Iowa man charged in the 2004 death of Keokuk woman

A Manchester, Iowa man has been arrested in connection to the June 2004 death of a 73 year old Keokuk woman.

Investigators say 33 year old Nathanial Leo Ridnour is charged in Lee County District Court with one count of first-degree murder, punishable by a life in prison without parole.

In April 2017, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation's Major Crime Unit and the Keokuk Police Department reopened the previously cold case investigation into Callahan’s death.

According to an arrest affidavit:

At 9:10 a.m. June 15, 2004, officers were dispatched to Callahan’s apartment in the 100 block of South Second Street after her family reported her missing. Around 3:45 p.m., officers were called to the Mississippi riverfront after a fisherman discovered her body in the river.

An autopsy revealed signs of blunt force trauma to Callahan. She had recently undergone knee surgery and was not able to walk without the assistance of her walker, which was found at her apartment.

Ridnour, who was 17 at the time, was developed as a suspect during the investigation. At the time, he was pursuing a relationship with Callahan’s granddaughter, which she did not agree with. Ridnour originally said he was out and about walking around the area the night Callahan was reported missing. He did not have an alibi.

He later said he was on his father’s couch and never left the apartment. He told one witness he was a suspect in Callahan’s death before he had been approached by law enforcement. After speaking to law enforcement, he said he needed to get out of town because they were looking at him for the homicide. He left town a few days later and did not return.

Ridnour told another witness and law enforcement that he had gone to Callahan's apartment to discuss a disagreement he had with her. When confronted by investigators, he did not deny killing her but said he could “just not remember killing her.”

He also said he knew for a fact he went down to her apartment to “make things right” the night before her death. He also expressed fear to a witness that his fingerprints could potentially be at Callahan’s apartment, according to the affidavit.

Court records show an arrest warrant was issued for Ridnour April 30th. His arrest is the eighth related to the DCI Major Crime Unit conducting cold case homicide investigations over the last three years in southeast Iowa.

On Wednesday, bond was set at $1 million for Ridnour. He has a preliminary hearing May 15th.

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