PoliceLine

The Office of the Iowa State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on a 29-year-old DeWitt woman and determined that she hanged herself, according to a press release issued Thursday afternoon. 

Police officers found Jessica Elizabeth Vance dead after responding to a 911 call at 319 9th Ave. on the morning of Sept. 27, according to a press release issued later that day. 

The Sept. 27 release said the DeWitt Police Department was opening an investigation into the cause and manner of her death, and it said the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was assisting DeWitt police.

Thursday’s release said that after the autopsy, the medical examiner “determined the cause of Vance’s death was hanging and the manner of death, suicide.”  

DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt on Monday directed questions to Richard Rahn, a DCI agent based out of Stockton, Iowa, who is the special agent in charge of the investigation.

In a phone conversation Thursday afternoon, Rahn said his agency accepts the ruling by the medical examiner’s office, but he also said the DCI will continue to take any phone calls or leads that are relevant in the case.

“The medical examiner reviewed our evidence and takes everything into consideration,” Rahn said. “But yet, even though that decision is made by the medical examiner, we still are analyzing evidence, we’re still reviewing data, we’re waiting for some results to come back, and still talking to people just to ensure that the investigation is as thorough as possible. 

For those reasons and more, the DCI still views the investigation as open.

“We are still drafting our report,” Rahn said. “We want to make sure we get it right for the family. This is a tragic case. We want to look at any unresolved questions. 

“There are always rumors, and it’s our job to sort out which ones are accurate and which ones are not,” he continued. “We are always open-minded, and we’re always making sure that we don’t turn a blind eye to anything and making sure that we don’t miss anything.”

Rahn does not anticipate having additional information to release to the public, but he also doesn’t rule out the possibility.

“There have been some people who have been concerned about their safety and well-being, and, from Day 1, we never felt that others were in harm’s way,” he said. “And so public safety is always a priority. But if something does develop or something does happen, then we will be sure to put that out,” he added.

According to a Schultz Funeral Homes obituary, Vance leaves behind a son, Thomas Linden Grunewald.

Vance was born June 12, 1990. She grew up in Davenport before graduating from Central Community Schools in DeWitt in 2008.

According to the obituary, she asked her parents, Daniel and Kathy Donahue, to officially adopt her in 2015. It also said she was preceded in death by her father, Bryce Linden Vance.

Vance owned the home at 319 Ninth Avenue, according to online Beacon records provided by Schneider Geospatial.