Crime

Univeristy of South Wales / Flickr

Over a hundred years ago, searching for fingerprints became routine in crime scene investigation. In the intervening years the tools of forensic investigation have greatly evolved. Host Ben Kieffer speaks to Iowa State University Mechanical Engineer Daniel Attinger about his research for the U.S.

State troopers narrowed their search Wednesday morning for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She was abducted Monday while walking home from the bus stop in Dayton, Iowa with a younger girl who escaped soon afterwards. Their suspected abductor was found dead later that day. Despite the efforts search party of more than 300 members of law enforcement and volunteers from the area, Shepard has not been found.

Special Agent Bill Keitzman with the Iowa DCI says Wednesday’s search focuses on a smaller area.

Flickr / daniellehelm

Though stalking became a crime in the state of Iowa in 1994, it’s a difficult charge since in many ways stalking is an “invisible" crime.  Upon examining this crime River to River asks, "What should a person do if they're being stalked?" And also, "What drives stalkers to obsessively harass their victims?"

Brian Mennecke, associate professor of information systems at Iowa State

Facial recognition technology is increasing becoming a part of life, but how is this technology being used and how much is too much?  Brian Mennecke will explain the ways digital advertisements can "read" your face and discuss other commercial uses for facial recognition technology.  Later Gary Wells joins the program to discuss his recently developed proc

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A landmark $240 million verdict against a Texas company who employed mentally disabled workers at an Iowa turkey processing plant will be reduced to about $1.6 million because of a law capping their damages. The 32 men faced decades of verbal and physical abuse at work and at home.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Henry's Turkey Service have agreed in legal briefs that each plaintiff can recover $50,000 - compared to the $7.5 million a jury awarded them on May 1st.

County Jails Struggle to Treat Mental Health Issues

Apr 30, 2013

Just about everyone – from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union — agrees that the mental health system in this country is broken. In Iowa, many local sheriffs say that means their county jails have become way stations for people with mental illness. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports on what can happen when county jails are tasked with caring for the mentally ill.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, schools are changing their intruder response procedure from a stay put and hide method, to a fight or flight response. Today on River to River, we talk with violent incident trainers and educators who are changing the way our schools and our children prepare for the worst case scenario, and how these changes are empowering teachers and students in order to keep them safe.

tschundler / flickr

Recently cyclist Lance Armstrong, the seven-time victor of the Tour de France, was stripped of his titles when he admitted to illegal doping. Today on River to River, we talk to organizations around Iowa who are partnered with Livestrong, a cancer foundation that Lance Armstrong founded. We ask them what comes next and whether Livestrong will continue to live strong in Iowa.

In the second half, we talk with Zlatan Krizan, an assistant professor of Psychology at Iowa State University, about his new research exploring the connection between narcissism and envy.

Flickr Creative Commons

The names of Iowans who obtain permits to carry a weapon would not be public record under a proposal introduced to a committee in the Iowa House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl (R - Missouri Valley), is a leading gun rights advocate. He sees keeping private the names of Iowans who get permits to carry or acquire weapons as a matter of public safety.

Margaret Wertheim

Last July the president of Peregrine Financial Group, Russell Wasendorf Sr., admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his firm. On the first half of today's River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about the Wasendorf case and discovers the personal, financial, and societal impact of this type of monetary fraud.

Courtesy photo

A  federal judge has sentenced 64- year- old Russell  Wasendorf, Sr. to 50 years in prison.  Last July, following an attempted suicide, Wasendorf  admitted to stealing more than 215 million dollars in customer funds from his Cedar Falls brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group.

In a plea agreement in September, he pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements. 50 years is the maximum punishment for those offenses. There is no parole in the federal court system. He was sentenced by Chief Judge Linda Reade.

Eric Hancock / Flickr

Ben Kieffer talks with rape victim advocates about how to prevent rape in Iowa. We’ll examine the attitudes and opinions that need to change so that Iowa is a safer place for everyone.

Then,  the creator of a new personal safety smart phone app  talks about how he hopes the app will help prevent kidnappings and assaults.

Clay Masters / IPR

In the wake of the discovery the bodies of two northeastern Iowa girls earlier this month, the talk of reinstating the death penalty is back at the state capitol. But proponents of capital punishment know they face a tough fight.

Iowa parents who have lost children due to kidnapping and murder met with Governor Branstad Monday morning to talk about reinstating the death penalty. Afterwards at a press conference, the parents told their stories.

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12/6/12  4:30 PM UPDATE: 

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department says they're confident that two bodies discovered Wednesday by hunters in a Bremer County wildlife area are those of Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. 

"We have no one else that’s missing in this area, we have two bodies that were found, smaller in stature, so we have nothing to think other than that at this time," Sheriff’s Captain Rick Abben said. 

INHERTIANCE magazine / Flickr

Even though slavery was outlawed almost 150 years ago, people are still imprisoned and exploited daily in the United States.

Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable and isolated. Often these individuals are children or teenagers hoping to escape a difficult home life, but instead are captured by predators who sell them for sex.

Host Ben Kieffer talks about the prevalence of and how to stop human trafficking in Iowa and nationwide.

Animal Cognition

Aug 22, 2012
Rob Kleine / Flickr

For centuries humans have been trying to better understand the mind of animals, but one researcher believes humans can find some of the answers by looking at our own behavior. University of Iowa Psychology Professor Ed Wasserman, discusses animal cognition, human invention, and intelligent design.

Dave Dehetre / Flickr

Are career criminals born or made? Host Ben Kieffer talks with Matt DeLisi, an associate professor of sociology and director of the criminal justice program at Iowa State University, about how a lifetime of events can impact an individual and has the potential to mold them into a repeat offender. Then, Iowa Sate University Psychologist Craig Anderson discusses a study that shows as the average temperature of earth rises, so does the potential for violent tendencies.

AP Photo/FBI

The story of two missing Evansdale girls has captured the state's and the nation's attention. Host Ben Kieffer talks with the Black Haw County Sheriff's Department to get an update on the case. Then the National Safety Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children talks about what parents and the public can do to help with the case and how we can use the Evansdale case as an opportunity to talk with our children about staying safe.

Wasendorf Waits

Jul 26, 2012
Waterloo Courier

Russell Wasendorf had hoped tomorrow would be the day he’d be released on bail...

But the hearing's been postponed, so the former head of Peregrine Financial Group remains in jail…

and the business empire he built,  first in Chicago and then later in Iowa,  continues to crumble. 

His once fairy tale like existence came to an abrupt end earlier this month.

Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General and Republican Secretary of State have joined forces to stop an unusual kind of identity fraud.   A California con man tried  to collect fees from Iowa corporations by pretending to be the Secretary of State.        

One hundred years ago, an entire family was wiped out by an axe wielding killer in the southwestern Iowa town of Villisca, a crime that remains unsolved to this day. Host Ben Kieffer re-examines Iowa’s worst mass homicide with award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle who made a documentary about the incident. Ben also talks with historian Edgar Epperly.

Gun violence in Cedar Rapids is at an all-time high.
Police say they’re not sure what’s behind the massive spike.
And the violence is spreading to parts of town once considered safe.

Wellington Heights is not one of those parts of town. You could say it has a bad rep in Cedar Rapids,
thanks to some of the highest crime rates in the city. But lately, things are getting worse.

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