Homicide Victim’s Friend Blames Shortage Of Mental Health Services For Killing

Mar 17, 2016

A Marion woman gave tearful testimony before a statehouse committee, imploring them to protect mental health services under Medicaid privatization. 

The woman’s friend was killed this week, allegedly by her son who has been described as severely mentally ill. 

Thirty-year old Michael Dieckman was being held on two counts of murder in the deaths of his mother, 63 year old Jacqueline Dieckman and his 91 year old grandmother, whose bodies were found on Wednesday in the home they shared in Council Bluffs. 

Rhonda Shouse of Marion testified before the Senate Oversight Committee.  She says her friend Jackie Dieckman had advocated for mental health care for her son for years.

“This is not a woman who didn’t know how to access the services,” Shouse said.  “She knew the services inside and out and the shortage of services failed her.”

Shouse is also an advocate for mental health services.   She urged the Senate Oversight Committee to protect mental health care under Medicaid privatization.

“I’m here today to implore you on behalf of her and her son who can't be here,” Shouse said, fighting back tears.   “They paid the ultimate price for Iowa's failure to provide services and a safety net.” 

Shouse recalled the death nearly seven years ago of Aplington-Parkersburg football coach at the hands of Mark Becker, who suffered from mental illness.

“How many more preventable tragedies must occur?” Shouse asked.

Shouse said that before her death her friend Jackie Dieckman served on the Iowa Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council and was active in the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.