MASON CITY | Sixteen years ago, Jordan Manning and his brother found their mother on her bedroom floor in Fort Dodge.
Joni Manning, 42, had her hands tied and was beaten to death by Mark Wilson, 42, a man she had been dating for eight months. Now, Jordan — who moved to Mason City in 2005 — wants people to know that domestic violence is a serious issue.
"It's very important," said Jordan, 31. "For a lot of people, I’m sure it’s not in the front of their mind that this stuff happens ... it’s good that they have events like this that helps bring it to the forefront."
The event Jordan was talking about is "Remember My Name," an annual gathering of local law enforcement, along with friends and family of domestic violence victims.
Since 1995, 295 people have been killed in domestic violence and abuse incidents statewide. In the Mason City Room at the Mason City Library Friday afternoon, Sheriff Kevin Pals told those gathered how many people have been killed each year since, highlighting notable local cases during that time span.
As specific stories were told, family and friends who knew the victims would come forward and tie a ribbon with the victim's name to a tree at the front of the room.
Pals told the Globe Gazette that domestic violence is preventable, and urged more people to speak out, whether it be to police or crisis intervention groups.
He added that since only 30 percent of all cases are reported statewide, it's important people speak out, no matter who is involved.
"Let's just say it's a highly visible elected official, and they're the victim or they're the abuser," he said of one possible example. "And their spouse doesn't want people to know, it's embarrassing, people could lose their jobs ... which we all think in society is really important, but really when you get down to it, means nothing if you're not treating each other with respect or dignity."
One of the groups in town that helps handle domestic violence issues is Crisis Intervention Service. Mary Ingham, its executive director, urged those affected to speak out, as all their services are confidential.
Ingham noted that while the 295 people killed since 1995 is a considerable amount, many more relatives, friends and community members are also impacted. Like Pals, she said it's important to report any issues, because domestic violence related homicides are completely preventable.
"It's not something that just happens out of the blue," she said. "Often times, there's a pattern that people can see."
Pals said one of the major issues is that many victims have been abused in other relationships, because they attract abusive behavior.
"We all need to work together to let not just women, but let men know that it's not right to control people," he said. "It's not right to 'keep the money and not give access to other people in the relationship.' Especially if they're married, they're supposed to become one."
Mark Wilson, who beat Joni Manning to death in July 2001, eventually surrendered to police in California on Aug. 11, 2009, and was convicted of first-degree murder in March of the following year.
Jordan, who was 14 at the time of his mom's death, hopes events like "Remember My Name" lead to less stories like his.
"If you see stuff that don't look right, say something," he said. "A lot of people cover up stuff and try to hide it ... let somebody know and seek help, because when things go bad, they can always go worse."
MASON CITY | A Mason City Schools employee sent an email to a police officer to communicate a student's threat to shoot students at John Adams Middle School, delaying investigation of the incident because the officer didn't work until the next day.
A judge Friday morning ordered a 13-year-old male to further detention and ordered an evaluation. The judge also rejected a motion to close to the hearing to the public due to the nature of the threats.
Capt. Mike McKelvey told the Globe Gazette that a school employee attempted to notify police about the Monday incident via email. The police recipient of that email — no school official spoke to law enforcement Monday — did not see the email until arriving to work Tuesday, according to McKelvey. Earlier Friday, police said the threat and report were both Wednesday.
The nature of the threat was confirmed by Mason City Schools Superintendent Dave Versteeg but school officials were adamant law enforcement was involved.
Versteeg told the Globe Gazette the message was discovered Monday and officials reported the incident to the police that day, via the school liaison officer.
School administrators, he said, assessed the situation and were heavily involved in the investigation.
“There was never any safety concern," Versteeg said. "The student was not deemed to be a threat" but the incident did warrant police involvement.
“It didn’t raise to the level that students were threatened," Versteeg said. "The administration feels that students were 100 percent safe.
“It was a poor choice on the student’s part.”
Lt. Frank Stearns said police continue to work with school officials.
“We worked with the school system immediately,” Stearns said. “There was never any real credible threat at that time.”
This is not the first time the child has made a threat to shoot classmates. The student has been suspended from school, according to Versteeg.
Late Friday morning, the district posted a message on Facebook, noting "the district has not received any kind of threat to any building or any persons in the district today."
The post reiterated priorities for the safety of students and staff members.
"We know that parents and families are feeling scared and concerned and anxious about the safety of their loved ones," the post read. "We apologize for any confusion in regards to the timing of the reporting of this incident."
The child faces a first-degree harassment charge after threatening a shooting at John Adams Middle School.
According to documents obtained by the Globe Gazette and confirmed by the Mason City Police Department, a 13-year-old made a written threat on a desk at the school that he would shoot people before the end of this month.
According to Iowa Code, a detention hearing must be held within 24 hours of the child being detained, excluding weekends and holidays.
At a detention review hearing Friday morning at the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse, Judge DeDra Schroeder ordered continued detention for the child and that he be held for a 30-day evaluation.
Prosecutors made the recommendation given the nature of the allegations, as well as concern for the community.
The child's parents agreed with the order.
The judge also denied a request by the child's attorney, Parker Thirnbeck, to close Friday's hearing to media members and the public. He said that “with everything going on this week” considering the allegations, it would be in the child’s best interest to keep it private. However, the judge ruled the nature of the threats involved in the case warranted public access.
The next hearing in the case was scheduled for Oct. 12.
On the heels of increased occurrence of schcool threats in North Iowa, Mason City officials emailed parents and guardians of students late Wednesday afternoon. The letter was also posted on the school district's website.
Versteeg said the actual threat was not related to the email.
"The incident was in no way connected to the statement issued on Wednesday,” Versteeg said. “That statement was related to what we were hearing in the news. At no time were students at school in danger.”
The letter did not state that there was a threat made in Mason City.
That was repeated in the Facebook post Friday morning: "This incident at the middle school was in no way connected with the statement the district issued on Wednesday in response to the threats school district’s in the area and across the state and nation received this week."
It also noted that "the school district has not been made aware of any additional threats since the issuance of its statement on Wednesday."
Versteeg, the superintendent, told parents in the emailed letter Wednesday that there may be an additional uniform presence throughout the district.
“District administration is working with the Mason City Police Department,” Versteeg said in the email. “MCPD will determine if a threat is credible.”
Versteeg added that the district would take appropriate actions, if necessary.
“The school district and law enforcement will not tolerate threats or hoaxes related to student safety,” the letter continued . “All threats will be investigated and could result in consequences, including charges being filed.
“We will keep you informed if we receive any threats; and if threats are not found to be credible, we plan to have school as scheduled."
Clinton County officials confirm that the man behind the deadliest mass shooting in American history was born in 1953 in Clinton, Iowa, the namesake county seat town of 25,719 people along the Mississippi River.
The Clinton County Recorder's office confirmed a birth certificate was on file for Stephen Craig Paddock born on April 9, 1953, at the former Jane Lamb Hospital. He would be 64 today, the same age as the Stephen Paddock who fired semi-automatic weapons into a crowd of Las Vegas concertgoers Sunday evening. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, the same room from which he fired into the crowd below.
At least 59 people were killed in the attack and more than 500 injured.
According to the Clinton County records, Paddock's birth father was Benjamin Paddock, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a fact which also matches biographical reports on the gunman. His mother was born in Illinois.
The Arizona Daily Star (owned by Lee Enterprises, the same parent company as the Quad-City Times and the Globe Gazette) reported that before the '50s ended the family had moved to Tuscon, Arizona, and then moved again to California in the '60s.
It's unclear how long the family may have been in the area.