Patricia Veach

DES MOINES—One of Iowa’s old unsolved murders also is one of its most terrifying to parents.

On Thursday morning, July 10, 1969, 8-year-old Patricia Ann Veach was found dead in her bedroom at her Des Moines home. She had been sexually molested.

An autopsy showed she had been smothered to death either with a pillow or a hand. Laboratory analyses of blood and hair found on the scene were incomplete.

Patricia lived with her parents, William “Bill” and Etta Veach, and her older brother, Billy, at 805 S.W. Lally St. on Des Moines’ south side. Billy had spent the night with his paternal grandparents.

The Veaches told police they had gone to bed around 2 a.m. and that their daughter was all right at that time. They said they had heard no unusual noises in the house and that their dog — who was kept in the basement overnight — had not barked.

Bill Veach told police he had gone to check on his daughter about 7:25 a.m. Thursday after discovering the home’s front door screen slashed near the latch.

He said he found his daughter lying on her back, uncovered and clad only in her pajama top, and that there was blood on her body and on the bed.

Police canvassed the neighborhood in search of persons who might have seen someone or heard something near the Veaches’ home.

Authorities questioned more than 500 persons within a week of the murder but reportedly had no clues regarding the identity of Patricia’s killer.


Who: Patricia Ann Veach

What happened: The 8-year-old was found dead in her bed of her family’s Des Moines home the morning of July 10, 1969. She had been sexually molested and smothered.

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


“Gone Cold: Exploring Iowa’s unsolved murders” is an ongoing 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.