Michael Carr

ESTHERVILLE—A hit-and-run that resulted in a teenager’s death remains unsolved 40 years later.

At about 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26, 1975, 19-year-old Michael Edward Carr was struck by a vehicle on the west edge of Estherville, while walking home. He died one week later, Jan. 2, 1976.

The hit-and-run happened near the intersection of Iowa Highway 9 and Emmet County blacktop A22.

A local couple found Carr on the road’s eastbound side, his arms folded across his chest like a body in a coffin, and with his head resting on the curb.

Authorities said Carr had been positioned there, leading them to think that whoever hit Carr most likely knew him.

Carr’s body sustained numerous bruises in the hit-and-run after being struck by the bumper, windshield and the top of the vehicle.

Authorities think a maroon vehicle may have been involved.

Carr, who worked in Des Moines, had spent the evening with a friend at the Filling Station bar in Estherville.

Following Carr’s death, his family received two anonymous letters, which they handed over to police.

The family knew one letter had come from a girl Carr may have dated. She stated in the letter how nice he was and how sorry she was about what had happened to him.

The family described the other letter’s contents as “strange.”

Carr had been born and raised in Des Moines before moving to Estherville two years before his death. He graduated from Estherville High School in 1975.


Who: Michael Edward Carr

What happened: The 19-year-old was struck by a vehicle on the night after Christmas in 1975 on the west edge of Estherville and died one week later.

How you can help: Contact the Estherville Police Department at 712-362-6084, the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department at 712-362-2639 or the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6010 or e-mail dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us.


“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.