Officials in Lyon County released more information late this week on an old case, hoping to learn more about a woman whose body was identified more than a quarter-century after she was killed. The body was found on October 4, 1978 in a roadside ditch in Lyon County, and identified in mid-February of this year as that of Wilma June Nissen. Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal said this week that after a new national database helped identify the woman, he began piecing together the story of her hard life growing up in California. Her mother walked out when Wilma was eight and a sister, Mona, was three or four years younger. The younger sister was deaf and could not speak. The girls’ father would lock them in their bedroom when he went to work. Then the sheriff says Nissen’s father lost his home, and moved his family into a car. Wilma was sent out during the day to look for food, and Mona, her deaf and mute sister, was locked in the trunk of the car during the day. When the state of California became aware of the situation, it took the girls away and put Mona in an institution and Wilma into a foster home. Sheriff Bloemendaal says in the first ten years of her life, Wilma had gotten a total of about six months of school. “She couldnt read, she couldn’t write,” he says. “She couldn’t eat with a fork.” Wilma stayed for almost two years at that first home, then went through about four more before landing at her final foster home. After leaving the last home, he says she met up with a man named Michael Pizarro, who is not a suspect in her death though they’d like to talk with him. She met and married a Donald Wellington in 1973 and detectives think she had two children with him. He’s not a suspect either, though they’d also like to talk with him. Bloemendaal says Nissen was 23-years and 10-months old when she was killed and they still don’t know who brought her to Iowa or dumped her body in Lyon County.
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