Courthouse Steps Mavens / Partner Murders
/ Archives / 10-25-2009 / Curtis C. Bailey, 33{desc: Denise Leone Frei, Jacob Scott Hilgendorf & Jessica Ann Dayton}

Topie: Curtis C. Bailey, 33{desc: Denise Leone Frei, Jacob Scott Hilgendorf & Jessica Ann Dayton}
July 22nd, 2009 06:01 AM
Wynona Marengo slaying ruled homicide,0,5997278.story

Associated Press

July 20, 2009

MARENGO, Iowa - Bond has been set at $500,000 each for three people charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a 33-year-old Marengo man.

The body of Curtis Bailey was found early Sunday.

The defendants in the case, 43-year-old Denise Leone Frei of Marengo and 19-year-old Jacob Scott Hilgendorf and 19-year-old Jessica Ann Dayton, both of Belle Plaine, made their initial court appearances in Iowa County District Court on Monday.

All three defendants are being held in the Iowa County jail.

Officials with the sheriff's office say an autopsy was performed Monday and that Bailey's death has been ruled a homicide.

The investigation is continuing.
July 22nd, 2009 06:04 AM
Wynona Three murder charges follow Marengo man's death

the des moines register

July 20, 2009

Marengo, Ia. - A Marengo man was killed Sunday and three people have been charged with first-degree murder, according to the Iowa County sheriff's office.

Curtis Bailey, 33, was found at his home at 220 W. Main St. Police were called at 1:48 a.m.

Jacob Scott Hilgendorf, 19, of Belle Plaine; Denise Leone Frei, 43, of Marengo; and Jessica Anne Dayton, 19, of Belle Plaine were all charged with first-degree murder.

Frei and Bailey lived together.

An autopsy is scheduled for today. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the investigation.

Lisa Schlabach, a neighbor of Bailey's for 16 years, said he worked hard and was a private person. "He was very nice, very polite, very mannerly," she said.

Sunday's incident in Marengo, which has a population of about 2,500, came six weeks after a man allegedly shot and killed Amy Gephart, 36, in his home near Marengo.

"I am just so shell-shocked," Schlabach said.

Tonch Weldon, 37, faces first-degree murder charges in the June 7 death.
July 22nd, 2009 06:09 AM
Wynona Community Reacts to Murder Investigation

July 20, 2009

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.
August 1st, 2009 12:47 AM
Rear Window Arraignments set next month in Marengo murder

Jul 30, 2009

Denise Frei, Jacob Hilgendorf and Jessica Dayton.

The three people charged with the first-degree murder of Curtis Bailey will be arraigned at 9 a.m. Aug. 13 in Iowa County District Court.

Denise Frei, 43, of Marengo, Bailey’s common-law wife, and Frei’s son, Jacob Hilgendorf, 19, and Hilgendorf’s friend, Jessica Dayton, 19, both of Belle Plaine, are accused of killing Bailey, 33, of Marengo, at his home July 19.

Marengo Police Chief Galen Moser has refused to release how Bailey died and the weapon used to kill him. Police did, however, release autopsy results last week that confirmed Bailey’s death was a homicide.
August 13th, 2009 08:12 PM
Crazy Joe 3 Plead Not Guilty In Marengo Slaying

Aug 12, 2009

MARENGO, Iowa (AP) ¯ Three people charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Marengo man have filed pleas of not guilty in Iowa County District Court

The defendants in the case, 43-year-old Denise Leone Frei of Marengo and 19-year-old Jacob Scott Hilgendorf and 19-year-old Jessica Ann Dayton, both of Belle Plaine, submitted their pleas in writing this week.

The victim, 33-year-old Curtis Bailey, was found dead on July 19.

Police say Frei was Bailey's common-law wife, Hilgendorf was her son and Dayton was a friend of Hilgendorf's.

Hilgendorf didn't waive his right to a speedy trial, and his trial is set for Oct. 12. No trial dates have been set for Frei and Dayton.

All three are being held at the Iowa County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond apiece.
August 27th, 2009 09:17 AM
Xeraphyla Search warrants reveal details of Marengo murder


August 26, 2009

Search warrants returned to the Iowa County District Court reveal more details in the slaying of Curtis Bailey, 33, Marengo.

According to the search warrants, Jacob Hilgendorf, who turned 20 Tuesday, Aug. 25, and his mother, Denise Frei, who turns 44 Friday, Aug. 28, both confessed to killing Bailey in his Marengo home Sunday, July 19.

Jessica Dayton, 19, Belle Plaine, was implicated as taking an active part in the killing.

The search warrants, signed by investigators with the Marengo Police Department, the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, consist of police allegations that have not been proven in court.


According to the search warrants, at 1:50 a.m. Sunday, July 19, officers from the Marengo Police Department and the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office were called to 220 W. Main St., Marengo, for an unresponsive male who had reportedly been assaulted. It was determined that Curtis C. Bailey was the victim of a homicide.

Frei, Bailey’s live-in girlfriend, said she found Bailey downstairs and she was the one who called 911.

