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Muscatine County investigators credit random tip for solving decades-long murder mystery

WEST LIBERTY,  Iowa -

Investigators credit a random tip for closing a cold case murder mystery in rural Muscatine County.

It happened on October 13, 1992 in rural West Liberty, Iowa.

"I remember just vividly when it happened," recalled the victim's neighbor, Lonnie Bowden, on Friday, June 1, 2018.

It was the day that Corey Wieneke, 22, was found beaten to death with a baseball bat.

Bowden recalls the victim's fiance arriving to find the body and getting a warning from police.

"You stay right here," Bowden recalled.  "Don't you go in the house again."

More than a quarter-century later, the crime scene is now overgrown with weeds.  Firefighters once used the house for training, eventually burning it down.

But in the years that followed, the family and investigators never forgot what happened there.

Muscatine County Sheriff C. J. Ryan, who remembers being on duty that day, helped to deliver news of an arrest to Wieneke's parents.

"They're very grateful for the fact that law enforcement never gave up on this case," he said.

After years of turning cold, a 2017 tip resulted in an arrest.  Investigators say that Annette Cahill, 55, told the witness that she was responsible for the killing.

Without that development, the case would still be cold.

"That witness coming forward set a chain of events going that led to yesterday's arrest," said Muscatine County Attorney Alan Ostergren.

At the third generation family-owned bar where Corey worked, relatives still struggle.

"It's not going to bring him back," said his uncle, Ken Wieneke.  "That's what they want."

Wieneke hinted that the trial could produce even more startling results.

"We've been through too much with this thing," he continued.  "So, hopefully, it's going to have some closure."

Dead at just 22, Corey's gravesite remains a painful reminder of what might have been.

Still, investigators credit his family for not giving up on answers.

"During the course of this investigation, which was a very, very lengthy investigation, they never lost faith," Sheriff Ryan said.

Cahill, who is being held in the Muscatine County Jail on $1 million bond, is due back in court on June 11.