KEOKUK—Relatives and friends question deaths of two people in nearby homes two days apart in 1999 in Keokuk.
Eric Scott Redinbo, 18, died Feb. 12, 1999, of a 12-gauge shotgun blast to the head.
Officers said they were called to Susan Anderson’s house on Keokuk’s west side around 8:40 p.m. that Friday, where they found Redinbo’s body. Police said the shotgun had accidentally gone off inside the home, hitting Redinbo once in the head.
They ruled his death an accident.
Two days later, Dolores Antonia “Toni” (Martinez) Hornung, 48,died early Sunday morning — Valentine’s Day — from a single shot fired from a 30-30 rifle.
The two homes in which Redindo and Hornung died had adjacent backyards.
Hornung’s daughter called emergency officials about 5:25 p.m. saying she could not wake her mother.
Investigators determined Hornung had not died of natural causes.
A bullet was recovered from her head during her autopsy. Police never recovered the rifle used in her slaying.
The proximity of the two deaths left officials wondering if the cases might be connected.
“I think everyone has tossed that around a lot and so far we’re not coming up with anything,” Lee County attorney Mike Short told a reporter a few days after the shooting. “It is a suspicious coincidence, because of the lack of information authorities have.”
Hornung’s boyfriend, Lewis Ray Greer, 33, of Bonaparte later was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in her death. However, he was acquitted by a Lee County jury after a four-day trial in Fort Madison. Jurors refused to consider lesser charges, and Greer left the courtroom a free man.
Redinbo’s mother, Carolyn Redinbo Robinson, said there is no doubt in her mind that the cases are connected and that the same person killed her son and Hornung. She said she never once believed her son’s death was an accident or a suicide.
“So many things do not make sense,” Robinson told Jody Ewing of Onawa, who maintains iowacoldcases.org in 2015. “The Keokuk Police Department would not let our family identify his body either, so we have never had closure in this case.”
Becky White Feather Riney, who said she was the last person to talk to Hornung, said Hornung called her regarding the supposed “accidental shooting” of Eric Redinbo around the corner on Feb. 12. Specific details surrounding that death had been brought to Hornung’s attention by someone living in the same house where Redinbo was shot, Riney said.
“[Toni] went to the Keokuk police about it. But, she also talked with many loved ones about it too, including me,” Riney said. “She was murdered the very next day.”
COLD CASE BREAKDOWN:
Who: Eric Scott Redinbo and Dolores Antonia “Toni” (Martinez) Hornung
What happened: Redinbo, 18, died of a shotgun blast to the head on Feb. 12, 1999, in Keokuk. Hornung, 48, was found shot to death two days later in her Keokuk home, which had an adjacent backyard to the home where Redindo died.
How you can help: Contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 515-725-6010 or email@example.com or call the Keokuk Police Department at 319-524-2741 or the Lee County Attorney’s Office at 319-524-9590.
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.