116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Fifty years after 17-year-old Maureen Brubaker-Farley’s body was found in a ravine on Ely Road SW, Cedar Rapids investigators have closed the case.
Through investigation and DNA technology, the Cedar Rapids Police Department Cold Case Unit identified and confirmed George M. Smith as the suspect in the homicide cold case, police said in a news release on Tuesday.
The case will be closed with no prosecution because Smith died in 2013 at the age of 94, police said.
“No matter how much time has passed, our officers are committed to seeking out justice for all victims of violent crime as well as their families,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of the generations of Cedar Rapids Officers that contributed to bringing this once cold case to a resolution.”
Jerman said the current Cold Case Unit includes investigator Matt Denlinger, retired DCI Special Agent JD Smith and retired CRPD Police Lieutenant Ken Washburn.
Farley’s body was found on Sept. 24, 1971, in a wooded ravine off Ely Road SW near the landfill, which is now Tait Cummins Park. Two teenage boys found Farley’s body lying on the trunk of an abandoned junk car.
Farley was partially clothed with no shoes. Police said there was evidence Farley was carried and placed at the location after she died.
Through an autopsy, investigators determined Farley’s cause of death was a skull fracture after being hit in the head. Evidence also suggested that Farley had been sexually assaulted.
Multiple people identified Smith as an acquaintance of Farley’s from the diner she worked at.
Officer reports showed Smith had gone to the police department more than once in the month after Farley’s murder to inquire about the progress with the investigation. Smith operated a hauling service, which might have had him make trips to the landfill where Farley’s body was found, police said.
Smith also worked at a liquor store next to Farley’s apartment.
Smith was interviewed in 1971. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge Smith or other suspects in 1971, and the case grew cold, police said.
Detective Doug Larison began reviewing the case in 2006.
Larison found evidence for a DNA analysis, which resulted in a complete male DNA profile. Larison started to collect DNA swabs from potential suspects, and the suspect profile was uploaded to the FBI DNA database but no matches were found.
A decade later, the CRPD Cold Case Unit followed up on the case in 2017. More DNA testing was done and investigators continued to locate male subjects to collect DNA from.
Investigators were able to eliminate more than 15 subjects by spring of 2021 through DNA comparison. One suspect that had not been eliminated was Smith, whose DNA was not collected because he died.
The Cold Case Unit identified a confirmed relative of Smith and obtained a search warrant to collect DNA from them. CRPD reviewed the DNA comparison results and concluded that the unknown suspect DNA profile matched Smith.
Farley’s mother, Mary Brubaker, 86, of Sioux City was notified by CRPD. Farley’s father, David Brubaker, died in 2002. Farley has four surviving siblings and one deceased sibling.
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