Body in Iowa house was kidnapping suspect's mom

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2013 5:56 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman found dead in a western Iowa farmhouse during an investigation into the alleged abduction of another woman was the kidnapping suspect's mother, a prosecutor said Friday.

Sac County Attorney Ben Smith said Marilyn Schmitt, whose son Kirk Riley Levin was arrested Thursday in the alleged kidnapping of a 21-year-old female acquaintance, was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of her home. Levin only got out of prison on Tuesday after serving more than two years for burglary.

Smith declined to say whether investigators suspect foul play in the death of Schmitt, 45. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, but results hadn't been released.

Sheriff Ken McClure said a local resident called 911 on Thursday after coming across a car that had skidded on ice and into a roadside ditch near Early, 100 miles northwest of Des Moines. The driver of the car took off running, and a female passenger told the motorist she had been kidnapped and needed help.

The woman told investigators that Levin, who was an acquaintance, showed up at her home in Storm Lake at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday saying his car had broken down and asking for a ride to his home in Early, about 15 miles away.

She said after getting to the farmhouse, Levin took her to a barn and tied her up with a rope. He put her in the trunk of his car, then took her out and put her in the back seat, McClure said.

With the help of a tracking dog, deputies found Levin hiding in a barn about a mile from where his car skidded off the road. When investigators went to the farmhouse, they found Schmitt's body in an upstairs bedroom, McClure said.

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Levin, 21, remained in jail Friday on charges of assault with intent to commit sexual assault, assault while participating in a felony, and third-degree kidnapping. His lawyer, Sac City attorney Charles Schulte, said he had only just been assigned to the case it was too soon to comment about it.

Schmitt bought the home and a few acres with outbuildings in October 2007, and McClure said Levin lived there with her until he went to prison in 2010 for third-degree burglary.

Levin was released New Year's Day after serving a little more than two years of a five-year sentence, Iowa Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta said. Iowa prison terms are frequently reduced if inmates stay out of trouble while incarcerated.