Who Murdered Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson in 2001?

Published: Updated: 0 comment

The Quad Cities comprise four cities – two in Illinois and two in Iowa. On the Illinois side, there is Moline and Rock Island; on the Iowa side, Bettendorf and Davenport.

Yvonne “Bonnie” Nicholson was born in Rock Island on February 21, 1969, and resided there her entire life. Bonnie worked in several factories and frequented Baldie’s and Buck’s Tap in Rock Island and possibly downtown Davenport.

At age 27, she pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance and a forgery charge in two separate incidents. 

Bonnie was placed on two years probation for both convictions. After violating the terms of her probation, a Rock Island County Circuit judge revoked her probation and sentenced her in November 1999 to over three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Bonnie, 32, was released from prison on November 2, 2001. Ten days later, at around 9:30 a.m. on Monday, November 12, two construction workers spotted Bonnie’s body near Davenport’s Credit Island, partially submerged along the banks of the Mississippi River about five feet from shore and 75 feet from the road near South Concord Street.

Bonnie was clothed only in a sweatshirt, shorts, and socks.

Jody Ewing writes, “The Davenport Fire Department provided officials with a ladder truck to get an overhead look at the scene, and investigators took photos inside the bucket at the ladder’s tip. Officials constructed a plywood walkway through the mud and shallow water to retrieve Nicholson’s body from the river.”

Police identified Bonnie using fingerprints on file in Rock Island County, Capt. David Struckman said.

Bonnie’s body was transported to Rockford, Illinois, for an autopsy the day after her murder. The autopsy concluded that she had been strangled.

In August 2003, the Quad Cities area was experiencing a severe late-summer drought, and the Mississippi River was noticeably low. Average rainfall during August was 4.41 inches; that year, only 1.70 inches of rain had fallen. The drought had left the crime scene dry for the first time since Bonnie’s death. 

Detectives returned to the crime scene and sifted through the thick mud left by retreating water in the river. 

Investigators excavated a 20-foot-by-15-foot area and sifted through the mud looking for Bonnie’s belongings and clues to her killer. One used a metal detector inside the search perimeter, and while it beeped a few times, the detective did not find anything of value to the investigation.

Police never arrested anyone in Bonnie’s homicide, and her case remains unsolved. Nearly six years later, two more women would be brutally killed in the Quad-Cities area.

Angela “Angie” Hennes

Yvonne "Bonnie" Nicholson: photo of another victim, Angela "Angie" Hennes
Angie Hennes (Photo credit: Quad-City Times)

Angela “Angie” Hennes was born in Omaha on November 4, 1964, to William and Linda Hennes. She attended Davenport schools, graduating high school in 1985. Afterward, Angie enrolled at Scott Community College.

Angie gave birth to her first son, Matthew William Hennes, in 1983. Her second son, Daniel Jacob Priester, was born 15 years later. 

Angie had struggled with drugs. During a custody trial involving Daniel, she and Daniel’s father both admitted to being addicted to crack cocaine at the time of the boy’s birth.

Angie also had a criminal past involving forgery, theft, and prostitution and spent some time in prison. In late 2006, she moved into an apartment at 411 W. 4th Street in Davenport.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2007, temperatures reached 50 degrees with a low of 31. Angie, 41, and her boyfriend went out that night, but Angie never returned home. 

Then, on January 13, 2007, farmer Gerald Bolt was checking his property in the 15000 of 100th Avenue around 4 p.m. when he found Angie’s burned body face down in a fetal position near a patch of burned grass. She had duct tape on her mouth. 

Bolt had previously checked his property on January 10.

Toxicology reports showed Angie did not have alcohol or drugs in her system. The medical examiner concluded she had been dead for two or three days at most, despite having been missing for ten days. She had been strangled with a zip tie and was five months pregnant. 

Police learned that Angie’s cell phone had shut off the day she disappeared.

Angie’s boyfriend said he last saw her at about 9 p.m. on January 3, 2007, heading to the grocery store. He thought he might have seen her entering a vehicle later.

Angie was often seen walking alone or with her boyfriend on fourth, third, and second streets between her residence and Myrtle Street.

Agnes McFedries-Kennedy

Yvonne "Bonnie" Nicholson: photo of another victim, Agnes McFedries-Kennedy
Agnes McFedries-Kennedy (Photo credit: Quad-City Times)

Born on September 28, 1956, to Scotty and Jean McFedries, Agnes McFedries-Kennedy was the oldest of four children. Her family came to the U.S. from Scotland. Her parents called her Aggie.

Agnes graduated from Davenport Central High School & Iowa State University in Ames with a teaching degree. She worked as a teacher’s aide for less than a year at Davenport’s Williams Intermediate School.

By age 26, Agnes was divorced. The newly single mother could not support herself and her three children on a teacher’s aide salary. She quit her job and started working in a seedy massage parlor that she later admitted was a front for sex work.

Agnes had an addiction to crack cocaine and would sometimes disappear for days; her three sisters would search for her. If they found her, they would encourage her to seek help. She also had been in trouble with the law on numerous occasions, primarily minor offenses, including prostitution and harassing a public official.

When Angie Henness was murdered, Agnes was in a drug rehabilitation center. She wrote in one of her journals, “Nobody should die at the hands of a freak! I don’t want to die like that. Angela … It could have been me.”

The last family member to speak with Agnes was her sister Jean McFedries on a phone call. Agnes did not want to invite her daughter’s boyfriend, William Morgan, to Christmas dinner, and Jean got mad at her for it, not seeing any harm in asking him.

