A man who was convicted in a high-profile kidnapping case in southeast Iowa 36 years ago has died in prison. Robert Ray Padgett was 79. The Iowa Department of Corrections reports he was housed in the Iowa State Penitentiary Hospice Care Unit, where he died of natural causes stemming from dementia.
Padgett was 43 in 1979 when he was arrested for kidnapping an 11-year-old girl from a dance studio in Fort Madison. Police said Padgett took the girl to a motel in Coralville where she was sexually abused and held captive for two days.
The victim was then released in Sigourney and Padgett was captured in Muscatine. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
At the time of his arrest, Padgett was a convicted sex offender who had just been released from prison in April 1978.