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Cedar Rapids Police Investigators Close 1971 Homicide Cold Case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley

Cedar Rapids Police Investigators Close 1971 Homicide Cold Case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley

October 5, 2021

The Cedar Rapids Police Department Cold Case Unit has successfully identified and confirmed suspect George M. Smith in the homicide cold case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley. The body of 17-year old Maureen Brubaker-Farley (DOB 07/04/1954) was found September 24, 1971, in a wooded ravine off Ely Rd SW.

Through years of investigation and with the use of DNA technology, investigators determined that the unknown suspect DNA profile developed in this case was that of George M. Smith. As a result of the investigation, the Homicide Cold Case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley will be closed, with no prosecution, as George M. Smith is deceased.

Chief of Police Wayne Jerman states, “No matter how much time has passed, our officers are committed to seeking out justice for all victims of violent crime as well as their families.  I am extremely proud of the generations of Cedar Rapids Officers that contributed to bringing this once cold case to a resolution.  I would also like to specifically recognize the contributions of our current Cedar Rapids Police Departments Cold Case Unit.  Those individuals are Investigator Matt Denlinger, retired DCI Special Agent JD Smith and retired CRPD Police Lieutenant Ken Washburn.” 

Case Synopsis

17-year old Maureen Brubaker-Farley (DOB 07/04/1954) moved to Cedar Rapids in the summer of 1971. She moved into an efficiency apartment at 522 10th St SE and began working at a local diner located at 836 First Ave NE. Farley was last seen alive on the morning of September 17, 1971. When Farley hadn’t arrived to work on September 20, her employer reported her as missing. Farley’s apartment was searched and found relatively undisturbed with her vehicle parked in the lot behind the building. At this point there was no evidence to suggest what happened to Farley.

On September 24, 1971, two teenage boys spotted Farley’s body lying on the trunk of an abandoned junk car in the wooded ravine just off Ely Rd SW near the landfill. That landfill site is now Tate Cummins Park.  Farley was partially clothed with no shoes and clean feet. The evidence shows that Farley was carried and placed at this location after she died. An autopsy was conducted and it was determined that Farley had been hit in the head causing a skull fracture which caused her death. The evidence also suggested that Farley had been sexually assaulted.

A variety of evidence was collected during a thorough investigation and numerous subjects were interviewed. These interviews included suspects, potential witnesses, friends and family. Detectives had identified a variety of potential suspects but were unable to find enough evidence to charge anyone. Without definitive evidence, this case grew cold.

In 2006, Detective Doug Larison began reviewing this case. Detective Larison found numerous items of evidence that were appropriate for DNA analysis.  One item included a swab collected from Farley’s body as part of the sexual assault examination. That item was processed and a complete male DNA profile was developed. Detective Larison began collecting DNA swabs from potential suspects to have those compared to the suspect profile. The suspect profile was also uploaded to the FBI DNA databased known as CODIS. No matches were found through traditional comparison or CODIS.

In 2017, the CRPD Cold Case Unit began reviewing this case for additional follow up. Additional DNA testing was conducted on the remaining evidence but no new DNA profiles were located. Investigators continued to locate male subjects listed in the case file and collect DNA from those subjects. By the spring of 2021, Investigators had eliminated more than 15 subjects through DNA comparison.

One suspect listed in the case that had not been eliminated was George Smith (Born in 1919). Although Smith was mentioned as a potential suspect, his DNA was not collected because he died in 2013, at the age of 94. Smith had been identified by multiple people as an acquaintance of Maureen Farley’s from the diner that she worked at. According to officer’s reports, in the month after Farley’s murder, Smith had gone to the Police Department on more than one occasion, suspiciously inquiring about the progress with the investigation. Smith was also known to operate a hauling service which may have had him making trips to the landfill located near Ely Rd SW where Farley’s body was found. Smith was also reported to have worked at the Party Lane liquor store, located at 1000 5th Ave SE, right next to Farley’s apartment. Smith was interviewed extensively in 1971 but he was not charged. Smith was offered and declined a polygraph at that time.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department Cold Case Unit was determined to identify whether or not George Smith could be identified as the suspect in this case or if he could be eliminated completely.  A confirmed relative of Smith was identified and a search warrant was written to collect DNA from that relative. The unknown male DNA profile developed from the crime scene and the buccal swabs collected from Smith’s relative were sent to DNA Labs International, in Deerfield Beach, Florida, for advanced analysis and comparison. On 09/24/2021, exactly 50 years after Maureen Brubaker-Farley was located, the Cedar Rapids Police Department reviewed the results of that comparison. It was determined that the unknown suspect DNA profile developed in this case was that of George M. Smith.  As a result of the investigation, the Homicide Cold Case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley will be closed, with no prosecution, as George M. Smith is deceased.


Maureen’s mother Mary Brubaker (age 86) of Sioux City Iowa, was notified that the person responsible for her daughter’s death was finally identified. Maureen’s father David Brubaker passed away in 2002. Maureen has four surviving siblings and one deceased sibling.

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