Evidence in Iowa City killing revealed

Documents say blood found in house; victim's husband traveled in U.S.

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Published: November 26 2013 | 11:30 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:05 am in
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NOTE: This story was originally published Nov. 25, 1997.

Police searching Frances Bloomfield's home after she was reported missing found bloodstains in several locations in the house and garage, according to court documents released Monday.

The documents not only paint a picture of the Bloomfield home as police found it but also provide details about Bloomfield, the motive for the killing and her husband's whereabouts when she disappeared.

The documents, which detail a search conducted at the Bloomfield home on Sept. 22, were sealed for 60 days by court order.

Bloomfield, 57, of 38 Wakefield Ct., was reported missing by her husband, John, on Sept. 22, when he returned from a trip. Three days later, authorities in Rockford, Ill., confirmed a body found in a ditch there was that of Bloomfield.

A Winnebago County, Ill., coroner's jury ruled earlier this month that Bloomfield died of strangulation. Bloomfield's car, a red 1994 Honda Accord with Iowa Sesquicentennial license plate SO51154, is still missing.

Investigators who responded to the Bloomfield home on Sept. 22 reported finding bloodstains in the doorways of two bedrooms on the second floor of the home, as well as a mark indicating Bloomfield was dragged in the hallway. There was also a bloodstain on the wall at the bottom of the stairs between the first and second floors and two stains on the garage floor, according to documents.

Bloomfield struggled with her killer, Detective Ed Schultz of the Iowa City Police Department said.

Police originally had indicated John Bloomfield, a researcher at the University of Iowa, arrived home Sept. 22 from a work-related conference in Paris.

Documents taken from his briefcase indicate he traveled to Paris on Sept. 13 but was back in the United States by Sept. 19 when he rented a car with Missouri license plates, keeping the car until Sept. 21.

Documents also indicate he rented another car, this one with New Mexico license plates, on Sept. 21. Documents do not indicate where John Bloomfield rented either car.

Other items obtained under the search warrant indicate that John Bloomfield's itinerary included flights from Chicago to Albuquerque, N.M., then from Albuquerque to Dallas and back to Chicago, although documents don't indicate how long that trip lasted.

Schultz said John Bloomfield was in Albuquerque on business and that the Dallas stop was a layover on the flight back to Chicago.

John Bloomfield rented a third car in Chicago and drove back to Iowa on Sept. 22, documents show.

Schultz noted in the application for the search warrant that John Bloomfield told him he was concerned when he couldn't reach his wife at the appointed time he was to call her on Sept. 20. John Bloomfield said he decided then to return home because he was concerned.

Other items taken from John Bloomfield's briefcase included hotel receipts and a note written in French. Police also took some men's clothing from the Bloomfield home.

Bloomfield's killer did not take her purse. Detectives found the purse, with almost 20 credit cards and an automatic teller machine card inside. Receipts from automatic teller machines and for credit card purchases indicate Bloomfield had been in the Minneapolis area the week before her death.

Frances and John Bloomfield had lived in Minneapolis for several years before moving to Iowa City two years ago.

Schultz said that although investigators were called to the home by John Bloomfield, they obtained a search warrant as a precaution, so there would be no question about how they obtained evidence.

"The main reason we got the search warrant was because we had definite reason to believe something unusual had happened there," Schultz said.

Schultz would not comment on whether detectives believe Bloomfield was dead when taken from the home, nor would he comment on whether there are any suspects in the murder. Asked if police were running out of leads in the case, he said, "It's definitely still going."

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