Bailey’s preliminary cause of death is blunt force trauma to the back of the head. Deputies observed that Bailey’s skull had been crushed on the left side.

According to Frei, some individuals came to the residence just prior to the incident to make a drug deal with Bailey.

Frei also told officers Hilgendorf and Dayton had been at the residence sometime prior to the homicide. They became possible suspects.

Hilgendorf initially told investigators Dayton was at the residence approximately one hour prior to when the murder was discovered and reported. Hilgendorf came to the residence during that time and picked up Dayton.


During the ensuing investigation, both Frei and Hilgendorf confessed to the murder of Bailey. Frei said Dayton was at the residence at the time of the murder, and that Dayton was involved.

According to Frei’s account, a struggle occurred in the residence. Frei stated that she, along with Hilgendorf and Dayton, participated in the assault and subsequent murder of Bailey.

Hilgendorf also confessed to Bailey’s murder and implicated Frei and Dayton as being active participants in this murder.

Frei stated to the investigators that Dayton assisted in trying to wrap Bailey’s head with Saran wrap and had also struck Bailey in the head with an object during the struggle.

Frei also stated Bailey bit Hilgendorf on the thigh during the struggle.


During an interview with investigators Frei admitted she had stolen a mechanical injector and later injected Bailey with insulin using syringes in a previous attempt to kill him on the night of July 3, but was unsuccessful. She stated one of the syringes was still in the house in a drawer. Investigators saw the syringe in a drawer in the residence.


According to the search warrants, after the July 19 murder, Hilgendorf and Dayton left the residence in Hilgendorf’s black 1994 Ford Explorer and went to Denise Templeton’s residence north of Amana.

They parked the Explorer in Templeton’s garage.

When they left the murder scene they took several items of evidence with them in an attempt to conceal the crime, including one of the murder weapons.

That evidence was recovered in a search warrant.

Bloody clothing, bloody shoes and bloody plastic wrap were amongst the evidence that are believed to belong to Hilgendorf.

Hilgendorf changed clothes at Templeton’s.

Investigators have not been able to locate Hilgendorf’s clothing at Templeton’s residence where he described they would find it.


Hilgendorf and Dayton drove a 2001 Plymouth Neon belonging to Templeton to the sheriff’s office at approximately 8 a.m. Sunday, July 19, to be interviewed.

Dayton initially told investigators that she had been sleeping at Templeton’s and they came to the sheriff’s office when they heard what had happened.

Hilgendorf refused to give investigators consent to search his Explorer because of some possible drug paraphernalia contained inside.

After being interviewed, Dayton left the sheriff’s office at approximately 12 p.m. to go to Belle Plaine and get her medication. During this time period she also made a call to Templeton and told her not to let the police search the Explorer that Hilgendorf had parked in her garage or “they would all go to prison for a long time.”

Police were at Templeton’s residence at the time of the phone call and overheard the conversation.

The investigators looked into Hilgendorf’s vehicle from the outside without touching the vehicle and in plain view observed a glove that appeared to have blood on it, an object wrapped in a towel near the console area and a dark colored bag in the back.

Hilgendorf has stated that a rock is within the vehicle that was used against the victim.

After receiving a search warrant for the Explorer, investigators seized plastic wrap, a rock, rubber gloves, a BB gun, a pair of shoes, a piece of drift wood, fragments of a glass candy jar and PVC pipe.

Dayton came back to the sheriff’s office voluntarily a couple of hours later for a second interview. She left in the Neon, and was driving the Neon when she returned to the sheriff’s office. While she was in Belle Plaine, Dayton was observed driving a red 2003 Hyundai Tiburon that was registered to her.

She was also wearing a different set of clothing from what she had the first time she was interviewed.

Dayton’s clothing and shoes she was wearing when she helped commit the murder have not been recovered.

While conducting a search warrant at Bailey’s home, investigators seized six bags of pills, two metal boxes containing a small amount of marijuana, three baggies of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. They also seized glass fragments, a candy dish, an ashtray fragment and a PVC elbow all from the living room. Officers also took two socks from outside the house.

All three suspects were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. They are currently being held at the Iowa County Jail.

Frei and Dayton both stand trial Monday, Sept. 28, in Iowa County District Court. Hilgendorf is scheduled to appear in Iowa County District Court Oct. 12.
August 27th, 2009 09:19 AM
Xeraphyla Woman, son confess to role in Marengo man's death

Associated Press

August 26, 2009

Marengo, Ia. — According to search warrants returned in Iowa County District Court, Curtis Bailey's common-law wife and her son confessed to taking part in the struggle that killed the Marengo man.

But Denise Leone Frei, 43, of Marengo and her son, Jacob Scott Hilgendorf, 19, of Belle Plaine, said their co-defendant, Jessica Ann Dayton, 19, also of Belle Plaine, is the one who hit Bailey on the head, causing his death. Dayton has not confessed to any role in the murder.

Iowa County deputies found Bailey, 33, dead at his home on July 19. The preliminary cause of death was given as blunt-force trauma to the back of his head.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder.