Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 28, 2010

Community remembers loved one two years after his unsolved death

Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson and a business owner living in Mystic also contribute to the story.

Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — By Sarah (Deatsch) Richardson

When I was growing up, I couldn’t imagine a better place to call home.  Centerville, for me, meant participating in the athletic programs, going to football games and cruising the square. But what I loved the most were the people. I had always known that I had a great and unique family. We truly enjoyed being together. We were more than family; we were friends. But beyond my family at home, I never felt unsafe or unsupported in this community. I really felt that the people in the community wanted all of its students to be happy and to succeed.  It was with that same love and confidence from the community that I moved to New York to start my career.

At four in the morning on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 two officers of the New York Police Department were there to inform us that my dad, Chuck Deatsch, was dead.

This sort of thing was supposed to happen in New York, not in Centerville and not to my family.

It’s now been two years since my dad was taken from us. Two years and we still have no answers, no closure to our sadness and disbelief. For my family, there is a part of us that will never believe that he’s really gone. There is a part of us that will never fully heal. I imagine this will always be true, but the road to healing can only be started in one way. We need to know why. My mom and dad were best friends. My sister and I respected and loved both of our parents. We considered our dad to be a confidant and friend. He was a great listener and knew when to give advice and when to let us learn for ourselves. He was the heart and soul of our family. He was the one that brought our family to Centerville. He and mom decided about a year before he died that they wanted to buy the house in Mystic and renovate the basement to be exactly the space they had dreamed of. They designed it to be the home that they could retire in. It was the house where my parents dreamed of having grandchildren visit.

In July, Chuck Deatsch’s first grandchild will be born. While we are obviously thrilled with the news, there is a part of this news that is bittersweet. As my mom says, “Your dad would have been over the moon.” My children and my sister’s children will never know their granddad. They will never get to experience the incredible love that he gave us as children for themselves.

Nothing will ever bring my dad back. Nothing will ever fill the holes in our hearts. But in order for us to begin to heal, we are pleading that any information that anyone has, whether or not you think it’s been shared already, be shared with the authorities. All information is important. No matter what it is, it might be the difference for my dad’s case.

I am personally pleading with the community that I have always been proud to be a part of, that if anyone knows anything, please do the right thing and come forward. I realize that this may be a scary thing to do, but this is the only way our community as a whole can recover from this tragedy. Our family realizes that mistakes happen and as hard as it is to admit to what has happened; sometimes seemingly meaningless decisions have devastating results. For two years, we’ve lived in fear and discomfort. For two years, some of you have lived in fear and discomfort. Please do the right thing now.

If not for our family or the peace of mind of the community, please think of the future generations who will never know the happiness I knew as a child with my dad. Remember that while the world continues to go on, there is a part of us that will never be the same. It breaks my heart to think about my mother’s life without the love and support of her best friend.

Thank you again for those of you who have provided support and love to our family. We can’t emphasize enough how much it has meant to us. We look forward to the day that we can begin to heal when the answers that we need to start down that path have been surfaced. As a community, please help us answer just one big yet simple question...WHY?

Sarah (Deatsch) Richardson, on behalf of the entire Deatsch family

By Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson:

Today is the two year anniversary of the death of Elmer “Chuck” Deatsch, who was a loving husband and father and a respected member of our community. Chuck Deatsch died on April 28, 2008 from a single gunshot through a window at his residence in rural Mystic. Sheriff Anderson stated “the case is still under investigation with progress being made but we still need help from the community. We understand that it is very possible that Mr. Deatsch’s death could have been accidental. It is very important that anyone with even marginal involvement should not be afraid to come forward with information.”

Anyone with any type of information or any involvement is asked to help give closure to the Deatsch family. Anyone with information or is wishing to come forward, can contact the Sheriff’s Office at e-mail:, or by calling (641) 856-3134; (641) 437-7100 or P.O. Box 474, Centerville, Iowa, 52544.

Randy Walker, owner of Walker Welding:

“I have lived in the Mystic area all my life. Mystic is a close-knit community. I am convinced that someone has information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, that will help bring closure to the Deatsch family and the community. I urge anyone who knows something, who may have heard something, or who even may have been involved to do the right thing and come forward. I know that a significant reward has been offered, but I believe that the prospect of closure is more important to those of us in the community who are able to provide assistance.”