Iowa escapee killed by retired farmer he held captive -
Published Monday, August 19, 2013 at 8:42 am / Updated at 10:43 am
Iowa escapee killed by retired farmer he held captive

BEDFORD, Iowa — Escaped inmate Rodney Long was killed early Tuesday morning by a shotgun blast from a retired farmer who was being held captive.

Jerome Mauderly and his wife, Carolyn, went to bed about 9:30 p.m. Monday. At about 10:15 p.m., Long kicked in their door, waking the couple, said Mitch Mortvedt, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation's special agent in charge for western Iowa.

Mortvedt said Long had a semiautomatic handgun and wouldn't allow the couple to leave. At about 2:10 a.m., Jerome Mauderly took a shotgun from the kitchen and shot Long in the chest, Mortvedt said during a press conference on the front lawn of the Taylor County Courthouse in Bedford.

Long is accused of shooting and wounding a Taylor County deputy Sunday night.

The Mauderlys, who were not at Tuesday's press conference, were unharmed.

Law enforcement had been combing the hills and wooded ravines southeast of Bedford during a manhunt for the escapee. Long was assumed to be close after crashing the deputy's stolen vehicle.

Authorities suspected Long of shooting Taylor County Deputy Dan Wyckoff on a rural highway just outside of New Market, which is about 90 miles southeast of Omaha. Wyckoff, 33, was recovering Monday in an Omaha hospital.

According to authorities, Long escaped from the minimum-security portion of the Clarinda Correctional Facility by scaling a 12-foot-high chain-link fence about 4:20 a.m. Friday.

“He was locked up, he escaped and he shot a cop,” Mortvedt said.

The shooting occurred about 11:30 p.m. Sunday after deputies were dispatched to check on someone suspicious walking along Iowa Highway 2.

Wyckoff was the first to arrive. As soon as he got out of his unmarked pickup truck, the suspicious person opened fire on the deputy, shooting him twice. Wyckoff scrambled for cover.

The gunman jumped into the deputy's pickup, a white four-door Chevrolet Silverado, and roared away.

Another deputy soon arrived. He picked up Wyckoff, and the two began chasing the stolen truck. The chase wound through the rural backroads of Taylor County for about 40 minutes, punctuated by exchanges of gunshots. Officers from several Iowa jurisdictions and from Missouri participated.

The chase ended when the driver of the stolen truck lost control on the curve of a gravel road southeast of New Market and rolled several times. The man escaped and fled on foot.

Personal items left in the wrecked truck led officers to conclude that Long was the man who shot Wyckoff and stole his vehicle, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Wyckoff was flown by helicopter to Omaha with injuries not considered life threatening.

Long, 38, was serving a five-year sentence after being convicted of burglary in Appanoose County in south-central Iowa. He initially was sentenced to probation, but after several rule violations in the Ottumwa Residential Facility, a halfway house, he was sent to Clarinda in March, said Lettie Prell, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Authorities believe Long may have stolen the handgun from a Clarinda house shortly after his escape.

Long's anticipated discharge date was Sept. 27, 2014, though his case was to be reviewed by the Iowa Parole Board in November, which could have led to an earlier release.

No one has escaped from the Clarinda facility since 1997, when an inmate serving time for forgery was on the loose for four days before being caught.

At Farmers Mutual Town & Country, a convenience store in New Market's downtown, the talk was of why someone would try to escape with so little time left to serve, of checking in on people who live alone in the country and of the noticeable law enforcement presence.

Jerry Fine, 71, and Jason Larabee, 34, both said they believed Long was not too much of a threat to locals — he had laid low since his escape and had not surfaced until encountered by a deputy.

“I really don't think that guy would assault any of us. I think that he was confronted by a police officer and he was thinking, 'I'm not going back,'” said Larabee.

Larabee and his girlfriend, Wendy Clark, 43, watched as law enforcement raced along the roads and a helicopter circled overhead Sunday night and Monday morning.

“I looked through the window all night. I'm not sleeping,” Clark said. “We're not used to that around here.”

Fine said he was grateful for the help that was sent to search for Long. Law enforcement from Bedford, Iowa, Montgomery County, Iowa, FBI, Missouri and numerous other agencies took part. A Nebraska State Patrol helicopter aided the search.

Larabee knows Wyckoff. He described him as a friendly deputy who liked to talk to people.

“He's not confrontational at all, said Larabee. “Just a nice mellow guy.”

On the curve where the truck crashed, at least 20 law reinforcement vehicles were parked as officers investigated Monday afternoon.

The rolling terrain is covered by bean fields, broken up by ravines and frequent tree lines.
There are also cornfields with corn stretching to 7-feet high. One officer noted the corn was so thick that Long could be right next to you, and you wouldn't know.

State troopers drove from door to door, checking outbuildings with local property owners.

An airplane circled overhead, its crew studying the terrain for signs of Long.

“There are lots of resources being used to try to locate this subject,” said Iowa State Patrol Trooper Scott Miller. “We are doing everything possible to find this wanted fugitive.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

Contact the writer: Andrew J. Nelson    |   402-444-1310    |  

Andrew writes about virtually everything – crime, features, legislative news and small-town controversy – happening in Iowa.

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