Police Digging Up Des Moines Basement in Woman’s 1960 Disappearance

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines police began excavating the basement of a south side home Monday in their investigation into a woman who disappeared in 1960.

Police say ground radar scans of the basement floor at 608 Pleasant View Drive appear to show a hole was possibly dug under the concrete.

“Somebody had disturbed the soil at some point. Maybe dug a hole and the hole measure about five-foot-by-two which was pretty odd,” says Det. Danny White.

Darlene Fitchett was in her 30s when she was last seen. Police were told that she went to California with another man, but she left her all of her belongings behind in the home that she shared with her husband and three children. The only thing missing from the house were some curtains.

Des Moines Police began looking into the case again after receiving a tip in October of 2013 that Fitchett was buried in the basement.

“Her sister from Montana called me after seeing my house was for sale,” said neighbor Marla Hill back in October. “She said her sister had disappeared in that house and she thought her husband had killed her and buried her in the basement.”

Monday afternoon, police had not found anything after digging about three feet in the basement floor. They called in a cadaver dog to help in the search.

“See if they can pick up on anything that maybe will indicate if we should keep digging deeper or if they don’t find anything, maybe she’s not there,” says White.

Police say Fitchett’s husband has since died. Her older sister is still living and they hope she will be able to lay Fitchett to rest during her lifetime.