Unsolved Murders in the Quad Cities Area IA/IL

Illinois Surrounding Areas

Bettendorf, Iowa
Davenport, Iowa
Moline, Illinois
Rock Island, Illinois
Iowa Surrounding Areas
Illinois Surrounding Areas
Solved Murder Cases
Addional Resources
Nicholas "Boogy" Atwater

Mr. Atwater dropped his mother off between 9:00-9:30 in Rock Island after going to a family event at Chuck E Cheese. Mr. Atwater was shot at 2:25 am in the Village Woods apartment complex in Milan. His mother believes he died in route to the hospital. The family noticed the ambulance had pulled over but when it got back on the road the sirens were off. The family continues to meet at the grave site on the anniversary of his death. Ms. Atwater used to stop in at the Milan Police Department every couple of days. Now she stops into the police office every couple of months. A Milan Detective said in the 03/30/2010 article that Milan was taking information to the State's Attorney Jeff Terronez and speaking about charges in the case.

Agency: Milan Police Department
Phone Number: 309.787-8520

Donaldson, Brandy (05/19/2008) "On a bright spring day in R.I., people seek an end to violence" Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin (01/10/2006) "Slaying is Milan's first in 20 years" Quad City Times
Mayeroff, Bill (01/08/2009) "A mother mourns: No suspect yet in 2006 murder case" Dispatch-Argus
Mayeroff, Bill (03/27/2010) "Cold case murders 1935-2009" Dispatch-Argus
Mayeroff, Bill (03/29/2010) "Atwater, Crandall murders are still on cops' minds" Dispatch-Argus
Williams, Det. Scott (09/15/2007) "CrimeStoppers pursuing January murder suspect, van" Dispatch -Argus


Harriet Crandall

 An especially horrific tragedy that has shaken the area and specifically the small town of Milan, Illinois, was the murder of Harriet Crandall, a woman whose spirit remains strong in all who loved her.  She was born in the small town of Beaman, Iowa on April 6th, 1912. She married Harold Crandall in 1933 and had two sons. Not only was Harriet a beloved wife and mother, she was a grandma, great-grandma, even a great great grandma.  She was a woman of great character and strength who lived through The Great Depression. Her friends, neighbors and family described her as: “independent, spunky, bound and determined, and sharp as a tack.” Because her life touched so many, her death has devastated many as well and she will not be forgotten.   

Harriet Crandall’s neighbors saw her sitting outside her home watching the Milan Indian Summer Festival parade on 08/30/2008.  Later that day the home she lived in for 71 years was ablaze.  Police found Mrs. Crandall dead in the first floor bedroom. Police later concluded that the fire was intentionally set, and that Mrs. Crandall had been manually strangled and died before the fire. Members of Harriet’s family say she kept a large sum of money in her home that was missing after the incident.  Crimestoppers has a reward of up to $3,000.00 for information that leads to a felony arrest.  Contact Crimestopper at (309)762-9500.

Agency:  Milan Police Department

Phone: (309) 787-8520


Harris, Nicole “Milan police talk with note-writer in murder case; mum on details,” qconline.com   30 March 2009. 25 March 2010

Lemmon, Dustin, “Milan homicide shocks neighbors” Quad City Times 11 September 2008

Lemmon, Dustin, “Police using banner in hopes of solving Milan woman’s death” 03 November 2008

Lemmon, Dustin “Police conducting more interviews in Crandall death” qctimes.com  5 November2009, 25 March 2010

Mayeroff, Bill “Police seeking help in solving year-old Milan murder”, qconline.com 4 November 2009, 25 March 2010

Mayeroff, Bill “One year after woman killed, burned, her family desperate for answers,”  qconline.com  29 August 2009,  25 March 2010

Mayeroff, Bill “Why was she killed? 96-year-old's sons seek answers,”  qconline.com 11 September  2008, 25 March 2010

“Harriet Crandall” qconline.com 8 September 2008 Obituaries 25 March 2010



Paul L. Donder

Paul L. Donder was born to Paul and Ruth Donder.   He came from a large family having several brothers and sisters.  Paul had been living in Colorado and had only been living in Silvis for two weeks when his life was taken from him.

