Amidst the cornfields and other buildings dotting the landscape of Iowa, there lies a list that strikes fear into the hearts of those who dare to defy the law. A compilation of the state’s most elusive and dangerous. It serves as a grim reminder of the shadowy figures lurking in the tranquil landscapes of Iowa and the rest of the Midwest.  

These figures are the worst of a bunch of the worst. The top 5 criminals that are connected to Iowa.  

One of Many  

1: John Wayne Gacy. He was a seemingly normal businessman and community leader, that harbored a dark secret that would shock the nation. As the layers of his facade peeled away, revealing the true extent of his monstrous deeds, the country and the world recoiled in horror at the evil bearing a smile. What turned out to be one of America’s most notorious serial killers.  

According to the Des Moines Register Gacy confessed to burying 27 bodies underneath his home near Chicago and tossing 5 of them into a nearby river. Before moving to Illinois, Gacy lived in Waterloo, where he was a restaurant manager. In 1968, Gacy served time in Iowa prison after pleading guilty to sodomy.  

Des Plaines Police/TSM
Des Plaines Police/TSM
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There are others, sadly

2:Recently, speaking of Waterloo, Clark Perry Baldwin was charged with cold case killings.  DNA evidence collected by police led them to arrest Baldwin in 2020 for three murders he allegedly committed in the early 1990s.

Working as a truck driver, Baldwin was charged with the 1991 murder of 32-year-old Pamela Rose McCall and her unborn fetus in Tennessee.  He was also charged with the 1992 killings of two women in Wyoming.  Their bodies were found some 400 miles apart.

The FBI collected Baldwin's DNA from his trash one month earlier.  His DNA was compared to the national database and investigators were able to connect Baldwin to cold cases.  Investigators said they believed he may be responsible for multiple deaths and they were continuing to investigate his potential connection in other cold cases associated with that time frame.  Baldwin was arrested on May 6, 2020, at his apartment in Waterloo's historic Hotel Russell-Lamson.

Blackhawk County Jail/TSM
Blackhawk County Jail/TSM
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Outsmarted the system for a short time

3: It was a specialty of Charles Ray Hatcher.  He knew the system better than the system knew itself.  As a drifter, he crisscrossed the country and killed as many as 16 people.

Hatcher was good at, one thing, committing crimes.  He had many under his belt from auto theft to crimes against children.  This began as early as 1947.  By the late 70's, he began roaming between Iowa and Nebraska. With as many as 14 aliases, four birth dates, and six social security numbers.  It made it difficult for investigators to track him down.  It would make collecting social security much easier with six social security numbers.  Let's remember that's highly illegal and why we have the ever-so-friendly photo of Charles below.

In 1984, Hatcher was sentenced to two life sentences for two murders committed in Missouri.  After the arrest, it was reported that he confessed to at least two other murders.  Hatcher committed suicide in his cell a few months after receiving his sentence.

Missouri State Penitentiary/TSM
Missouri State Penitentiary/TSM
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Denial is a River in Egypt

4: Randy Steven Kraft, known as the "Scorecard Killer" was convicted in 1989 for the murder, torture, rape, and mutilation, of 16 young makes in California between 1971 and 1983.  Authorities linked him to 45 other murders across California Oregon, Iowa and Michigan.  Kraft targeted hitchhikers, incapacitating them with drugs or alcohol before sexually mutilating and disposing of their bodies near freeways.

His car contained a list of victims and photographs of nude men. One of the cryptic entries in his journal simply listed “Iowa.” Investigators believed this to be Oral Alfred Stewart, a marine born in Des Moines, whose body was found naked and beaten to death in Long Beach, California.  Despite the evidence, Kraft denied involvement in the murders. He is currently on death row in California.

San Quentin State Prison/TSM
San Quentin State Prison/TSM
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And Finally

5: Louisville native Harry Edward Greenwell, who spent time in prison for various crimes, was posthumously identified as the "Days Inn Killer" or "I-65 Killer." He assaulted and murdered at least three female victims and sexually assaulted another in Indiana and Kentucky between 1987 and 1989. His victims, Vicki Heath, Margaret “Peggy” Gill, and Jeanne Gilbert, were motel clerks along the I-65 corridor. Greenwell assaulted and shot each victim. The investigation spanned over 30 years before DNA evidence linked him to the crimes.

Indianapolis Police Department/TSM
Indianapolis Police Department/TSM
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