Officials: Appanoose County Murder Suspect Stabbed and Shot Hunter Several Times

CENTERVILLE, Iowa – An arrest has been made in the homicide of a hunter whose body was found in rural Appanoose County on November 25th.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Wednesday morning to release the information. Twenty-seven-year-old Ethan Davis of Promise City is now charged with first degree murder in the death of Curtis Ross.

Officials say Ross, of Cedar Falls, came to Appanoose County on November 23rd to hunt and retrieve hunting equipment he had set out previously. Ross was reported missing in the early hours of November 25th after he didn’t return to the residence where he was staying.

An autopsy determined Ross died from multiple stab wounds and multiple gunshot wounds.

Officials say spent rifle casings found about 20 yards from Ross' body had fingerprints on them belonging to Ethan Davis.

Curtis Ross (WHO-HD)

Investigators received a search warrant for the property where Davis lives in Promise City, which is owned by his parents.  About a mile north of the residence they found a vehicle that had been intentionally concealed. The vehicle was taken to be forensically examined and officials say several areas inside the vehicle tested positive for blood.

Investigators also found a rifle, concealed under farm equipment, on a remote area of the property. Davis’ fingerprints were found on the rifle as well as several traces of blood.

A DCI criminalist firearms expert was able to match casings that were found near where Ross’ body was located to casings fired from the rifle found on Davis’ property.

Davis had been in the Wayne County Jail on unrelated charges when officials charged him with Curtis Ross’ murder.  According to a criminal complaint, Davis is accused of assaulting another man with a pistol on November 24th, the day before Ross was reported missing.  Davis allegedly walked into the home of Jarvis Kennebeck and hit him with a pistol.  Davis then allegedly fired the pistol in the home while holding his 20-month-old son.  Davis is charged with Burglary, Willful Injury and Child Endangerment for that incident.  He is pleading not guilty to those charges.

View the warrant and criminal complaint in the murder case here.