Body found in Crawford County believed to be Pennsylvania man


June 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

There is still no confirmation from authorities, but it is believed that a body found Tuesday afternoon in west central Iowa’s Crawford County is that of 44-year old Jonathan Elwell. The Shillington, Pennsylvania man went missing on April 17 and his rented car was found abandoned in rural Westside, Iowa three days later. The body, which was badly decomposed, was found by railroad workers about a mile from where the car was located. Crawford County Sheriff Jim Steinkuehler says his office is working with Elwell’s family to obtain his dental records. The records would allow the state medical examiner’s office to confirm if the body is that of Elwell. Steinkuehler says the Elwell family was uncertain if they’d be able to locate his records because they didn’t know his dentist. If the records can’t be found, it could take weeks for the family to learn more. “They’ll do DNA testing…that could take up to four to six weeks,” Steinkuehler said. The medical examiner’s office is also working to determine the cause of death. Elwell’s family said it was “out of character” for him to disappear without telling anyone. Elwell’s brother is a magistrate judge in Pennsylvania.

The Elwell family says they’ve been informed by the Crawford County Sheriff that they are “99% sure” the remains are Jonathan’s, which is why he allowed the family to release the final statement KJAN and other media. The family of Jonathan Elwell said “although we still – and probably always will – have unanswered questions about how he came to this place and this end, we are grateful that we will be able to bring him home to rest.”  They went on to thank members of law enforcement, U-S Representative Charles W. Dent and Iowa Congressman Steve King, along with the many volunteers, who assisted in the search efforts. The family closed by saying “Although this is not the outcome we had hoped for, it is, at any rate, an ending, and we will strive for a new beginning.”

(Radio Iowa/Elwell family statement)