Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (2024)

SAC CITY, Iowa — A spokesman for David Schultz's family told The Journal Friday they plan to have a private forensic pathology firm conduct a second autopsy on the Wall Lake, Iowa, trucker's body.

Jake Rowley, of the United Cajun Navy, said Schultz's wife, Sarah, gave him permission to set up a GoFundMe online fundraiser. He said they hope to raise at least $10,000 to cover the cost of a second autopsy, as well as Schultz's funeral expenses.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday, an unidentified man reported to the Sac County Sheriff's Office that he found a body in his farm field, according to a statement from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). The farm field is located in the 1900 block of Union Ave. in Sac County, roughly 1 1/2 miles from where Schultz's semi-tractor trailer loaded with hogs was discovered abandoned the afternoon of Nov. 21, the same day the 53-year-old father of 10-year-old twin boys was reported missing. He was last heard from in the early morning hours of Nov. 21.

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"I don't feel comfortable with the results of the initial autopsy," Rowley said by phone. "I think, definitely, in my opinion and in Sarah's opinion both and our conversations together, foul play was involved."

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (1)

Late Thursday afternoon, the DCI announced in a statement that the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner conducted a forensic autopsy on the body and positively identified it as that of Schultz through dental records.

"Preliminary autopsy results show no signs of trauma or serious injury. Further autopsy test results are pending. Authorities do not suspect foul play in the death of Schultz," the statement said.

Rowley and Sarah Schultz are looking into sending the body to Kansas City for the private autopsy, since those services aren't available in Iowa, according to Rowley. He said they are working with Farber & Otteman Funeral Homes to first transport the body from the state medical examiner's office in Ankeny to Sac City.

"Not that I do not trust the officials and what they do, I definitely do," said Rowley, who noted some test results, such as toxicology, have not come back. "There's other parts of this that haven't been completely returned yet. There may be something in that, you know, that hasn't been brought to our attention yet."

Schultz's red Peterbilt semi with white stripes was parked in the middle of the northbound lane of County Road N-14, not far from where it intersects with D-15. The trailer he rented was loaded with pigs, but Schultz was nowhere to be found on that stretch of paved roadway, which is flanked by cornfields. The truck was reportedly shut off, the lights were off and the key was in the ignition. Deputies found Schultz's wallet and cellphone inside. A towel, cellphone charger and pocketknife were found with his coat on the opposite side of the road, according to Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Sarah Schultz, who hadn't yet viewed the body, had a hard time grasping how it "wasn't just bones." From what she understands, her husband's body was found on its back, clad in a T-shirt, which was pulled up.

"He had underwear on, and I think his jeans were down. His cowboy boots were on, I think," she said of the brown Wrangler boots with blue on the soles. "I know they identified him by the boots, because the last time he went and bought boots, he bought two pairs of the exact same ones. I gave the sheriff one of the newer boots to have for comparison."

No matter the weather or the occasion, Schultz always wore cowboy boots, according to his wife.

"He always wore them in the summer and the winter, it didn't matter. He didn't wear work boots, just always cowboy boots and jeans," Schultz said, as she stood outside the white, single-story Sac City Motel, her shoulder-length, wavy, light-brown hair blowing in the wind. "He didn't like it when truck drivers would wear sweatpants and flip-flops. To him, that's just appalling. It's disgusting. He does not respect that. He feels like he's representing the trucking community."

Schultz, who works as a safety coordinator for EVAPCO in Lake View, said she has felt relief and sorrow, since her husband's body was discovered in the freshly tilled field. She said her boss "tricked" her into going for a car ride Wednesday. Since it was such a nice day out, she got into his truck. As he drove, they talked about "work stuff." When they got to Schultz's house, she said he grabbed her hand and told her the sheriff wanted to talk to her. That's when Schultz, who "had a feeling" her husband would be found when farmers were readying their fields, said she knew what had happened.

"I'm glad we know where he is," Schultz said, her brown eyes welling up with tears. "There's still a lot of questions. You know, things just don't make sense."

Rowley told The Journal Wednesday evening, after Schultz's body had been found, the body was located in the original two-mile radius that he had been told law enforcement searched. He said the United Cajun Navy, a nonprofit search and rescue organization which scoured more than 100,000 acres in and around Sac County looking for Schultz, didn't search that particular area. Sarah Schultz even recalled a thermal imaging drone from the Iowa Department of Transportation flying over.

During that interview, Rowley also asserted that Schultz's body was in a state of decomposition inconsistent with having been out in the elements for more than five months; the body, he said, was not as decomposed as it should have been under the circ*mstances, implying that it may have been discarded later.

"There's a very good chance that the body wasn't there even when they searched," Rowley speculated, referring to the search conducted by local law enforcement and emergency responders. "And that the body was placed there after."

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (3)

On Friday, Rowley said, from his understanding, Schultz's body was "unrecognizable" outside of the cowboy boots and dental records.

"Trying to be able to do a thorough autopsy on a body that has a state of decomposition is hard. And so, maybe something was missed, maybe it wasn't," he said. "I'm not an autopsy professional. I'm a search and rescue professional. When it comes to those things, I have to count on the professionals to do what they do, and that's kind of why we're looking at doing a second autopsy."

Rowley remarked "autopsies aren't cheap," and said he's looking into a fund the state has for crime victims. However, he said Schultz's family likely wouldn't be able to tap into that fund to cover funeral expenses, since authorities don't believe foul play was involved at this time. He said he was quoted $6,950 for basic funeral services and $550 to transport the body to Kansas City for an autopsy. He is still waiting to hear how much the second autopsy will cost, but estimates the funeral, body transport and autopsy to be in the neighborhood of $10,000.

"Like Sarah said yesterday, there's very little reason that David would have just stopped that truck on the side of the road, just walked away from it and, then, walked a mile and a half out in the middle of a field and laid down. There's just almost no reason why David would have done that. If there was no foul play, if nobody else was involved in it, then why did David do that? That's a big question," Rowley said. "I think, as far as bringing closure to Sarah and the boys and his parents and the Schultz family, we probably need to go to all ends to try to figure out what happened."

The Journal's coverage of the David Schultz case

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (4)

Lake View police seeking information about missing man

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (5)

Wall Lake trucker's wife makes plea for help after his disappearance

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (6)

Search for truck driver David Schultz yields 'nothing of interest' Sunday; to resume Monday

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (7)

'Nothing new to report' in David Schultz search, Sac County Sheriff says Monday

Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (8)

Woodbury County Sheriff: No link between traffic stop and missing Wall Lake man David Schultz

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Family spokesman: Second autopsy of David Schultz planned, 'Don't feel comfortable with results' (2024)

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