Case of a disappearing Wapello County man still open after 15 years

Dennison Stookesberry disappeared from this house in Blakesburg in 1999.

Cases may get cold, but they're never closed.

Developing technology re-opened two decades-old cases in Wapello County, first Mary Jayne Jones' unsolved murder resulted in an arrest in November 2012, then new information was found in a triple homicide from 1984 in January 2014.

One 15-year-old case has remained a mystery since the day a Wapello County man disappeared from his home. However, law enforcement aren't ready to declare it closed just yet.

Dennison Stookesberry was reported missing from his house in Blakesburg on February 15, 1999. He was never found and no charges were ever filed. Don Phillips, now the Chief Deputy of the Wapello County Sheriff's Office, investigated the disappearance, and 15 years later, the case is very much still open.

"He's out there somewhere," said Chief Deputy Phillips said. "It just kind of bugs you, each day, each week, as to where he's at."

There were no signs of a struggle at Stookesberry's house. He left behind medication and his dinner in the microwave. By the looks of it, he just disappeared. But law enforcement are still holding out for the day the mystery is solved.

"You always hope that [one] day there's a piece of the puzzle that breaks the case so you can get some closure for the family, but you just never know," Phillips said.

After 15 years, Phillips has a theory as to what happened that day, as well as a possible suspect. But until Mr. Stookesberry is found, it's impossible to have any certainty.

"It never really goes away," Phillips said. "And it certainly doesn't go away for the family because they always wonder also as to where he's at."

Stookesberry was 56-years-old when he disappeared in 1999. Phillips said the sheriff's office has conducted interviews related to his case as recently as 2011, so any information is helpful. Anyone with information related to the case can contact the Wapello County Sheriff's Office at 641-684-4350.