Friends of a slain eastern Iowa woman are shocked at her death and wondering why she was missing for three months before her body was found. The body of 62-year-old Linda Kowalsky was found in the trunk of her car Tuesday, and police believe her son Troy killed her on October 22nd.
Kowalsky had worked for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids for 30 years before retiring in 2003. She was a grandmother of three teenagers and volunteered at several organizations. People who knew her well say they never saw anything that could lead to this.
Kowalsky’s friends like Justin Shields say she was the "go to lady" when anyone needed help. "She couldn’t tell anyone no, she worked closely with young people, the elderly, just anyone who needed help, never about Linda, always about someone else," Shields says. One of her many activities was tutoring adults at the Kirkwood-Lincoln learning center where she worked with Marianne Wanerus.
Wanerus says, "She joined our program because she loved to read all her life and it was very important to her that adults who couldn’t read learn skills, so they too could experience the joy of reading." Add to the list of Kowalsky’s activities, past board member at the United Way of East Central Iowa and past president of Local Union 1362. Friends say being active in organized labor was close to her heart.
Shields says with so many contacts, so many connections, he wonders why it took almost three months to figure out she was missing. He says Kowalsky had so many friends, people she tutored and worked with, the he found it "extremely unusual that people hadn’t heard from her." Some thought Kowalsky’s absence was connected to too many commitments. Kowalsky was also a member of the First Lutheran Church in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Friends say this tragedy will affect a lot of people because Linda reached out to so many. Police believe Troy Kowlasky strangled his mother to death. He is charged with first-degree murder, and is being held on a one-million dollar bond.