek railroad bridge. Officials said it belonged to 24-year-old Jerry E. Neve of Omaha, who had been seen with the victim before she disappeared.
Neve voluntarily submitted to a polygraph and later was released from custody, although results of the polygraph showed deception when asked whether Neve knew Slump or had any information about her death.
The FBI conducted tests on a piece of clothing discovered in Neve’s car and later confirmed the clothing had belonged to Slump.
Neve used a shotgun to commit suicide on March 11, 1967. His stepfather, Cecil Fellows, said Neve told him he did not murder Slump, but was just being a good fellow and that he was so involved he did not know what to do.
On June 10, 1967, Omaha Police — acting on a tip — found Slump’s coat in a hotel room once registered to Jerry Neve and Herschell L. Gitchell. At the time, Gitchell was awaiting trial on burglary charges.
COLD CASE BREAKDOWN:
Who: Gloria Fay Slump
What happened: The 24-year-old’s frozen body was found March 6, 1967, under a railroad trestle three miles south of Council Bluffs. Authorities determined she had been stabbed to death three days earlier.
How you can help: Contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent in charge Darrell Simmons at 712-322-1585, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division at 712-890-2200 or, to remain anonymous, the Pottawattamie County Crime Stoppers at 712-328-STOP (7867).
ABOUT THIS SERIES:
“Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s unsolved murders” is a yearlong collaborative effort by Iowa news organizations to revisit some of the most brutal and mystifying homicides in the state’s history. The N’West Iowa REVIEW is presenting some of the unsolved homicides in the hope that they will lead to new tips and potentially help solve cases.