Morgan and Agnes’ daughter, Desiree Kennedy, lived together at 801 W. 15th St., Davenport, and he was known to be physically abusive.

On Saturday, December 22, 2007, Agnes, 51, went to work. She was last seen at Chuck’s Tap in Davenport, where she got change for a hundred-dollar bill and left.

Later that night, a couple returning home found Agnes unconscious in a wet downtown alley sandwiched between west seventh and eighth streets in the 1800 block. They called the police around 8:30 p.m.

The weather kept changing from rain to sleet to snow, so her body lay in puddles, which likely destroyed potential evidence.

Agnes wore a red and white top, tan pants, and black socks. Her coat, purse, and shoes were missing. Her body was still warm to the touch when found. There were indications that Agnes had fought her attacker.

Paramedics transported Agnes to a local hospital, but they could not revive her, and she was pronounced dead.

Autopsy results showed Agnes had been strangled, like Angie and Bonnie.

Police spent the holiday weekend gathering evidence and interviewing Agnes’ family and friends to determine her whereabouts on December 22. 

Throughout the police investigation, there were several persons of interest, including Morgan. While Morgan had been in and out of prison, he was not named a suspect in Agnes’ killing, although he remains a person of interest.

Another man, Jesse Stewart, lived near the crime scene. He claimed he was a minister trying to help Davenport prostitutes. In reality, he would lure them to his house, lock them up in his basement and give them crack cocaine in exchange for sex. He is serving a life sentence for drugs.

Chad Welsh: A Killer Caught

In June 2011, Scott County deputies charged Chad Welsh of Burlington with first-degree murder. DNA found at the Hennes crime scene matched his DNA on file from previous unrelated child pornography charges in 2008.

A few months later, in 2012, a jury found Welsh, 34, guilty after he admitted to hiring Angie for sex and choking her during the encounter but not with the intent to kill. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Police considered Welsh a person of interest in Bonnie and Agnes’s murders due to the similarities. All three women were found strangled to death, had criminal histories, and were sex workers. However, there is no evidence linking Welsh to Agnes and Bonnie’s murders.

Agnes’s family believes someone known to Agnes killed her. However, the police think a random stranger is responsible.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

I have been to Davenport a few times. I don’t like the downtown area; a lot of shit happens there. However, farther north, by the Northpark Mall on Kimberly Road, you will find a nice shopping area with motels, restaurants, gas stations, etc. I like that part of Davenport. The crimes in this article occurred in the downtown area.

I chose to lead my article with Bonnie’s case. Unlike Agnes and Angie, the local media have not covered her homicide nearly as much. I think you can figure out why. It’s irritating. I found a 2002 QC-Times article titled “3 Ex-cons Slain After Getting Out.” Bonnie is one of the three. JFC, she was a human being! The other two mentioned were men.

I do not believe Welsh killed Agnes or Bonnie. Angie’s body was discovered nearly eight miles from Agnes’s location and seven miles from Bonnie’s.

Bonnie was found dressed only in a sweatshirt, shorts, and socks, suggesting that she might have been home relaxing, maybe watching television, and her killer took her from her apartment. I think she knew her killer, and they might have knocked on her door, and she answered. I hate that there is not a lot of info on Bonnie’s case.

Agnes was also found without shoes, but I do not think her murder is related to Bonnie’s, although it is possible. There is a possibility that Morgan killed Agnes. From what I read, he had served some time in prison, but I’m not sure why. But would he kill her over not being invited to Christmas dinner? 

Well, maybe not, but it does not sound like Agnes liked him, and we know he was abusive to Desiree. So, there could have been tension between Agnes and Morgan before her murder.

Angie’s autopsy revealed she had only been dead three days at the most. Investigators had no idea back then where she had been for 10 days before her murder. I could find nothing on this after Welsh’s arrest. Was she with him the entire time or someone else before Welsh hired her?

Sources:

“Davenport Police Investigate Suspicious Death.” Quad-City Times, December 24, 2007.

Ewing, Jody. “Agnes McFedries Kennedy.” Iowa Cold Cases, September 17, 2020. https://iowacoldcases.org/case-summaries/agnes-kennedy/.

Ewing, Jody. “Angela Marie Hennes.” Iowa Cold Cases, July 16, 2018. https://iowacoldcases.org/case-summaries/angela-hennes/.

Ewing, Jody. “Yvonne Nicholson.” Iowa Cold Cases, November 11, 2020. https://iowacoldcases.org/case-summaries/yvonne-nicholson/

Geyer, Thomas. “Witness Sought in Unsolved Homicide.” Quad-City Times, September 27, 2007.

McGlynn, Ann. “Police Seek Help in Hunt for Killer.” Quad-City Times, November 17, 2001.

Ottier, Morgan. “Who Killed Agnes? Police Revisit Davenport Cold Case on Ten-Year Anniversary.” KWQC, December 20, 2017. https://www.kwqc.com/content/news/Who-Killed-Agnes-Police-revisit-Davenport-cold-case-on-ten-year-anniversary-465464773.html.

Wellner, Brian. “Agnes Kennedy’s Homicide Remains Unsolved 10 Years Later.” Quad-City Times, December 22, 2017.

“Yvonne Bonnie Nicholson (1969-2001) .” Find a Grave. Accessed November 18, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/111581084/yvonne-bonnie-nicholson.

Leave a Comment

About Me

True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

You cannot copy the content of this page!

Skip to content