Police Can’t Find Items Sought For DNA Tests In 1980 Killing

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Law enforcement officials say they have lost track of evidence from a 1980 murder case that an Iowa inmate wants to examine for DNA that could prove his innocence or guilt.

The missing evidence comes in the case of William Beeman, who is serving a life sentence in the stabbing death of 22-year-old Michiel Winkel.

Its absence could prevent the public from knowing definitively whether Beeman was the right man in the rape and killing of Winkel — or should be Iowa’s first inmate exonerated by DNA.

Winkel’s nude body was found in April 1980 at Wildcat Den State Park near Muscatine. Beeman was convicted based largely on a confession that he claims was coerced.

His lawyers filed a motion seeking DNA testing on a sexual assault kit that included sperm recovered from Winkel and items of her clothing found at the scene.

But the Division of Criminal Investigation and Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office said last week that they have searched and cannot find the evidence.

A court hearing is set for next week.