Waterloo veteran remembered after suspicious death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo veteran remembered after suspicious death

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Friends and family members are still wondering how 69-year-old Dennis Washburn died.

They believe he was beaten up and left for dead outside a former elementary school.

Last week he died from his injuries, and on Tuesday dozens of friends and family members paid their final respects at a funeral for the Vietnam veteran.

Police have called Washburn's death suspicious, but investigators said they didn't have enough evidence to classify it as a homicide, which leaves friends and family members frustrated.

"Somebody had to have seen something. Somebody had to have," said Dawn Widmann of Waterloo.

Widmann said her boyfriend was roommates with Washburn.

She was among dozens of friends and family members who attended a luncheon on Tuesday at the Jet Lounge in Waterloo.

The establishment opened early for a memorial luncheon immediately following Washburn's funeral on Tuesday.

"Everybody in the bar knew who he was. Everybody knew his name, his face. Everybody would talk to him," said Manager Matt Oltrogge.

Oltrogge said Washburn frequented the Jet Lounge, visiting the establishment sometimes seven days a week.

"He liked to drink, but he wouldn't hurt a fly, and this was senseless what happened," said Dennis Hartness, a friend of Washburn's.

Friends and family members also collected donations at the memorial luncheon on Tuesday.

They hope a reward will encourage someone to come forward with information.

"We figure more money will get people talking," said Sarah Ernst, a family friend.

Ernst said money collected will be taken to Crime Stoppers and added to its reward, which could increase if Washburn's death is classified as a homicide.

Anyone with information is asked to call police or leave an anonymous tip with Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers: 855-300-TIPS (8477)
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