Public Safety

Police tight-lipped about Iowa City homicide investigation

No suspects in custody and no arrests have been made

JoEllen Browning
JoEllen Browning
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IOWA CITY — Police are continuing to collect evidence in the killing of an Iowa City woman whose body was found Friday morning at her east side home.

JoEllen Browning, 65, was found dead at 114 Green Mountain Drive, a home she and her husband own.

Browning was the longtime director of operating budgets for University of Iowa Health Care and planned to retire in February, according to her obituary.

Emergency responders were called to the house Friday around 7 a.m., according to the Iowa City Police Department. Police said the preliminary autopsy report determined the death to be a homicide but declined to disclose the cause of death pending the full report.

Sgt. Derek Frank said investigators have been at the Browning home since Friday morning and are still in the process of collecting and processing evidence. Frank said he expects they will continue working at the house through Tuesday.

The house on Green Mountain Drive is owned by Browning and her husband, Roy Browning Jr., 66, who is owner of Promo Logic LLC, an apparel and promotional products company, according to Iowa Secretary of State’s Office records.

Frank said there are no suspects in custody and no arrests have been made.

“The suspect pool has not been narrowed down in any way that we can speak about it,” he said.

UI Health Care spokesperson Tom Moore said JoEllen Browning was a devoted employee for 42 years.

“(She) was an outstanding senior-level finance leader,” he said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this loss.”

Moore said Browning’s budgeting role included UI Hospitals and Clinics, the Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the College of Medicine.

She played a key role in helping to determine the annual budget for the entire organization, Moore said. Her death leaves a big hole as the beginning of budget season nears, he said. Until the position can be filled, Moore said Browning’s co-workers will step up to fill the void.

“JoEllen had a wonderful team of colleagues who worked with her, and right now the plan is to have all of them pitch in and see us through this interim period as we move forward with the next steps,” he said.

Browning’s death was the city’s first homicide of the year. There were no homicides recorded in 2018 in Iowa City, according to the Iowa City Police Department, while four were reported the year before.

According to Browning’s obituary, she is survived by her husband and two adult children.

The Browning family declined to comment Monday when contacted by The Gazette, instead directing media inquiries to a victim’s advocate. A call to the victim’s advocate Monday went unanswered.

An Iowa City native, Browning graduated from West Branch High School in 1972 and in 1976 earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, according to the obituary.

She was also a “Eucharistic minister at the Newman Center and an avid Hawkeye and Chicago Cubs” fan, according to the obituary. She enjoyed gardening and traveling, especially on Hawkeye cruises and family trips to Wisconsin.

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A burial mass has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Iowa City. Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the church.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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