Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

For immediate release: Alex Murphy

Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety

March 23, 2016
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

Iowa DCI Makes Arrest in Union County Homicide Investigation

UNION COUNTY, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), along with the Union County Sheriff's Office, arrested Jennifer Jean Hartley, 43, of Thayer, yesterday, March 22, 2016, and charged her with Murder in the First Degree, a class A Felony, in the death investigation of Loretta Dillinger.

On December 2, 2015, a hunter located a decomposed body in a pond at 1024 Redwood Avenue near the Union County and Madison County line. The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny performed an autopsy and determined the body to be that of Loretta Dillinger, 37.

Through the investigation, DCI Agents determined that Jennifer Hartley acted with Jerry Dillinger to kill Loretta Dillinger. Hartley was part of a plan to have Loretta set fire to two residences, one in Greenfield and one in Thayer. Hartley provided her pistol to Jerry Dillinger to kill Loretta so she wouldn’t disclose any information about the fires. After the fires and death of Dillinger, Hartley knowingly helped conceal Loretta’s death.

Jennifer Hartley is being held in the Ringgold County Jail on $1 million cash-only bond.

Complaint & Affidavit

Media Contact: Alex Murphy, Iowa DCI Public Information Officer at (515) 443-3014 or

Jennifer Jean Hartley, 43

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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