In the early morning hours of June 20, 1980, Paul was shot and killed by an intruder in his Silvis home.  According to an article in the Quad City Times, law enforcement officials think that Paul was first shot by someone at his back door. He picked up his .45 caliber handgun and went around to the front door to exchange gunfire.  He was shot two more times and died trying to dial the phone.  A neighbor reported that she heard car tires squealing at approximately 5:00 a.m.

Articles indicate that Paul Donder knew that there was a threat on his life and he carried a weapon for personal protection. 

Agency:  Silvis Police Department
Phone number: (309) 792-1841
Case Number:80-2397


Cerny, Carol; Cypret, Randy; Schmidt, Kerry (06/21/1980) “Silvis Man murdered in his home” The Daily Dispatch

Kondos, Gus; (06/21/1980) “Silvis resident slain” Quad-City Times

Edward & Jean Elwess
Edward Elwess served in both WWII and the Korean War. He worked as an artillery repairman for 32.5 years. Jean was a clerk at Agnew Drug.
On the night of Friday, Nov. 1, 2002 or early Saturday morning Nov. 2 the Elwess couple was murdered in their home. Jean was in charge of a weekly drawing at the Keg Tavern in East Moline and a theory in the local paper was that Jean and her husband were followed home and robbed for approximately $600. Weapons were also taken from the couple’s residence. Guns found in the spring a year and half not far from the Elwess’ home were confirmed to have been used in the murder. Crime Stoppers has a reward offered of up to $1000 for information that leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers Tip line is 309-762-9500. The family has also offered an additional reward.
Agency: East Moline Police Department
Phone Number (309) 797-0401
Case Number: 2002-6608
“Edward & Doris “Jean” Elwess” Quad City Times 6 November 2002 Obituaries
“Edward & Doris “Jean” Elwess” Dispatch-Argus 5 November 2002 Obituaries
Geyer, Thomas, (11/03/2002), “Elderly couple dead in home” Quad City Times
Ickes, Barb, (01/13/2005), “EM ups ante in Elwess slayings” Quad City Times
Lemmon, Dustin, (11/4/2002), “Police East Moline couple were shot” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (11/25/2002), “Police seek two guns in E.M. murder case” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (12/13/2002), “Murder victims’ relatives offer reward” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (1/20/2003), “Coroner’s inquest on Elwess murders next month” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (02/05/2003), “Coroner rules Elwesses deaths homicides” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (3/14/2003), “Four months later, still no suspects in E.M. murder” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (7/1/2003), “E.M. Police seek info on murders” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (5/7/2004), “Lab tests on guns found in E.M. to take 2 months” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (01/12/2005) “Task force will investigate E.M. couple’s murder” Dispatch-Argus
Lemmon, Dustin, (01/14/2005) “Police task forces net mixed results in area cases” Dispatch-Argus
Loretz, Carol, (11/1/2002), “E.M. couple found dead” Dispatch-Argus
Staff, (11/21/2002), “Robbery likely motive in East Moline murders” Dispatch-Argus
Welvaert, Todd, (05/03/2004), “E.M. Correctional inmates discover two handguns during cleanup work” Dispatch-Argus
Williams, Scott Detective, (11/19/2004) “Crime Stoppers still seeks info on Elwess murders” Dispatch-Argus
Williams, Scott Detective, (01/21/2005) “Crime Stoppers revisits Elwess double murder” Dispatch-Argus

Jone Knapton

Justice for Jone.  That is what Jone’s friends and family have worked for through vigils, bike runs, appointments with law enforcement, court dates  and raising $40,000.00 in reward money.  Justice has not come for Jone.  

