Suspicious deaths - Sheriff releases names of deceased Akron individuals

Friday, July 11, 2014
(Sentinel photo by Bennet Goldstein) Law enforcement inspect the site of two deaths in rural Akron. Two individuals were found in a residence Wednesday under suspicious circumstances, according to the Plymouth County Sheriff. Officers from Woodbury County Sheriff, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa State Patrol and local police departments are assisting in the investigation.

Donald John and Esther Grace Neunaber were found dead at their rural Akron residence Wednesday.

Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo released their names today (Friday) in connection with two suspicious deaths.

Sheriff's deputies were called to 17279 180th St. Wednesday, where they found two deceased individuals.

Jonathan Neunaber

Law enforcement has been investigating the scene where the 83-year-old Donald and 80-year-old Esther were found.

Their bodies were removed from the residence at about 6 p.m. Thursday.

They have been transported to the Iowa Medical Examiner's Office, in Ankeny, for an autopsy later today, according to a press release.

(Sentinel photo by Bennet Goldstein) Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo discusses the deaths of two Akron individuals at a Thursday press conference.

Van Otterloo indicated the autopsies may be critical in the investigation.

"Especially on one of the individuals to help us determine the cause and manner of death," he said. "The other individual, we have a little better idea of what happened."

Investigators are continuing to process the scene of the deaths and hope to complete that by late this afternoon, the press release stated.

In a press conference Thursday, Van Otterloo announced that law enforcement were looking for Jonathan Donald Neunaber in connection to the deaths.

A material witness warrant was issued for the 44-year-old Thursday.

Jonathan Neunaber was located by officers in La Crosse, Wis., that evening.

He was stopped on a traffic violation and is being detained on the material witness warrant, a no bond warrant, according to a press release.

The 2006 Buick Neunaber was driving was impounded and will be processed by investigators.

At Thursday's press conference, Van Otterloo explained why Neunaber was being sought.

"We believe that he may have knowledge of what happened, what may have transpired before, after and during the deaths," said Van Otterloo.

The sheriff made clear that his office believed it necessary to find Neunaber, but that he was not the sole focus of the investigation.

"There are a couple of other individuals we are looking at. We're not strictly focusing on Jon," Van Otterloo said.

During Thursday's press conference, the sheriff also explained what was found at Donald and Esther Neunaber's home Wednesday.

"Deputies, when they arrived, they discovered that there were two individuals in the residence who were deceased," he said. "We almost immediately were able to determine that it didn't look to be natural causes, self inflicted or accidental death."

Preliminary investigation indicates the couple's time of death was within the last two weeks, Van Otterloo said.

The sheriff also reported Thursday that the deaths were considered suspicious and may rise to the level of a homicide or felonious incident.

Donald and Esther Neunaber are thought to be the parents of Jonathan Neunaber.

The sheriff said Jonathan Neunaber lives at the same residence as Donald and Esther.

Van Otterloo did not release any information concerning the cause of death, but did say it was violent.

As of press time today, Jonathan Neunaber remained detained in La Crosse.

The sheriff's office and Plymouth County Attorney's Office are working on transporting Neunaber back to the county.

Jonathan Neunaber has not been charged with any crime and is being held as a material witness in this case, Van Otterloo stated.

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