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  1. #1

    IA - Ronette Peterson Burton, 22, Lakeland, 7 May 1986

    Woman killed in Florida in 1986 is Iowan

    The victim's sister went to police, who identified the missing Madrid woman.

    January 29, 2005

    A central Iowa missing-persons report filed this month has rekindled a Florida homicide case that was cold for 18 years.

    Authorities say a body found floating in a drainage canal near a Florida highway on May 7, 1986, has been identified as Ronette Lynn Peterson, formerly of Madrid, who left home and lost touch with her family a few months earlier.

    At a Friday press conference, investigators asked for the public's help to find out what Peterson, then 22, was doing in the spring of 1986, why she traveled to Florida, and with whom she might have been traveling.

    The break in the case came earlier this month, when Peterson's younger sister went to police after a long, personal search for her sibling.

    Danielle Buxbaum of Phoenix said she had not heard from Peterson since 1986.

    "There have been a lot of dead ends," she said. "We even called Florida before. All of this has been kind of like a dream."

    Buxbaum said relatives decided as a last resort to call Madrid police and file a missing persons report.

    She was rocked by Friday's news that the report had led to her sister, who Florida authorities said had been beaten to death.

    The body was found in a long drainage canal between Tampa and Orlando, just off Interstate Highway 4, said Detective Sgt. Mike Reckart of the Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office. Peterson had suffered multiple blows to the body and head.

    "She was put in the water and left to drown," Reckart said.

    Officials said the mystery of Peterson's disappearance was solved when Boone County sheriff's officials and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agents checked the missing persons information against cold cases in other states. The search included a Florida missing-persons Web site. Iowa investigators determined that their counterparts in Florida were attempting to identify the remains of a victim that matched Peterson's description. A fingerprint match ended speculation.

    Peterson's relatives had held out hope she was still alive.

    "Until now, we thought maybe she was in an accident. Maybe she didn't know who she was," Buxbaum said. "We didn't know. We just didn't know.

    "But at least we found someone who did something."


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Native Texan, In Germany
    Thanks for posting this fourboys, and thanks to ShowerSinger for sending us the link. It's amazing that she was unidentified for so long. I'm incredibly thankful this family now has an answer (albeit not the one anyone would want), as the not knowing surely must be the worst.

    If this is the new Florida Doe site I'm thinking of, that site has already helped so many families with answers.

    Ronette Lynn Peterson, found but forever missed.

    Prayers of comfort for this family, Lanie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    This is just so sad...I am glad to hear her family can finally stop wondering where she is...

  4. #4
    DES MOINES - In a joint press conference, the Boone County Sheriff's Office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation asked for help solving a murder that occurred 19 years ago.

    By Matthew Carlson
    January 31, 2005

    Until earlier this week, no one knew Ronette Lynn Peterson, who was 22 at the time of her death and a former resident of Madrid, had been a murder victim.
    Peterson's body recently was identified in Polk County, Fla.

    On May 7, 1986, Peterson's unidentified body was discovered floating in a water-filled pit or shallow canal off Highway 33, approximately a mile north of Combee Road in Lakeland, Fla.
    At that time, an investigation revealed Peterson was the victim of a homicide.
    Earlier this month, Peterson's younger sister filed a missing persons report with the Boone County Sheriff's Office.

    According to Peterson's family, no one has had contact with Ronette Peterson since the early to mid-1980s.
    Based on the missing persons report, the Boone County Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, initiated a missing persons investigation.

    Authorities found information indicating Peterson left Iowa, perhaps in route to unknown locations in Georgia and Florida.
    Public Information Officer James J. Saunders said it appears Peterson left Iowa on her own accord. It is not known if she was traveling alone.
    Peterson's younger sister filed the missing persons report because she was trying to track down her sister.

    Boone County Sheriff Detective Kenny Kendall said the family had not had any contact with Peterson and thought she eventually would reappear.
    The younger sister, who was about 8 when Peterson left Iowa, has been working on tracking down her sister.
    Kendall said Peterson's sister was having difficult finding any leads before coming to the Boone County Sheriff's office.

    Iowa investigators searched Florida's missing person's Web site, http://www.fluiddb.com, and determined Florida officials were attempting to identify the remains of a homicide victim meeting her description.
    Iowa investigators contacted officials in Polk County, Fla., and forwarded known fingerprints of Peterson.
    The result was a positive identification.
    Peterson's family has been notified.
    Her family no longer lives in Iowa. Her mother lives in Florida.

    Peterson was born July 14, 1963. People think she left Madrid sometime in 1986. She attended Madrid High School, but officials don't think she graduated.
    On Wednesday, investigators from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida arrived in Iowa to meet with investigators from the Boone County Sheriff's Office and Agents of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

    Investigators are now seeking assistance from the public with the investigation.
    Law enforcement officers are asking anyone who may have had contact with Peterson prior to May 7, 1986, to contact them.
    Law enforcement officers are trying to develop a timeline from the date Peterson left Madrid to the date her body was found.
    They want to find people she was in contact with, places she may have lived and jobs she may have held.

