Angela Marie Hennes went missing for 10 days in January. Her body then turned up in a farm field off Seven Sisters Road, in rural Scott County. Face down in the fetal position, her body had been badly burned.
Toxicology reports show she had no drugs or alcohol in her system. The last anyone saw her was when she was leaving her apartment on an unusually warm January day.
Did anyone see anything? Scott County Sheriff’s investigators are asking, as they slowly, maddeningly piece together evidence that will one day reveal a killer.
“We haven’t given up,” Sheriff’s Capt. LeRoy Kunde said.
New information comes in daily, Kunde said. But what is really needed is a witness to blow the case open, someone who may have seen the
41-year-old Davenport mother of two sons at some point between Jan. 3 and Jan. 13, 2007.
In the hopes of sparking a memory, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department released more information about the case this month.
According to investigators:
Hennes had a troubled past that included drug problems and engaging in prostitution to help pay for the habit.
She could often be seen walking along 4th, 3rd and 2nd streets between her residence at the Ledo Apartments, 411 W. 4th Street, and Myrtle Street. Often, her boyfriend could be seen walking with her or on the other side of the street.
But there was much more to her as a person, Kunde said.
“She got caught up in a bad lifestyle,” he said. “But everyone who knew her, everyone we’ve talked to, has described her as cordial, polite, likeable.”
It is evident, he said, that Hennes had the capacity to have done much more with her life.
Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Brown said that Hennes’ burned body was found about 4 p.m. Jan. 13 in the 15000 block of 100th Avenue, also known as Seven Sisters Road. A vehicle’s tire tracks were also discovered.
Before it was blocked off, he said, the area was sometimes used by prostitutes and their customers.
“The pathologist said she had been dead two maybe three days at most,” Brown said. “But she had been missing for 10 days. What we want to know is what she was doing and who she was with those other seven or eight days.”
He added that Hennes’ cell phone went off the day she disappeared, which was Jan. 3.
Gerald Bolt, the farmer who discovered Hennes’ body on his property, estimated at that time that he had last checked his property on Jan. 10, a Wednesday.
“Her boyfriend said he last saw her about 9 p.m. or so,” Kunde said. “He said she was heading to the grocery store. He thinks he may have seen her get in a vehicle later.”
Jan. 3, a Wednesday, was a warm day for the month with the high reaching 50 degrees. The low was 31 degrees. The next day, Thursday, was even warmer with the mercury hitting 52 degrees.
It was unusually warm the next week with highs mostly in the 40s and 50s. It wasn’t until the day her body was found that the high temperature remained below freezing. Yet, there had been traces of snow on several of those days.
For a time, investigators were concerned she had been killed by someone just passing through, possibly a long-haul truck driver.
“But those were not 18-wheel tracks we found,” Brown said. “I don’t think you could get an 18-wheeler in there and then get it out again.”
Besides, he said, something that big on that road would have looked out of place.
“The big questions are: Where was she those other seven or eight days,” he said. “Who was she with? Where were they all that time? What were they doing? And did anybody see them?”
If she was not being held against her will, then did she know her killer? Did she trust him? And why was she killed?
The Sheriff’s Department has not released the cause of death. As Brown explained, they want to be able to hold something back so that “wannabes” can be weeded out when they call, and they do. They also want to be able to verify any information that may be given to them by the killer when, not if, he is caught.
Hennes leaves behind family in the area. One of her sons, Matthew William Hennes, 24, lives in Davenport, and her other son, Daniel Jacob Priester, age 9, is being raised by his father Daniel Priester of Bettendorf, according to Scott County court records.
She is also survived by her parents, William and Linda Hennes, of Davenport; brother, Jeff Hennes; grandmother, Doris Ricketts; and many aunts, uncles and cousins, according to an obituary previously published in the Quad-City Times.
The obituary also stated Hennes was born Nov. 4, 1965, in Omaha, Neb., attended Davenport Catholic and public schools and graduated from high school in 1985. She went on to attend Scott Community College.
Hennes’ family has declined to comment on the case.
Sheriff’s investigators, with help from Davenport and Rock Island police, have questioned many people on both sides of the Mississippi River. But they have not been able to zero in on one suspect.
A dangerous profession
Those who engage in prostitution or pick prostitutes up for sex are taking a huge risk, said Davenport police Capt. David Struckman.
Calling it a “profession of desperation,” Struckman said that prostitution is often used to pay for a drug habit.
“But it’s dangerous because most of the time you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” he said. “The prostitute doesn’t know who’s buying her services; and the person buying the services doesn’t know the medical or criminal history of the person they’ve picked up.”
Will the person paying for services get rolled, or will he pay for only so much and take advantage of the girl and demand more and do more, Struckman asked.
And then there is the chance of contracting a disease that can be carried to others.
It is not a victimless crime, Struckman added.
“If you take it at prima facie value, a man has paid a woman for a sex act,” he said. “It’s an agreement between two people for consensual sex. That’s one thing.
“But think about all the ramifications. What is she using the money for? What crimes might be involved around it? There could be a pimp somewhere, which is another crime. It just gets deeper and deeper and deeper.”
Thomas Geyer can be contacted at (563) 383-2328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIGHTING CRIME IN DOWNTOWN DAVENPORT
Security cameras are being set up around a 15-block area of the central city. Police patrol cars have the capability to tie into the cameras and record videos of crimes occurring.
That project is continuing, said interim Police Chief Don Schaeffer, adding that the cameras are being placed on public and not private property.
Former Police Chief Mike Bladel, who helped spearhead the use of cameras, said it would have been nice had they been set up earlier.
“Our personnel are aware of the issues,” Bladel said, adding that the department has been able to continue the focus to reduce street and vice crime in the downtown area.
Davenport police have fought the drug and prostitution culture in the downtown area over the years.
For the past several months, officers have been targeting the downtown area, and it has made a noticeable difference, officials said.
SEVEN SISTERS ROAD REMAINS CLOSED
A portion of Seven Sisters Road, where Angela Hennes’ dead body was found in January, remains closed to public access.
The Scott County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to downgrade to “C” status part of the road, also called 100th Avenue, in March. Gates and no trespassing signs have since been put up on the road between Telegraph Road and West Locust Street.
A farmer found the burned remains of Hennes’ body in a field off the one-lane road, just outside Davenport city limits.
Area farmers complained to the county board that for years the stretch of road attracted “people and their girlfriends” as well as garbage and other unwanted items.
There remains a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever killed Angela Marie Hennes.
Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should call, Scott County Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Brown said, adding that what may seem unimportant may be the clue that breaks the case.
Anyone with information should call the Scott County Sheriff’s Department at (563) 326-8628 or Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities at (309) 762-9500.