The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on March 3, 1991 · Page 15
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 15

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 3, 1991
Page 15
Start Free Trial

DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER D March 3, 1991 5B Abuse victims face serious death threat Continued from Page IB talk about the honeymoon cycle in battering." The so-called "honeymoon" theory embraces the idea that men assault their mates when they lose their temper, or have too much to drink or are under unusual stress. The attack is followed by a "honeymoon" period in which the man is remorseful and loving toward the woman until the next incident prompts him to again lose control. Most advocates for battered women and those who counsel the abusers reject this theory now. They believe that domestic violence is a systematic and learned behavior in which the man chooses to control his mate through emotional terrorism, force and the threat of force. , Specific Behavior Schipper said that counselors have identified very specific behavior that is consistent in the histories battered women give them. Invariably, the pattern includes: The constant threat of physical violence or daily verbal abuse. "You can hit your wife one day and not need to use physical violence for three months," said Schipper. "But the threat of it is there, every day, after every argument." A systematic lowering of the woman's self-esteem while increasing her level of fear. "When you're told that you're dumb and stupid and you're fat and you're ugly while you're receiving blows to your face and your stomach, over time you believe that," she said. Calculated plans to isolate the woman from friends and family who might figure out what is going on and who might try to help her. Women who have survived violent marriages said in interviews they were not allowed to have a phone at home, to have friends visit or to have a car. "If you buy that power and control is what is involved here," said Fag-ner, "then a woman leaving is the ultimate threat to his sense of power and control. That's an extremely dangerous time, an extremely dangerous move." Colfax Woman But some women do leave and some take a chance that the criminal justice system will protect them. Tammra Nell, 24, of Colfax did. On Jan. 22, Nell called police to her home and they arrested Gary Alan Wood, 28, of Newton. They charged him with terrorism, a weapons violation and assault. All three charges stem from a Jan. 20 incident in which he allegedly held a loaded handgun to Nell's throat and threatened to kill her. Nell said he later tried to choke her, and when her 7-year-old daughter interfered, he struck the girl. Wood has pleaded innocent. The incident was the last in what Nell describes as an eight-month reign of terror. "For the last eight months, I've been held captive in my own home," she said. "He's had a gun with him or a knife at all times. ... He was constantly loading and unloading that gun. I didn't want hurt and I didn't want my kids hurt." Twice before, Nell had called police, saying Wood was assaulting her. But each time officers arrived, she told them she did not want them to arrest him. "He stood there holding his son and looking at me with those puppy-dog eyes and I told them I didn't want Trust fund created for woman's child The Rtoilttf! lewi N.wi Scrvfet KEOKUK, IA. - A trust fund has been established for a Keokuk child whose mother was slain last week. Melissa Ewart, 19, was stabbed to death in a parking lot across from the Keokuk Police Department, where she had arranged to meet her estranged husband so he could pick up the couple's 20-month-old daughter. The husband, Michael Ewart, 25, later was charged with first-degree murder. The Ewarts were in the process of getting a divorce. Contributions to the Heather Ewart Trust Fund may be sent to: Hubco Credit Union 924 S. Fifth St. Keokuk, la. 52632 Tb. Register V 'ti In the past tlx month, thasa Iowa woman hava baan klllad, allegedly by thalr astrangad husbands or boyfriends. Susan Helm, 26, of Des Moines. In the days before her death, Helm called her lawyer every day to tell him how fearful she was of William Helm Jr., whom she was divorcing. Last Sept. 2, she was found strangled in her Des Moines home. William Helm has been charged in her death. Thea Duffek, 17, of Dec Moines. Duffek was so fearful of her boyfriend, Michael Blackwell, that she and her mother repeatedly contacted police and prosecutors. On Jan. 29, as police surrounded their house, Duffek and her mother were bludgeoned. Blackwell has been charged in the slayings. 551 Melissa Ewart, 19, of Keokuk. A judge ordered Michael Ewart to have no contact with his wife, except when picking up their child for visits. Melissa Ewart was so afraid that last week she arranged for the exchange to occur across from the police station. Her husband was charged with stabbing her there. r them to take him in," she said. "Sweetest Little Boy" "He's got the sweetest little boy. I love that little boy like he was my own. The things that I put up with is because of my love for him," Nell said of Wood's son. Nell said she started dating Wood about a year and a half ago. At first, their relationship was not violent, although from the beginning she said he used the threat of violence. "He would say, 'If you don't do this, I'm gonna hurt you.' I knew what it meant," she said. Wood began using violence when "I started standing up to his mental abuse, when I started pushing him away, telling him to leave," she said. When Nell finally called police, she said, she believed she would be safe. But on Jan. 30, the day the deaths of Duffek and her mother, Cynthia Neighbors, were detailed on the front page of The Des Moines Register, Nell learned that Wood was being released from jail on his own promise to appear for future court proceedings. Nell was terrified. "He had told me that if I contacted social services or the police, I would not live through the next day," she said shortly after his release. "That's why