News Summary Classified Ads Auctions Q-C Weather Webcams ONLINE Column Q-C Online
main page

Q-C Online
site map

Subscribe online to The Dispatch or Rock Island Argus

Ask us anything (about the Quad-Cities)
We can't help with math homework, and we don't calculate launch times for NASA. But we can answer just about any question about our hometown, the Quad-Cities. And if we can't, perhaps you can!

So, ask away.

Search Again

1 Search Results for: Jeff ramsey

1. Q: I have questions about two crimes that occurred when I was a young boy in Rock Island. Both incidents involved friends of mine. The first was the murder of Jeff Ramsey. The second was the abduction of a grade school-aged friend and neighbor Heather Bailey.

I have only fully realized the effects the impact of these crimes had on my life now that I'm an adult and a parent. I am not certain of the accuracy of my memories.

(answer posted: 03/05/02)

A: The murder of Jeff Ramsey was never solved. The kidnapper of Heather Bailey was caught, convicted and is still serving time for another crime. The details:

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 wooded area near Hauberg Civic Center. Doughty and the girl subsequently disappeared and the other children sounded the alarm. Heather was found, unharmed, about five hours later at the man's apartment.

Doughty was sentenced to 8-20 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated kidnapping. At the time, prosecutors said records showed Doughty also had been 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 first-degree kidnapping of a 5-year-old boy in Davenport who was on his way to school. The boy, who was sexually assaulted, told police he was lured away from school by a man claiming to be looking for a lost dog.

However, in December 1984, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the conviction 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 State Penitentiary.

The nude body of 12-year-old Jeff Ramsey was found under a pile of debris on the south side of Arsenal Island on June 15, 1972, about 25 feet from the edge of Sylvan Slough.

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 died from strangulation. He also had been beaten. Officials believed he had been sexually abused, but his body was too badly decomposed for tests to show that.

Although rewards were offered, no informants ever came forward. The boy's parents did receive three or four anonymous letters in the following days from someone claiming to be the killer.

One letter said: `I did it, my God I did it, I killed him.'' The writer said he needed help, and the family responded with an open letter in the newspapers to the writer, asking him to call police.

Some time later the writer sent his last message, saying that he'd already gotten help, but ``If I ever have the urge again, I'll kill myself before I do this again.''

Speculation ran high for a time that Jeff's death was connected with a carnival that had been playing on the Davenport levee at the time. Other young boys in 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 finding a lead.

In the spring of 1976, the FBI closed the case. The only suspect in the case, who 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 make an arrest. ``This was probably the most frustrating case I've ever worked on,'' he said.

Back To Ask Us Main Page

Submit A Question:


"I have a question for ask me anything!"
"I have an answer for ask me anything!"

Question or answer for "Ask me anything about the Quad-Cities!"
Copyright 2003, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.