Murder at Iowa State Fair 20 Years Ago Sill Haunts Fair-goers Today


Tens of thousands of people are flooding the Iowa State Fair this week to celebrate one of Iowa’s grandest traditions. They stand in long lines to eat corn dogs, view 1,100-pound boars and glimpse a life-size statue of a cow sculpted entirely from butter.

Twenty years ago, the annual fair was interrupted by a crime so grisly that it still shocks Iowans.

Bobie and Marilyn Blewer, Missourians who ran a popular funnel cake stand, were gunned down at the fairgrounds as part of a cold-blooded murder plot fueled by envy and lies.

Beau Blewer, 38, has been wrestling with his parents’ murders since Aug. 12, 1996, when he discovered their bound and gagged bodies on the floor of the family’s motor home.

For two years afterward, Beau Blewer tried to carry on their funnel cake business. He would hitch the red funnel cake stand with its gold wagon wheels to a pickup truck and travel with his younger sister, Jada, to fairs around the Midwest, selling deep-fried batter sprinkled with powdered sugar. But he had to give it up.

“I couldn’t handle it,” Beau Blewer said. “I couldn’t walk into the trailer seeing their faces all the time.”


Bobie and Marilyn Blewer began operating Florrie’s Funnel Cakes in the mid-1970s, not long after they married. They traveled a circuit of fairs each summer, living in a charter bus they converted into a home on wheels.

That Aug. 12, a Monday, Beau and his younger sister, Jada, left the family motor home shortly after 8 a.m. to begin serving funnel cakes to the crowd at the Iowa State Fair. By 1 p.m., their parents still hadn’t shown up.

Beau went back to the family bus and discovered a horrific scene.

His father was face down, duct tape covering his mouth and a bullet wound to the back of his head.

His mother was on her back, just beyond her husband, with bullet wounds to her chest and forehead.

Investigators found the bus’s safe was open, with thousands of dollars in cash missing.

Two things immediately caught authorities’ attention: Beau’s red pickup truck was missing and so was Jerimy Sneed, a tattooed 22-year-old felon who was working in the funnel cake stand.

The investigation quickly zeroed in on Sneed. Soon, a nationwide manhunt ensued.

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SOURCE: Kathy A. Bolten and Grant Rodgers
The Des Moines Register