Arrest Made in Muscatine Roadside Death

By Ellis Codjoe, January 17, 2019

A Marion man is behind bars and charged with the murder of a woman whose body was found along Highway 38 in Muscatine County last week.

Lea Ponce, 20, of Fairfield was last seen getting into the pickup of 35-year-old Douglas Foster at a Walmart parking lot in Muscatine in the early morning of January 8. Shortly after, the body of Ponce was discovered.

The preliminary autopsy revealed that Ponce died from blunt force trauma. Her injuries were consistent with someone who was hit and dragged by a vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, Ponce stole a large quantity of methamphetamine from a drug dealer. The drug dealer then offered a bounty for anyone who could locate Ponce.

Social media messages showed Ponce reached out to several individuals seeking a ride to Cedar Rapids because she believed her life was in danger. Foster agreed to fulfill Ponce’s request. Police believe Ponce and Foster were acquaintances.

Prosecutors say Foster made two calls to the dealer just before authorities found Ponce’s body.

Foster was arrested on Tuesday. He faces the charge of first degree murder. His bond has been set at $3 million.

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