The brutal death of Linda Mayfield is one of Council Bluffs’ coldest cold cases.
The unsolved stabbing death of a woman police believe was a prostitute on April 9, 1982, at the old Starlite Motel – now Deluxe Motel – at 3320 W. Broadway, remains unsolved.
At 2:18 a.m., officers with the Council Bluffs Police Department were called to the motel regarding a disturbance involving a man with knife, according to the police report. When officers arrived, Mayfield, 21, was found laying face down by the north office door.
The responding officer said she had several stab wounds to her face, chest, stomach, hand and foot. Mayfield was pronounced dead at 4 a.m. at Mercy Hospital.
Police officers interviewed witnesses and released information on a possible suspect in the fatal stabbing of Mayfield.
A friend of Mayfield’s described to police a white man she believed to have committed the stabbing as around 26 to 28 years old and standing between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10. The man was clean shaven and wearing a blue jean jacket, light blue pullover shirt with an emblem and blue jeans.
Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers said that after talking with other witnesses at the time, the alleged attacker could have been as old as 38 and possibly drove an early 80s red Ford Mustang. Several witnesses said the man went by Chris.
“We suspect that Linda probably was a prostitute, and Chris probably solicited her services that night,” Meyers said.
While the police department has lots of information on the alleged attacker, the case remains unsolved – and, in a lot of ways, forgotten.
“In the six years that I have worked as a supervisor in the detective bureau, we haven’t gotten one tip on the Linda Mayfield homicide,” Meyers said. “I don’t know when was the last time we have gotten one on that case.”
The police department still has DNA evidence from the case periodically tested.
“As technology advances, we need less and less of a sample for us to develop a DNA profile,” Meyers said. “Time is our enemy. This happened in 1982, so this took place 30 years ago. If the suspect was in his late 30s at that time, now you’re looking and someone who is well into his 70s. That’s true with witnesses, too.
“That’s what makes it hard when you look at cases from the 70s and 80s.”
Law enforcement officials can use a DNA index system called CODIS to find DNA matches. Whenever a offender is arrested and taken to a detention facility, he or she is tested to see if he or she is connected to an unsolved crime. Meyers said this program could help find Mayfield’s killer.
“We still want to find who did this,” he said. “Anybody who has any information on this case or any other unsolved homicide, we definitely want to talk this them.”
A murder case has no statute of limitations, so a suspect arrested in connection to Mayfield’s murder could still be tried.
While more than 30 years have passed, cold cases do get solved, Meyers said, pointing to the recent convictions of James Derrick Dove and James Cain Harris.
In 2002, 11 years after the rape and murder Marcia Crouse, a deaf woman from Council Bluffs, Dove was sentenced to 100 years in prison. In 2014, 11 years after Nelson Alvarez-Hernandez was stabbed to death on Council Bluffs’ south end, Harris was sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing.
Anyone with information regarding this or any unsolved murder in Council Bluffs is urged to contact the Council Bluffs Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at (712) 328-4765 or Crime Stoppers at (712) 328-7867.