Forensic team specializing in human remains wraps up search in Ely

No details released on missing Marion man

Investigators work the scene of a possible found body (beneath blue and white tents) on Nederhiser Road near the interse
Investigators work the scene of a possible found body (beneath blue and white tents) on Nederhiser Road near the intersection with Ivanhoe Road in Ely south of Palisades-Kepler State Park on Thursday, May 7, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The forensics team working in rural Ely last week that may be connected to the unsolved homicide of a 51-year-old Marion man wrapped up its search Saturday.

Marion Police Chief Harry Daugherty said Thursday the team from the University of Indianapolis finished its work requested by law enforcement, but he couldn’t say if anything was found at this time. Daugherty said he may have more information next week.

The team, which specializes in identifying human remains, was working outside a home at 397 Nederhiser Road.

The Gazette and KCRG-TV9 reported last week that the search appears to be connected to the disappearance of James Booher, who last seen on May 31, 2014, in Cedar Rapids, based on federal court documents.

Booher’s disappearance is being treated as a homicide, but there are no charges at this time.

Daugherty said last week Marion is helping with a federal drug-related homicide investigation but no details have been provided.

According to court documents, Matthew B. Robbins, 42, was a former resident of the farmhouse where the search is being conducted. Prosecutors said Robbins burned down the house and documents indicate Robbins could be one of the last people to see Booher alive. It also links him to a robbery involving Booher around the time he was last seen.


Robbins is charged with federal firearms charges and remains in the Linn County Jail awaiting a second trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury last month.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.