I'm so damned scared right now." Court Order Wood's release was based on several very restrictive conditions, including a court order that he have no contact with Nell. On Feb. 11, he was returned to jail for violating the conditions of his release. Nell testified that she had been receiving frightening telephone calls, and the judge decided that Wood made at least two of them. Jasper County Attorney James Wilson, the prosecutor in the case, said the no-contact order was effective. But in general, he said, such an order is not enough. "They're pieces of paper," he said. "And a piece of paper in the victim's hand, waved in front of a hard-charging defendant, is not going to stop them." Wilson said he believes shelters for battered women are their best protection. But he added, "It's been my experience that a lot of them do not use the shelter." Schipper said it is not that simple, especially since the nearest shelter can be several counties away. There is not a shelter in Jasper County. "People always say to the woman, 'Why don't you just leave?' " said Schipper, adding that battered women can read the subtext of that question: What kind of a woman would stay with a man who beats her? "We ask these women to steal away in the middle of the night, to leave everything they own except maybe a bag filled with formula and diapers for their children, to meet a stranger somewhere who will take them to a shelter filled with people they don't know," she said. "When they leave, most women are automatically below the poverty line. It takes weeks to get them ADC (Aid to Dependent Children), and even after that they often can't get (subsidized) housing. Plus they've been told by their spouse that they will lose custody of their children. "Why don't they just leave? I ask myself over and over how women ever leave." 62 of Iowans favor testing for drugs Most Iowans believe drugs are a serious problem in the workplace and favor their company adopting or maintaining a drug-testing policy, a survey found. A survey of 500 registered Iowa voters by American Viewpoint, a national survey research firm, found: 62 percent surveyed favor their company adopting or maintaining a drug-testing policy. 50 percent think companies should have the right to randomly test any employee for drug use. 64 percent believe companies should have the right to test job applicants for drug use and companies have the right to deny employment to applicants who test positive. The survey, conducted Jan. 22-23, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. The survey was paid for by Lennox International Inc. Linda DiVall, president of American Viewpoint, is a former Republican Party pollster. In grief, mother pursues quest for her child 3 Continued from Page IB to haul in dozens of witnesses and pieces of evidence including the girl's clothing, which was found in a wildlife preserve near the city. No body has been found. The trial is a triumph for Joyce Cutshall and also for Roy Stephens, director of operations for the Missing Youth Foundation in Omaha, who conducted a one-man investigation. "He was obsessed," says Cutshall. Other investigators had insisted there was not enough evidence to bring a charge against Phelps or anyone else. One FBI agent shocked Cut-shall by suggesting that Jill had "hopped a train" and run away. Un-fazed by the pessimism, she persisted. In one of her many encounters, she stood at the police station demanding to identify the clothing found at the wildlife preserve. Police were going to send the items away for lab tests. "My feet are not leaving this building," she said angrily. Police let her examine one of the garments. Determined there was enough evidence to pursue the case, she thumbed through law books to learn what she could do. After selecting rarely used statutes that allow citizens to summon grand juries when authorities refuse, Cutshall passed petitions with the help of others. The documents forced officials to convene a grand jury, which then handed up an indictment accusing Phelps. Her persistence, the daily matching of wits with police and the FBI, won the admiration of many. "I don't know what it is, but a mother knows something that a father can't feel," says Stephens. "Maybe it's that nine months a child spends in the womb. When you snatch a child from a mother, well, you know that saying 'Hell has no muss1 v Vv ' - '.''1 mat. w a' ...-. David Phelps Arrested in Perry, la. fury like a woman scorned.' There's just something that's special there." Phelps was living in a second-floor apartment at the McNeeley apartment house when Jill moved into the basement apartment to spend the summer with her divorced father and his wife. Jill had been living with her mother in Great Bend, Kan. Phelps was born Darrell Dale Sloan Jr. in 1964 in Perry to Darrell Dale Sloan and Jackie West. He and a sister were adopted as babies by George Phelps, a stockbroker, and Connie Phelps who lived in Pacific Junction. They moved to Wayne, Neb., where David Phelps, who had taken his adoptive parents' name, spent most of his childhood. On Aug. 13, 1987, Jill walked the few blocks to the baby sitter's home before she was expected, and sat on the steps outside. At least three witnesses said they saw her. That evening she was reported missing. Three months later, Jill's clothes were found by a hunter at the Wood Duck preserve, a 650-acre wooded and marshy park near Norfolk. Has Moved Cutshall, who has moved from Kansas to Norfolk, says Phelps knew her daughter and had baby-sat the girl in her father's apartment. With Stephen's help, she began to assemble a case against Phelps, who kept odd jobs and who shared the apartment with Kermit Baumgart-ner, 65, who also had several jobs. As the investigation proceeded slowly, Stephens' presence unnerved police, Cutshall says. "They spent more time following him around than they did trying to find where Jill was," she says. "I don't think they wanted to spend more money or more time with the investigation. They wanted people to forget." On Jan. 4, 1989, convinced the investigation