Public Safety

Body of missing Cedar Rapids man found in Cedar River

Justin Robert Johnson disappeared in November

Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson

CEDAR RAPIDS — The body of a Cedar Rapids man missing since early November was found Monday in the Cedar River in southeast Cedar Rapids.

Police investigators determined the body is that of Justin Robert Johnson, 42, who was reported missing Nov. 5 by his ex-wife. Johnson was last seen shortly after midnight Nov. 4 walking near the Hy-Vee at 20 Wilson Ave. SW.

The body, officials said, was dressed in the clothing Johnson was last seen wearing on the night he disappeared.

Johnson’s ex-wife, Emily Johnson, told The Gazette that in the weeks leading up to his disappearance, he had become increasingly paranoid and unstable. He had no history of mental illness, she added. 

Emily Johnson said she last spoke to her ex-husband the night he disappeared. He had called her, she said, saying that he thought he was in danger. He also thought Emily and their daughter were in danger. 

Related coverage

CEDAR RAPIDS - It's been nearly 75 days since Emily Johnson has seen or heard from her ex-husband, Justin Johnson - something she said is out of the ordinary.

Continue Reading

“He sounded really scared,” she told The Gazette in January. 

Police said the circumstances of the death do not appear to be suspicious. However, a death investigation is ongoing, and an autopsy is planned.

Police said a kayaker reported seeing the body at 11:45 a.m. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department recovered the body, which was caught on river debris along the 2100 block of Otis Road SE near Prairie Park Fishery.

A police crime scene unit officer was on hand.


Two boats on the water and a team of six firefighters and officers worked to recover the remains. There also was a recovery team on the bank near the site.

About 1:30 p.m., the body was placed in an ambulance.

Comments: (319) 398-8238;

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.