Cumpston Research

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Myrtle Zelda CUMPSTON found dead at her home near Redfield Dallas County 9th March 1965


This is a cold case review by the Police


Myrtle Zelda Cumpston Homicide


Myrtle Zelda Cumpston 61 YOA Case # 6500401 Redfield, IA Dallas County March 9, 1965 Case summary by Nancy Bowers


At 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 9, 1965, Myrtle Zelda Cumpston, 61, was found dead at C & K Aqualand, her co-owned tropical fish aquarium business in rural Dallas County near Redfield.


She was shot in the back of the head and 50 dollars was missing from the cash box. Her business partner and neighbor, Mrs. Robert King, found the body when she came to help open the business for the day. Myrtle was robbed and murdered sometime during the previous two hours.


Myrtle’s 60-year-old husband Charles Cumpston, a former poultry farmer, left home at 8:00 a.m. to drive to Oskaloosa to examine farm animals. He was an inspector for the Animal Disease Eradication Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The two women and their husbands met 10 years before through a mutual interest in tropical fish and operated a company together out of the King home in West Des Moines. Because the business grew so rapidly, the Kings built a house a half-mile from the Cumpston residence in 1961.


The day-to-day operation was conducted by the two women at the Cumpston farm, located on an unpaved road a quarter-mile east of Redfield, where the Cumpstons lived for 30 years. Dallas County Sheriff John T. Wright called in the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which concluded the death was a robbery-murder. Because the in-home business was located in such a remote area, the murderer may have been familiar with the operation. That person might also have known the general banking habits of the owners, as Myrtle Cumpston and Mrs. King deposited the 700 dollar weekend receipts in Des Moines the day before.


The Life of Myrtle Cumpston  Courtesy


Myrtle Cumpston is buried in Dexter Cemetery in Dallas County. Myrtle Zelda Cumpston was born in 1904 in Webster County, Iowa, the only child of George Asa and Mamie C. Dickerson. She had three children — Dale L. Cumpston, Duane Cumpston, and Geneil Elaine Cumpston Mestad.


Information Needed Questions and information about the unsolved 1965 murder of Myrtle Cumpston should be directed to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office at 515-993-4771, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Cold Case Unit, or Iowa Cold Cases through the Contact form. Sources: • “Probe Murder of Farm Wife in $50 Robbery,” Waterloo Daily Courier, March 12, 1965. • “Seek Clues In Slaying At Redfield,” Muscatine Journal, March 10, 1965. • “Woman Is Slain for $50 Loot,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 10, 1965.


Please contact me if you recognise this family

Myrtle Zelda Cumpston was born in 1904 in Webster County, Iowa, the only child of George Asa (1873 - 1943) and Mamie C. Dickerson. (1877 -) [These dates are from the Ancestry HENDRICKS public tree owned by mlhuntbend1.  I have written to suggest we share our research March 2012].



She had three children — Dale L. Cumpston, Duane Cumpston, and Geneil Elaine Cumpston Mestad.


This obituary is from the U.S. Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection for Geneil Elaine Mestad 72 born 23 Mar 1929 died 26 Jul 2001 Kennedale, Texas, USA, the daughter of Myrtle and Charles.


Birth Place: Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA


Spouse: Earl Mestad Children:


Kathie (Rick) Steveson of Unionville, MO


Parents: Charles Cumpston

[Myrtle Dickerson Cumpston]


Brothers and Sisters:


Darrell and Dale Cumpston; Duane and Gardette Cumpston, both of Florida. Preceded; Kay Bruning of Florida


Full Obituary:


Geneil Elaine Cumpston Mestad, 81, of Kennedale, Texas, formerly of Evansdale, died Tuesday at Serenity House, Kennedale. She was born March 23, 1929 in Fort Dodge, daughter of Charles and Myrtle Dickerson Cumpston. She married Earl W. Mestad on June 19, 1949 in Redfield, Iowa. He died July 26, 2001. Geneil received her Bachelors Degree, in teaching, from State College of Iowa. She was a teacher, in Evansdale and later retired from the Dunkerton Community School System in 1987. She was a lifetime member of Iowa State Teachers Association. Survivors include: a son, Bruce (Marla) Mestad of Arlington, Texas; a daughter, Kathie (Rick) Steveson of Unionville, Mo; two grandchildren, Tamica (Kieran) Comito of West Des Moines and Scott (Stacie) Steveson of Johnston; four great-grandchildren, Caiden and Treyton Comito and Braxton and Brylie Steveson; a sister, Kay Bruning of Florida and two brothers, Duane and Gardette Cumpston, both of Florida. Preceded in death by: her husband, in 2001, and two brothers, Darrell and Dale Cumpston.


Services will 1:00 p.m. Monday, January 24, in Waterloo Memorial Park Chapel, with burial in the Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery. Public visitation will be for one hour before services at the chapel. Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Service on West Ridgeway is in charge of the arrangements.


She was an avid bowler, quilter, doll collector, with a degree in doll technology, and active in professional organizations. After retirement, she and her husband did crafts, antiques, and worked flea markets. Although Alzheimers took her mind at the last stages of her life, she always had a smile on her face. She will be missed by her family and friends. Memorials to your local Alzheimers Association or Cedar Valley Hospice.

1930 United States Federal Census results for Myrtle Cumpston


Myrtle Cumpston

Parents Mamie, Charles


Fort Dodge, Webster, Iowa


Born abt 1905 Iowa Wife


Charles Cumpston 24

Myrtle Cumpston 25

Dale Cumpston 6

Duane Cumpston 5

Geneil  Cumpston 1


Mamie Dickerson 51

Dean Carter 28 boarder