had stalled, Stephens took Phelps to the wildlife preserve to discuss the girl's disappearance. It was a memorable encounter. For two hours, Phelps walked the grounds and chatted with Stephens but offered no information about the kidnapping. Finally, in a moment of frustration, says Stephens, he took a handgun from his partner who was also there, pointed the weapon in the air and squeezed off one round. Shots of Frustration "It was pure frustration on my part," Stephens says. "We were out there knowing that Jill had been there and what happened to her. She never received a proper burial. It made you th'nk that her soul's stuck somewhere and she's still suffering the pain. All the emotions started coming out so I simply acted." Phelps was stunned. Stephens says Phelps then took him to a nearby cemetery where he began digging. "He stopped and said that, 'It's time I stop all the game playing. I can't handle it anymore. I need to get it off my chest.' " Stephens produced a tape recorder and Phelps, he says, told him he was in a vehicle with Jill and Kermit Baumgartner, his roommate. Phelps said he restrained her in the car. They went to the wildlife preserve, got out of the car, and he held Jill while Baumgartner removed her clothes. Phelps said he then got back in the car and left while Baumgartner stayed with Jill. Stephens took Phelps to a Norfolk motel room where Stephens had summoned ar Omaha television crew that taped Phelps' statement, parts of which were later broadcast. Phelps left Norfolk after the interview, married his girlfriend and moved to Perry. On June 21, 1990, shortly after the indictment, he was arrested at the Escadrille Motor Inn where he had been living since November. He has been in jail at Madison, Neb., since his arrest. Baumgartner, who now lives in Lodi, Calif., told Stephens that Phelps' story was a fabrication. He contends he was not there. Sitting in her living room near the large framed pictures of her children, Joyce Cutshall says she has gotten support from many. Cutshall says she has not given up looking for her daughter. "Everything I've done from day one is to find out what happened to her. I have never found out what actually happened. No one has sat me down and said this is how it went I feel wherever she's at and whatever state she is in, I want to bring her home. "It's still very hard. You work toward a goal that you know when you're there it is going to be the most painful experience in your life." ""1 N o SAVE UP TO $75. I I I I I I fare paid discount $400roundtripormore $75off $200-$399 ROUNDTRIP $50 OFF General Rules: This coupon applies for (ravel originating in Des Moines. Cedar Rapids, Sioux Cily. Port Dodge, Mason City. Waterloo, and Omaha to online Northwest cities within the SO Dinted States. Iravel via fights 2000-2499 4000-4999 is not permitted and flights 3700-3899 may only be used when connecting to Northwest flights I-1W Reservations must lie made and tickets purchased per the rule of the (are used, however a Satunlay night stay is required. All other rules and restrictions of the published fare used will apply All tickets must be purchased by April 4, 1991 All travel must occur between .April 1 and June 7, 1991 or per the rule of fare used, whichever occurs first Only one coupon per passenger. Void if reproduced or altered. Coupon has zero cash value and is not valid with a previously purchased ticket. Coupon is not valid with MCOs, ITAs, telelickets, or any other certificate, coupon, discount, bonus or promotional offertickets. Not valid with K or V-type fares to Hawaii (except when originating In LAX). Some other fare types are excluded Contact Northwest for further details Travel Agents: See the NWA Promotions Section in your DRS. Northwest Agents: See GPKUTC'PDOU sum. mtmmvmtm) j II M II II ii II FARE PAID DISCOUNT $400 ROUNDTRIP OR MORE $75oFF $200-$399 ROUNDTRIP $50oFF General Rules: This coupon applies for travel originating in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux Cily, Kirl Dodge, Mason City, Waterloo, and Omaha to online Northwest cities within the SO United States' Travel via flights 2000-2499 400II-4999 is not permitted and flights J700-.W9 may onlv be used when connecting to Northwest flights l-W). Reservations must be made and tickets purchased per the rule of the fare used, however a Saturday night slay is required. All oilier rules and restrictions of the published fare used will apply All tickets must be purchased by April 4, 1991. All travel must occur between April 1 and June 7, 1991 or per the rule of fare used, whichever occurs first Only one coupon per passenger. Void if reproduced or altered. Coupon has zero cash value and is not valid with a previously purchased ticket. Coupon is not valid with MCOs. PTAs, telelickets, or any other certificate, coupon, discount, bonus or promotional offer; tickets. Not valid with K or V-type fares to Hawaii (except when originating in IAX). Some oilier fare types are excluded Contact Northwest for further details. Travel Agents: See the MSA Promotions Section in your DRS. Northwest Agents: See GPKOW M PDOS2. I I I I I WHEN YOU FLY NORTHWEST, HOW MUCH YOU SAVE IS UP TO YOU. ,n Northwest Airlines, the more O J you clip, the more you save. Thats because you get $50 or $75 off every qualifying flight, depending on the price of the ticket. Each coupon is good toward one roundtrip ticket for business or leisure travel. The discount varies depending on where you fly, but no matter where you choose, you get great savings. Coupons are good only on tickets purchased by April 4 for travel between April 1 and June 7, 1991 in the 50 United States. Travel Agents: For more information and ticketing instructions, please see the promotions page of your DRS. CALL YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR NORTHWEST AT 1-800-225-2525. C 1991 Norfhweil AirlinM, Inc. ' -

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 19,000+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Des Moines Register
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free