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Names released in apparent murder-suicide in Charles City

By Bob Steenson,

An apparent murder-suicide resulted in the deaths of a former married couple in Charles City last week.

The Charles City Police Department had reported last week that officers were called to 301 Shaw Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12, to conduct a check on the welfare of persons at that residence. One person was transported to the hospital by ambulance and died enroute, and another person’s body was found during a search of the residence, the police report said.

On Thursday this week, Police Chief Hugh Anderson released additional information, including the identities of the persons who died.

Anderson said that after officers arrived at the scene last week, an ambulance was called to respond to a possible overdose. Shane Swingen, age 46, was transported from the home and died a short time later.

Names released in apparent murder-suicide in Charles City
301 Shaw Ave., Charles City

“Officers executed a search warrant at the house and discovered a body inside the residence. The victim’s body was sent to the state lab in Ankeny and was identified as Jennifer Swingen, 44, of Dunkerton, Iowa,” Anderson said.

“Her cause of death was determined to be strangulation,” he said.

Anderson said the investigation indicates it was a homicide/suicide, and he again added that the Police Department “does not consider the public to be at risk from what has transpired.”

Anderson told the Press Thursday that they are not aware of any other persons being involved in the incident, and the investigation is nearly finished, with “a few small details” left to complete.

According to records in Black Hawk County District Court, Shane Swingen and Jennifer Smith were married in July 2018 in Dysart. A divorce was finalized in December 2019, with his address being listed as Waterloo and hers as Dunkerton. There were no children from the marriage, according to the divorce petition. The divorce also decreed that Jennifer Swingen’s name was returned to Jennifer Smith.

Shane Charles Swingen purchased the house at 301 Shaw Avenue in 2020, according to Floyd County property records. The property is near the Charles City wastewater treatment plant, along the Cedar River.

The Iowa Missing Person Clearinghouse reported that Jennifer Jo Swingen had been reported missing to the Dunkerton Police Department on Sept. 26.

According to Charles City Police Department daily incident report logs, an officer spoke to someone from Dunkerton on Oct. 8 regarding a possible missing person.

On Oct. 10, a little after noon, the department answered questions “for a subject from Dunkerton reference a possible missing person.”

A couple of hours later on Oct. 10, officers “attempted to speak with a subject in the 300 block of Shaw Avenue. No one was home.”

On Oct. 12, officers went to the 300 block of Shaw Avenue for a welfare check, the daily incident log says.


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