Julie Davis

DES MOINES—Was it a crime of passion?

A brutal murder of a Cedar Falls woman nearly two decades ago appears to be just that.

On Thursday, Aug. 28, 1997, 33-year-old Julie Bell Davis was found murdered at her place of employment, Skyline Display’s satellite office off East Second Street in Des Moines.

She had been stabbed several times and her throat was slashed. There were signs Davis put up a struggle, although there were no signs of sexual abuse.

There was no forced entry, and robbery did not appear to be a motive. Rather, everything pointed to a crime of passion, according to authorities.

With the sheer volume of blood present at the scene, officials had hoped to find some type of print, but said they discovered neither fingerprints on the windows nor footprints on the floors.

It not only pointed to a crime of passion, but one committed by a pro.

Davis and her family resided in Cedar Rapids, but she routinely traveled to Des Moines once or twice each week to work at the satellite showroom.

Police think the last contact Davis had with anyone the day of her murder was an afternoon telephone conversation with a fellow Skyline Display employee from the Cedar Rapids office.

Her husband was ruled out as a suspect early in the investigation. An acquaintance who was present at the scene when police arrived also was interviewed but not considered a suspect.

There were no other successful leads.


Who: Julie Bell Davis

What happened: The 33-year-old was found murdered at her place of employment on Aug. 28, 1997, in Des Moines.

How you can help: Contact the Des Moines Police Department Detective Bureau at 515-283-4864.


“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 it will lead to new tips and potentially help solve cases.