OSAGE, Iowa – In March of 2012, 14 year old Noah Crooks shot and killed his mother Gretchen Crooks in their Osage home and a year later, a jury convicted the teen of second degree murder. Now, the house where the Crooks’ family lived will soon be demolished.
Gwen Paulson and her husband have been living off of Cameo Avenue in Osage for more than 20 years, and as she looks down the road, memories of the good and the bad settle in.
“They had horses, and he would ride by at night. They just moved from Charles City and said boy, it’s nice to have neighbors to come up and visit with you a little bit,” said Paulson.
Paulson is referring to her former neighbors, William and Gretchen Crooks, but more than two years ago, their neighborhood road became part of a murder investigation. The Crook’s 14 year old son Noah shot and killed his mother at home, and now, the house has been sitting vacant, reminding those like Paulson of that horrible event.
“I’ve never been happy when people clean out groves and stuff. It doesn’t seem to be a situation they can change, because nobody is going to buy it,” said Paulson.
Sheriff Greg Beaver with Mitchell County says the house was sold through the sheriff’s office to a local resident. He plans to demolish the home and turn it into farmland. Sheriff Beaver says he spoke with the family after the trial ended last May, and knew, no one would be returning.
“The feeling I got was that their family would never be here again, and this would be the end that it would come to, and if finally has,” said Beaver.
For the Sheriff, and those living near-by it’s a goodbye they’re ok with.
“I think anytime we can get rid of a farmstead like this, that reminds us of some tragic events that occurred almost three years ago, is a good thing,” said Beaver.
Paulson said, “I guess so, they say out of sight out of mind, so hopefully that will kind of make us feel a little bit better.”
Noah Crooks is currently under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court until he is 18. In the meantime, Sheriff Beaver stresses that he wants people to think of the positive now, and remember all the great work Gretchen did while alive. Especially her work at Mercy hospital.