Three Arrested in Death of Oskaloosa Woman

By Jason Van Arkel, August 20, 2019

Authorities arrested three people on Tuesday, accusing them of being responsible for the death of an Oskaloosa woman earlier this month.

24-year-old Ashley Shafer was found dead in the South Skunk River north of Oskaloosa on August 6th, one day after she was reported missing. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says 27-year-old Cody Vancenbrock, 28-year-old Nicholas Kelly and 34-year-old Holly Kelly were all taken into custody on Tuesday. The Kellys are husband and wife.

Vancenbrock has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, and one count of delivery of a controlled substance. He and Nicholas Kelly also face charges of abuse of a corpse, and sponsoring a drug house. Holly Kelly is charged with aiding and abetting abuse of a corpse.

According to law enforcement, Shafer was at the Kelly’s apartment on August 5th when Vancenbrock injected her with methamphetamine. The injection caused Shafer to suffer a fatal overdose. In an attempt to hide her death, authorities say Vancenbrock and Nicholas Kelly drove Shafer’s body north to the South Skunk River somewhere near the Glendale Access. The two men weighted down her body and dumped it in the river, where it was found the next day.

All three suspects are being held in the Mahaska County Jail. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assisted the Oskaloosa Police Department, the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in investigating Shafer’s death.

As a reminder, a criminal charge is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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