A: The murder of Jeff Ramsey was never solved. The kidnapper of
Bailey was caught, convicted and is still serving time for another crime.
Heather Bailey was 7 years old in 1975 when she was kidnapped
by a man
named Ralph LaVerne Doughty in Rock Island.
The girl and some friends were lured out of their neighborhood by
Doughty on June
8. He told them he needed their help searching for his daughter in a
Hauberg Civic Center. Doughty and the girl subsequently disappeared and
children sounded the alarm. Heather was found, unharmed, about five hours
the man's apartment.
Doughty was sentenced to 8-20 years in prison after pleading guilty to
kidnapping. At the time, prosecutors said records showed Doughty also had
convicted on at least two `morals' charges in Iowa.
He served about four years.
In August 1983, Doughty was sentenced to life in prison for the
kidnapping of a 5-year-old boy in Davenport who was on his way to school.
who was sexually assaulted, told police he was lured away from school by a
claiming to be looking for a lost dog.
However, in December 1984, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the
because of the way the jury instructions were given.
A second trial, and second conviction ensued. In February 1997,
Doughty, then 41,
again was sentenced to life without parole. He is incarcerated at Anamosa
The nude body of 12-year-old Jeff Ramsey was found under a pile
on the south side of Arsenal Island on June 15, 1972, about 25 feet from
the edge of
The Rock Island boy had been reported missing a week earlier. He had
been on his
way to the river to watch the fishermen.
A nylon cord was wrapped around his neck, and the autopsy showed he
strangulation. He also had been beaten. Officials believed he had been
abused, but his body was too badly decomposed for tests to show that.
Although rewards were offered, no informants ever came forward. The
did receive three or four anonymous letters in the following days from
claiming to be the killer.
One letter said: `I did it, my God I did it, I killed him.'' The writer
needed help, and the family responded with an open letter in the
writer, asking him to call police.
Some time later the writer sent his last message, saying that he'd
help, but ``If I ever have the urge again, I'll kill myself before I do
Speculation ran high for a time that Jeff's death was connected with a
that had been playing on the Davenport levee at the time. Other young boys
Illinois, Iowa and Indiana also had disappeared about the same time
carnivals were in
their towns. FBI agents spent a year tracing carnival workers, without
In the spring of 1976, the FBI closed the case. The only suspect in the
was a Quad-Cities resident but never identified, had killed himself.
Senior FBI agent Charles Smith said in an interview in 1978 that agents
interviewed the prime suspect twice, but didn't have enough evidence to
arrest. ``This was probably the most frustrating case I've ever worked