    Anyone with information regarding Peterson's activities is asked to contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 281-5138 or the Boone County Sheriff's Office at (515) 433-0524.


  5. #5

    Ronette Peterson - My cousin

    Ronette was my cousin. I was a senior in high school when she left town. For years, we have never known where she was. It had never occurred to any of us that she might be dead. To say it is a shock is putting it very mild. What do you do when you find out that she has really been gone all these years? Do you mourn as if it happened yesterday? It is a very strange situation to be in and no one is quite sure how to handle it.

    I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your care and concern and for thinking of Ronette. We all love her and will miss her.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    So Sorry For Your Loss

    It's sometimes difficult to know quite what to say, being a stranger, and all. Still, I hope you know, many people have taken notice, and pray for you, and yours.

    Thanks Misa for joining this forum.
    Last edited by ShowerSinger; 02-12-2005 at 03:12 AM. Reason: to add

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Hi Misa,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think you need to mourn her however it comes naturally. I'm glad you found us, we really do care about you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Ronette is my sister.

    I don't no Misa... I was the one listen in the paper as helping in finding her. I am her sister.
    I have missed her dearly for many years. But never lost hope to one day be able to find her and talk to her. I can say for myself there was no question in grieving her. I feel like she was taken last week. I have missed her for many years but there is no way I was prepaired for what I found. Ronette died for me, in my heart.. On Jan. 26th When I got a phone call from the detective in Boone Iowa. I know that there has been no choice but grief. Hard cold lonely grief. The only thing that will bring me any joy. Is Justice. I feel she deserves it and wants it. My pain has been undescribable. Thanks for all the well wishers and prayers. As Our family does need it. Ronette was never afforded the oppratunity in life to grow up. To find her potential. To figure out what she had to offer this world. She never did get to let the world know what she had to offer. I will close with that. Danielle Buxbaum

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Native Texan, In Germany


    Please feel free to contact me at HelpForTheMissing@yahoo.com should your family need anything. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Lanie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Native Texan, In Germany

    More links on Ronette

    FLorida UnIdentified Decedents DataBase

    This is where an alert person found a DOE in the Florida records that matched Ronette's profile on the Nations Center for Missing Adults site.

    Polk County Sheriff's Dept.

    Anyone who has any information about the victim is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Homicide Unit. Detective Michael Johnston is in charge of the investigation and can be reached at 863-534-6379

    State of Iowa Press Release

    At this time investigators are seeking assistance from the public with this investigation. Specifically, law enforcement is asking anyone who may have had contact with RONETTE PETERSON prior to May 7, 1986 , to contact them.

    Anyone with information regarding the activities of MS. PETERSON is urged to contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 281-5138 or the Boone County Sheriff’s Office at (515) 433-0524.

    Another link

    Prayers for justice, Lanie

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    FL - UID in drainage canal near I4, Lakeland, 1986 - Ronette Lynn Burton

    Came upon this going through the FDLE site. I did a search and didn't see where Ronette had her own thread. Thought maybe if someone was trying to tie this formerly UID to another woman it might help to be able to rule her out. She had a very distinct unicorn tattoo which I've included here if needed for search reference.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    Ronette Lynn (Peterson) Burton
    Jane Doe gets name after 19 years

    Ronette Lynn (Peterson) Burton
    22 YOA
    DOB: July 14, 1963
    Went Missing from: Madrid, IA
    Boone County
    Body found: May 7, 1986 in Lakeland, Florida
    Identified as Ronette Peterson in January 2005
    FDLE Unsolved Homicides
    Ronette Lynn Burton

    May 7, 1986

    Polk County Sheriff's Office homicide detectives recently identified this homicide victim from a 1986 case after receiving information from Iowa Law Enforcement Officials about a possible link to an Iowa missing persons case. Given the new information, PCSO detectives positively identified (via fingerprint match) the female victim of a 1986 homicide case as Ronette Lynn Burton (maiden name Peterson), formerly of Madrid, Iowa. On May 07, 1986, the unidentified victim's body was discovered floating in a phosphate pit near SR 33 just north of Combee Road in Lakeland. Given her recent identification, PCSO detectives are actively investigating the case and are seeking any information about the victim and her whereabouts prior to her murder. Detectives have received information that the victim had traveled through Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida (possibly the Clearwater area) during the time period leading up to he death.

    Anyone who has any information about the victim is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Homicide Unit. Detective Michael Johnston is in charge of the investigation and can be reached at 863-534-6379."

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