Community Reacts to Murder Investigation

By Justin Foss, Reporter

MARENGO - Three people charged with first-degree murder in the death of 33-year-old Curtis Bailey made their initial appearance at the Iowa County Jail Monday afternoon.

Bailey's common-law wife 43-year-old Denise Leone Frei of Marengo, her son 19-year-old Jacob Scott Hilgendorf of Belle Plaine, and his friend 19-year-old Jessica Anne Dayton remain in the Iowa County Jail on $500,000 bond. Preliminary hearings for the three are set for July 30 at 1 p.m.

What We Know
Just before two Sunday morning, authorities were called to a house at 220 West Main Street. Inside, they found the body of Curtis Bailey.

A neighbor who lives across the street told TV9 News she woke up to Bailey's common-law wife yelling, "He's not breathing," to authorities.

The Division of Criminal Investigation arrived on scene Sunday morning to help investigate the death. The State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny ruled Bailey's death a homicide after an autopsy Monday.

Neighbors React
Some neighbors say Bailey and his family kept to themselves. Others described him as a great person. "He's a super neighbor. He used to come and bring me mushrooms during mushroom season. Anytime I needed help, he was always there. To me, he was really a good guy, a super guy," says Robert Lindsey, a neighbor.

The Victim
According to neighbors 33-year-old Curits Bailey had lived in Marengo his entire life. Bailey worked at Penny Baker Construction in Cedar Rapids. He also co-owned Bailey's Lincoln Café in Belle Plaine.

Court records show Bailey plead guilty to domestic abuse in 2004.


Family Member of Suspects Speaks Out
A man who knows the three people who allegedly killed a Marengo man say the victim had it coming. Derek Hilgendorf, the brother of Jacob and son of Denise Frei, contact TV9 to tell his family's side of the story. While he doesn't know what happened over the weekend, he says whatever happened, it's because of abuse that started eight years ago.

"I have a mother and a brother that are both in prison, probably for life, for murder, because all they wanted was their family together again." The only recent picture Derek Hilgendorf has seen of his mother is the mug shot police took on Sunday. He says he hasn't talked to her in four years, and he blames all of it on her common-law husband Curtis Bailey, "All I know is my family hasn't been together in almost eight years because of this man, and him not allowing her to go."

Derek says whatever his brother Jacob did, it was done with the best intentions, "He's 19-years-old, all he wanted to do is protect his mother."

Derek talked with his mom and brother after the murder. She wanted Derek to call his brother Aaron who is serving in Iraq, she hasn't talked to him in 8 years.

Derek wants this tragedy to be a lesson for others about abusive relationships, "My mom loved us kids so much that she went back and dealt with all the pain so her family wasn't in danger. And I don't want it to happen to somebody else."

Watch Raw Interview with Derek Hilgendorf


KCRG-TV9 was unable to reach any family members of Jessica Dayton. However her friends say they are shocked, and said she was a good student and a nice person.

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