Virgin Lake Body Recovered

On 7-22-20 at 1:16 p.m., the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a passerby of a possible body in Virgin Lake, south of Ruthven, Iowa. Upon arriving at the east boat ramp in the 3700 block of 353 Ave, one body was observed 25 feet from shore. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations was called and the body was removed from the lake and transported to the Iowa Medical Examiners Office in Ankeny, Iowa.

The body was identified as 27 year old Rollin J Bontrager from Washington, Iowa. An autopsy was performed and a final report by the Medical Examiner’s Office will be released to law enforcement when final testing is complete.

On 7-31-20 search warrants were executed at 2 residence in Emmetsburg and three vehicles were also searched. Numerous items were seized and will be analyzed.

Agencies that are assisting in this investigation are the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Palo Alto County Coroner, Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office, the Emmet County and Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Emmetsburg and Spencer Police Department’s, and the Iowa DCI Crime Scene Unit.

The investigation continues. Anyone that may have information concerning this incident is urged to contact the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office at 712-852-3535.

Media inquiries can be made to SAC Darrell Simmons, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations at or by calling 712-322-1585.