Three arrested after allegedly hiding body of Oskaloosa OD victim

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Arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of Ashley Shafer were, from left, Cody Vancenbrock, 27, Nicholas Kelly, 28, and Holly Kelly, 34, all of Oskaloosa. Shafer was reported missing Aug. 5, and her body was found Aug. 6.


DES MOINES, Iowa — A groteque turn was taken Tuesday in the case of Ashley Shafer, 24, the Oskaloosa woman whose body was found Aug. 6 in the South Skunk River, when three Oskaloosans were arrested for trying secretly to dispose of Shafer’s body after she died of a drug overdose.

Cody Vancenbrock, 27, Nicholas Kelly, 28, and Holly Kelly, 34, were arrested in connection with the investigation that began after Shafer was reported missing Aug. 5.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) described the alleged circumstances of Shafer’s death, claiming Shafer overdosed and died from an injection of methamphetamine administered by Vancenbrock at 1215 Santa Clara St., #4, in Oskaloosa.

Shafer was allegedly at the Oskaloosa apartment with Vancenbrock and the Kellys, a married couple, when “Cody injected Ashley with methamphetamine, which caused her to overdose and, ultimately, die,” the DCI statement said.

After failing to revive Shafer, Vancenbrock and Nicholas Kelly allegedly “drove to rural Mahaska County, where they, in an effort to conceal her overdose death, weighted down Ashley’s body and placed it into the South Skunk River.”

Vancenbrock has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, delivery of a controlled substance, abuse of a corpse and sponsoring a drug house.

Nicholas Kelly has been charged with abuse of a corpse and sponsoring a drug house.

Holly Kelly has charged with aiding and abetting in the abuse of a corpse.

The three suspects are held at the Mahaska County Jail in lieu of bond.

The investigation into Shafer’s disappearance and death was conducted by the DCI, Oskaloosa Police Department, Mahaska County Sheriff’s office and Monroe County Sheriff’s office.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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