In “On The Case With Paula Zahn: Room 106,” an Investigation Discovery episode about the 1982 slaying of Lee Rotatori in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There are so many speculations about Jerry Nemke and his suspicious death that still shocks the entire world. Various people have their diverse range of theories behind the sudden death of Jerry Nemke. If you’re also a fan of murder mysteries and solving killing crimes, you should not miss this article. Read more to know if Jerry Nemke was killed by Thomas Freeman and how actually Jerry Nemke died.
Did Jerry Nemke Kill Thomas Freeman?
Although it took investigators 40 years to determine who killed the food service manager, they were never able to locate this man-Thomas Freeman. The reason? Thomas died in 1982, a few months after Lee Nemke’s own murder (his husband Jerry was named as a suspect). Investigators could not catch the man they thought was Thomas Freeman, as he himself had died years earlier. Thomas Freeman who was a very dear friend of Jerry Nemke was himself a target of murder which resulted in his brutal death in October 1982. In criminal investigations carried out after Freeman was suspicious of missing from his home, he was found dead in his house.
How was Thomas Freeman Killed?
According to the reports, it was confirmed that Thomas Freeman was a victim of homicide. Jerry Nemke—who was named a suspect in both deaths—was killed while Sandra Lee’s family members are left to wonder if anyone will ever find out their own mother or sister’s fate. As it turns out, Freeman had been dead for nearly three months when his bullet-riddled body was found in a shallow grave on October 30, 1982 (so 3 months after Rotatori) depending on the timeline. The Council Bluffs, Iowa and Illinois detectives are working together to find the person who killed Freeman. As of Friday, there is no evidence that the truck driver knew the young wife and mother.
Who is Lee Gunsalas Rotatori and How is she connected with Freeman and Nemke’s deaths?
Lee Gunsalas Rotatori, the first female to become a food service manager at The Chicago company, began her career at Service-Master Inc. In June 1982, Lee Gunsalas Rotatori went to work at the Jenny Edmondson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She joined Service-Master Inc., a company that employed food service managers to work in hospitals. While working at The Chicago company, she earned her bachelor’s degree in dietary services and a master’s degree in food nutrition from the University of Wisconsin. After earning those degrees, she joined Service-Master Inc.
On June 25, 1982, Louise Lee failed to appear for her first day of work. Her employers called the motel where she was staying and asked if they could check on her; when staff members knocked on the door of #19, however, it opened only a crack before slamming shut again. They pushed their way into Lee’s room and found her dead body lying facedown in a pool of blood.
Police were able to trace DNA found on Rotatori’s body back through genetic pedigree, which led them to Freeman. But when they tried to arrest him at his home in West Frankfort, Illinois—a town that had once been known as “the Gopher Capital of the World”—they discovered he was long dead: In October 1982, 35-year-old Thomas O. Freeman had been buried in a shallow grave near Cobden.
Nemke comes into the picture as he was married to Rotatori. Detectives traditionally start with the spouse of a murder victim, and Jerry Nemke has a lengthy criminal record. They may have seen him as a reliable candidate for the brutal act.
Nemke was suspected of assaulting a 16-year-old waitress, Marilyn Duncan. The assault took place at the back of a factory in Chicago and left Duncan bleeding and unconscious. Duncan passed away 2 days later in hospital.
Jerry Nemke’s Cause of Death
In May 1960, Jerry was caught stealing a car and given the death penalty. The following year, his sentence was reversed; he stood trial again at which time he was convicted once more of grand theft auto and sentenced to 75–100 years in prison. Jerry died of natural causes in March 2019, three years before the police identified Thomas as Lee’s killer. Because they couldn’t connect him to the crime at that point, detectives didn’t consider Jerry a suspect.