Eight months later, details still sparse in Johns case

Michael Johns (Grundy Register file photo) 

As the story of a 20-year-old central Iowa woman’s disappearance makes its way into the national news cycle amidst a statewide panic over a perceived uptick in abductions, it hits close to home in more ways than one. Eight months after 28-year-old Michael Johns of Grundy Center was found dead of an apparent homicide in rural Floyd County, breaks in the case remain few and far between.


“We are not hearing anything and wondering what’s going on also,” Sheriff Rick Penning wrote in an e-mail to The Grundy Register.


Media coverage surrounding Johns, a 2008 GCHS graduate, has more or less dissipated since his body was discovered on December 1—just over a month after he was last seen alive—and despite a potential lead on a person of interest several months ago, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Mike Krafl of the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) declined to confirm or deny whether that individual is still under investigation. No charges have been filed, and an exact cause of death beyond homicide has never been released.


In at least two e-mail exchanges over the summer, Krapfl indicated that there are no new developments he can publicly disclose, and Johns’s mother Julia Chaplin did not wish to comment. 


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