3 charged after body of missing Iowa woman found in river

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MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa (KWQC) – Officers have arrested three suspects in connection with the disappearance of an Iowa woman whose body was discovered in the South Skunk River in Mahaska County.

(Missing Persons Cases Network)

Ashley Shafer, 24, of Oskaloosa, Iowa, was reported as missing to the Oskaloosa Police Department on August 5, and investigators found her body the following day.

Investigators on Tuesday arrested Cody Vancenbrock, 27, along with Nicholas Kelly, 28, and his wife, Holly Kelly, 34, all of whom are from Oskaloosa.

An Iowa Dept. of Public Safety (IDPS) media release states while at the Kelly’s Oskaloosa apartment on August 5, Vancenbrock injected Shafer with methamphetamine, causing her to overdose and later die.

Vancenbrock and Nicholas Kelly then drove to rural Mahaska County where they weighted down Shafer’s body in the South Skunk River in order to conceal her overdose death, according to the IDPS.

Vancenbrock is charged with involuntary manslaughter and abuse of a corpse, Nicholas Kelly is charged with abuse of a corpse and sponsoring a drug house, and Holly Kelly is charged with aiding and abetting - abuse of a corpse.


Cody Vancenbrock, 27, Holly Kelly, 34, and Nicholas Kelly, 28, were arrested August 20, 2019, in connection to the death of Ashley Shafer, 24, of Oskaloosa, Iowa. (Iowa State Patrol)