Jone had lifelong friendships with her high school friends and her work in progress keepsake home was always open to them.  Jone and Larry Knapton were married for 20 years and had one daughter.  Jone was a SAP administrator for Kone plus her and her husband owned a jewelry and tanning business in the Chicago area.  Jone had a zeal for living whether it was raising a family, a home improvement project, learning a new gadget or enjoying the sun roof open on her new Mercedes-Benz on a beautiful day.    The Knapton’s  daughter had set off for college and April 18, 2003 divorce proceedings were filed in Rock Island County Circuit Court.  A hearing was scheduled for August 12.  July 4 around 8:30 am Jone had talked with friends and family.  She logged onto her computer to work on a computer project.  Project members outside of the United States became concerned around midnight on July 5 when Jone’s part wasn’t done and she was logged off.  They contacted the police.    July 6, 2003 co-workers of Jone filed a missing persons report with the East Moline Police Department.  July 10, 2003 a torso and other body parts were found in the Green River 2 miles north of Geneseo in Henry County, Illinois.  DNA tests confirmed the remains belonged to Jone.  To this day, the head, hands and feet have not been found.  Forensic evidence indicates her body had been in the Green River since July 5.  Jone’s laptop and cell phone have never been located.  Henry County, East Moline, and the Illinois State Police have all been involved in the case.  None of the agencies named suspects.  In August of 2003, the daughter of Jone and Larry filed a restraining order against her father claiming he was a primary suspect in her mother’s death.  Hartford Insurance Co. in 2006 filed a federal lawsuit naming Larry Knapton and the couple’s daughter as defendants.  It asked the court to decide who should receive the life insurance benefits since Larry M. Knapton remained a suspect in the homicide of the decedent.   Larry Knapton received the benefits because he has never been criminally charged.  Family and friends of Jone’s worked to stymie Larry receiving Jone’s 401(k) until he was cleared as a suspect.   Friends and family were still upset that that Larry had received $10,000 in burial fees that he never used to pay for his wife’s funeral arrangements.    $40,000 has been raised for information that leads to an arrest.  Please contact Crime Stoppers for more information (309) 762-9500.


Agency:  East Moline Police Department

Phone:  (309) 797-0401

Case Number:  03-003746




Ferres, Jody; (08/06/2006) “Q-C slaying victim still remembered by many friends” Quad-City Times

Geyer, Thomas; (7/11/2003) “Body found in river near Geneseo” Quad-City Times

Geyer, Thomas; (07/12/2003) “Autopsy: Body is white female’s” Quad-City Times

Geyer, Thomas; (07/06/2006) “Woman’s friends want peace, justice, closure” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (7/11/2003) “Autopsy today should identify drowning victim” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (8/29/2003) “Friends and family remember Knapton” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (10/02/2003) “Knapton friends look for answers at inquest” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (01/05/2004) “Knapton case hits half-year mark” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (05/19/2004) “Chief begins job with 3 homicides” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (07/02/2004) “Police closing in on killer” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (07/03/2004) “Hunt for Knapton’s killer goes on slaying unsolved, but not forgotten” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (10/16/2004) “Poker run raises Knapton funding” Quad-City Times

Ickes, Barb; (07/06/2005) “2 years later who killed EM woman?”

Ickes, Barb; (08/20/2005) “Slain woman’s husband arrested for child porn” Quad-City Times

Lemmon, Dustin; (05/02/2006) “Insurance carrier sues Knapton survivors” Quad-City Times

Lemmon, Dustin; (10/29/2006) “Larry Knapton child porn trial starts today” Quad-City Times

Lemmon, Dustin; (11/02/2006) “Mistrial declared in Knapton case” Quad-City Times

Lemmon, Dustin; (09/29/2007) “Knapton’s husband to get life insurance proceeds of $100,000” Quad-City Times

Lemmon, Dustin; (7/5/2008) “Jone Knapton’s family losing hope 5 years later” Quad-City Times

Quad-City Times; (09/09/2005) “Poker run to raise reward money” Quad-City Times

Quad-City Times; (7/10/2003) “Police seek help finding missing woman – Briefs” Quad-City Times

Ruger, Todd; (08/23/2003) “Remains are missing East Moline woman” Quad-City Times


We have not forgotten. The cases stay open and our memories remain.