Arrests Made in South Skunk River Investigation

A Department of Public Safety Press Release 5:22 pm – August 20, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa — On August 20, 2019, authorities arrested 27-year-old Cody Vancenbrock, as well as husband and wife, 28-year-old Nicholas Kelly and 34-year-old Holly Kelly. The arrests come as the result of an investigation into the death of 24-year-old Ashley Shafer, who was found dead in the South Skunk River in Mahaska County on August 6.

On August 5, Ashley was at the Kelly’s Oskaloosa apartment with Cody, Nicholas, and Holly. During the evening, Cody injected Ashley with methamphetamine, which caused her to overdose and, ultimately, die. Cody and Nicholas then 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. On August 6, while investigating a report that Ashley was missing, law enforcement found her body. Authorities conducting the investigation into Ashley’s death included the DCI, Oskaloosa Police Department, Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Cody Vancenbrock has been charged with one count each of Involuntary Manslaughter (Class D Felony), Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Class D Felony), Abuse of a Corpse (Class D Felony) and Sponsoring a Drug House (Aggravated Misdemeanor).

Nicholas Kelly has been charged with one count each of Abuse of a Corpse (Class D Felony) and Sponsoring a Drug House (Aggravated Misdemeanor).

Holly Kelly has been charged with one count of Aiding and Abetting – Abuse of a Corpse (Class D Felony).

All three arrested are being held at the Mahaska County Jail in lieu of bond.

No additional information will be released.

Cody Vancenbrock

Holly Kelly

Nicholas Kelly

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