Did Jerry Nemke Kill Thomas Freeman? How Did Jerry Nemke Die?

On the Investigation Discovery present “On the Case with Paula Zahn: Room 106,” Lee Rotatori was killed in June 1982 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Regardless that it took investigators 40 years to determine who killed the meals service supervisor, they might not catch the individual they thought did it, Thomas Freeman, as a result of he was killed himself in October 1982, just a few months after Lee’s demise. In each instances, Jerry Nemke, her husband, was named as a suspect. If you happen to like homicide mysteries which are arduous to determine, this case is for you. Then, we could get began?

Jerry Nemke
Jerry Nemke

Did Thomas Freeman die due to Jerry Nemke?

Lee Gunsalus Rotatori began working for Service-Grasp Inc. in 1980, after getting her Bachelor’s diploma in Dietary Companies and her Grasp’s diploma in Meals Vitamin from the College of Wisconsin. The Chicago firm employed meals service managers to work in hospitals. In June 1982, she went to work at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. Throughout her first week at her new job, she went to Council Bluffs and checked into the Finest Western Frontier Motor Lodge.

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Council Bluffs Police Division owns the picture

When Lee didn’t present up for her first official day of labor on June 25, 1982, her bosses known as the motel to see if she was okay. When the motel workers knocked on her door, Lee’s physique was mendacity face down on the precise facet of her mattress in a pool of blood. She was carrying her pajamas. The police didn’t discover any indicators of a battle or a break-in, and the post-mortem report mentioned she died from a single stab wound to the center.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Utilizing DNA and genetic family tree, Iowa police have solved a 40-year-old homicide case, however there’s nonetheless one query: who killed Lee Rotatori’s alleged killer?

Rotatori, who was 32 on the time, had simply moved to Council Bluffs that summer season. The person from Michigan had come just a few days earlier than to begin his new job as director of meals companies at Jennie Edmundson Hospital.

On the morning of June 25, 1982, her physique was present in her lodge room. She had been stabbed as soon as within the coronary heart, in accordance with the Council Bluffs police.

The case went chilly till February 2021, when DNA discovered on Rotatori’s physique was linked to Thomas O. Freeman by means of genetic family tree.

However West Frankfort, Illinois’s Freeman couldn’t be arrested. In October 1982, Freeman, who was 35 on the time, was discovered buried in a shallow grave close to Cobden, Illinois. This was solely 4 months after police say he killed Rotatori.

Captain Todd Weddum of the Council Bluffs Police Division informed the Council Bluffs Day by day Nonpareil, “We all know who killed Lee.” “Proper now, we’re attempting to determine if Freeman’s demise has something to do with Lee’s homicide.”

Lee Gunsalus Rotatori was the oldest of 4 kids. Her household says that she was a pleasant, artistic girl who cherished horses and had many mates. Early on within the homicide case, detectives discovered that about her.

In 1982, Michigan State Police Det. Richard Griffin informed the Omaha World-Herald, “I haven’t talked to anybody who didn’t like her.”

Rotatori, who had a grasp’s diploma from the College of Wisconsin, left her husband, Gerald “Jerry” Nemke, and her 11-year-old son from her first marriage when she moved to Council Bluffs for her new job. The Day by day Nonpareil mentioned that each of them have been going to maneuver their cell dwelling to Rotatori and be a part of the group quickly.

Rotatori was going to job coaching through the day and staying on the Finest Western Frontier Motor Lodge, which is now known as the Finest Western Crossroads of the Bluffs, at night time.

The World-Herald says that Rotatori spent the final afternoon of her life in a ship on Lake Manawa with a few of her new coworkers and their households. At nightfall, they went their separate methods. On the way in which again to Room 106 of the Finest Western, Rotatori stopped at a McDonald’s to get dinner.

The following morning, Rotatori didn’t present up for her first day of labor after orientation. When her boss requested the lodge workers to verify on her, they discovered a horrible scene.

The World-Herald mentioned that Rotatori was discovered on the mattress along with his face down and his pajamas soaked with blood.

Police in Council Bluffs mentioned in a information launch on Friday, “Rotatori died from a single stab wound, and there have been indicators of a sexual assault.” “In the course of the first investigation, no suspects have been discovered.”

On the time, information stories mentioned that there have been no indicators of a pressured entry, however that Rotatori had solely purchased sufficient meals for one individual at McDonald’s. It was not clear if the nutritionist had been robbed, however his pockets, watch, and ring have been lacking.

As they do with each homicide case, detectives began by Rotatori’s husband. Resulting from Jerry Nemke’s troubled previous, they may have checked out him just a little extra intently than they’d have at different folks.

Jerry Nemke Kill Thomas Freeman
Jerry Nemke Kill Thomas Freeman

Nemke was accused of beating a 16-year-old waitress named Marilyn Duncan very badly after which leaving her bleeding and unconscious behind a manufacturing unit in Chicago when he was 17 years outdated. The following day, on Could 1, 1960, Duncan died.

Nemke was on the run from a youth camp when he was mentioned to have met Duncan. He went on a date along with her the night time she was attacked.

Duncan was killed, and the teenager was tried, discovered responsible, and sentenced to demise. However lower than two years later, the Illinois Supreme Courtroom threw out the conviction as a result of the preliminary listening to within the case wasn’t carried out proper.

Based on courtroom data, Nemke was discovered responsible a second time and given a 75-year jail sentence. On Monday, it wasn’t clear instantly how lengthy he had been in jail earlier than he was set free.

In 1978, Nemke and Rotatori acquired married for the primary time. The following yr, they break up up, however in December 1981, lower than a yr earlier than she died, they acquired again collectively.

In 1982, Nemke had been on demise row for a very long time. The Day by day Nonpareil mentioned that detectives trying into the homicide of his spouse discovered that he had a very good alibi and moved on.

One factor that made the investigation tougher was the place the lodge was. The lodge was near the interchange the place Interstates 29 and 80 meet. This meant that Rotatori’s killer might have been lengthy gone by the point his physique was discovered.

Regardless that the hospital and different companies within the space did a radical investigation and provided rewards, the case went chilly.

Police officers mentioned that bodily proof from the scene was despatched to the Iowa Division of Prison Investigation’s crime lab in 2001. There, technicians have been capable of finding a male DNA profile. When the knowledge was put into state and federal databases of DNA, there was no match.

In 2019, police in Council Bluffs went to Parabon Nanolabs for assist. Since 2018, the Virginia-based firm has been working arduous to assist regulation enforcement businesses catch criminals through the use of genetic family tree.

With its Snapshot DNA phenotyping, Parabon was in a position to determine that Rotatori’s killer was a white man with roots in northern Europe.

The lead detective, Steve Andrews, informed the Day by day Nonpareil, “So it seems to be like a fairly large pool.”

The killer’s genetic profile was then put into family tree web sites like 23andMe. There, they have been in a position to match the unknown man to kinfolk who have been between his sixth and eighth cousins.

“They mentioned that in the event you do this, there’s nearly no probability of discovering your individual,” Andrews mentioned.

Andrews mentioned that detectives began enjoying a recreation of “wait and see” as a result of they hoped that including extra DNA kits to the family tree databases would possibly in the future cause them to the killer.

This month, 20-year-old Schubert made headlines everywhere in the nation when he helped police discover out who raped and killed a 9-year-old lady 57 years in the past. Marise Ann Chiverella was killed on her solution to church earlier than college in March 1964.

Together with his assist, the police discovered that James Paul Forte killed the lady. In Could 1980, Forte, who was 39, died.

In March 2020, Schubert known as the police in Council Bluffs and requested in the event that they wanted assist with any chilly instances. By that point, the younger one that knew so much about family tree had already helped in different instances.

Andrews informed the Day by day Nonpareil, “He was in a position to get to the great-grandparent of our topic in a short time.” “From there, the household tree grew many branches, every with the identify of a unique individual. I’d discover these folks, discuss to their households, and ask them for assist with the case.”

Andrews mentioned, “They’d ship Eric a equipment, after which Eric would get to work.” “The child is loopy sensible in terms of household bushes.”

Thanks for calling me at this time, @GovMurphy! Wow, what an incredible shock! I’m glad you’re involved in my work on my household tree in NJ. pic.twitter.com/LGxkTVuzZI

The newspaper mentioned that as Schubert helped detectives slim down the record of potential suspects, he discovered that the killer had not been raised by his organic father. The household tree confirmed which household Rotatori’s killer was from, nevertheless it couldn’t say for certain the place he stood within the household.

The ready recreation with Parabon paid off at that time

The Day by day Nonpareil mentioned that an unknown man who had not been questioned by police despatched in a DNA equipment that was later flagged by Parabon. The outline of that man helped Parabon and Schubert slim down the record of potential suspects to 2 brothers.

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One would have been too younger in 1982 to have killed Rotatori

Detectives in a chilly case discovered Freeman’s daughter, who gave them a pattern of her DNA. It confirmed that Freeman was there when Rotatori was killed as a result of his DNA was discovered on her physique.

Of their information launch, police mentioned, “Additional investigation confirmed that Thomas Freeman was additionally the sufferer of a homicide.”

Authorities mentioned that Freeman had been lifeless for about three months when his bullet-riddled physique was present in a shallow grave on October 30, 1982. Primarily based on the time line, he was killed only a few weeks after Rotatori.

The police assume that Freeman, who labored as a trucker, killed Rotatori whereas he was within the space on a haul.

Additionally they assume that his demise is likely to be linked to Rotatori’s

Weddum informed the Day by day Nonpareil, “He was shot 4 occasions and dumped in a wooded space close to the place he lived.” “I’m not a giant believer in coincidences, so we known as the Illinois State Police and talked to the sergeant in command of the investigation into Freeman’s chilly case.”

Detectives from Council Bluffs and troopers from Illinois have been working collectively to search out out who killed Freeman. As of Friday, there was no proof that the truck driver knew the younger spouse and mom he was accused of raping and stabbing.

However Freeman and Rotatori’s husband may need one thing in widespread.

Weddum and Andrews say that after Nemke acquired out of jail, he went to varsity. Carbondale, Illinois, was the place he went to varsity.

In 1982, Freeman’s physique components have been discovered about 15 miles from the varsity.

It’s not clear how Nemke and Freeman might have been linked, both earlier than or after Rotatori was killed. Andrews did inform the newspaper that he’s being checked out as an individual of curiosity.

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