Ilene Gowan Murder: Where is Ivan “Sam” Brammer Now?

Suddenly, Ilene Gowan went missing in 2023, only to be found in a ditch weeks later. This gruesome discovery sent shockwaves across the entire community, affecting the victim’s loved ones the most. Following that, an investigation was launched by the authorities while Ilene’s family attempted to seek justice, all of which is covered in detail in the episode of ‘Murder in the Family’ of A&E’s ‘Killer Cases.’ It also includes several interviews with the loved ones and the officials who worked on the case, directly or indirectly.

Ilene Gowan Was Found Dead in a Ditch After Several Days of Her Disappearance

Welcomed into the world by David G. and Kathleen K. (Redell) Hayden on January 25, 1963, in Geneseo, Illinois, Ilene A. Gowan grew up among several siblings, including twins Mike and Mitch Hayden, Monte Hayden, Mark Hayden, Debbie Hatcher, and Marty Hayden. Described as a sweet and caring person, Ilene had the ability to light up any room she walked into.

Image Credit: FOX 42

Working as a server at Sugars Lounge in Council Bluggs, Ilene Gowan was in a relationship with Ivan “Sam” Brammer and had four children—Jack Kilgore, Nicole Schipper, Katherine Gomez, and Clint (Bailey) Schipper—at the time of her demise. The seemingly happy family life was turned upside down when Ilene did not return home. After not hearing from her since February 13, 2023, Nicole reported her 60-year-old mother missing on February 15. As the police launched a search for the missing woman, they were only met with dead ends for more than a week.

But then, on February 26, 2023, a tragic and gruesome discovery of Ilene’s lifeless and frozen body was made in a ditch near 152nd Street and Old Mormon Bridge Road, near Crescent, Iowa. After taping the crime scene and inspecting the body, the authorities found several bruises all over her body, including a large laceration on her head. They believed that her body had been there since the day she went missing. After conducting forensic tests, the cause of her death was found to be asphyxiation.

A Close One Betrayed Ilene Gowan and Murdered Her

Once the police were done collecting the evidence from the scene of the crime, they began the interrogation process, interviewing Ilene Gowan’s family and friends. They soon learned about the equation that Ilene and her boyfriend Ivan “Sam” Brammer shared, which was described as volatile and unhealthy by many. Their on-and-off relationship allegedly involved frequent verbal fighting, where Ivan showed no respect to his lover at all. Her friends and family claimed that the couple used to get along when they were sober, but things got out of hand when they drank.

One of the fights had gotten so bad that Ivan choked her. Just a week before her disappearance, Ivan had kicked her out of their apartment. He did not allow her access to her personal safe until she paid him $300 in cash, but she got it back eventually. When the detectives questioned him about his whereabouts around the time of her disappearance and murder, he claimed that he picked Ilene up on the morning of February 13, 2023, from her workplace and dropped her at the home of an acquaintance just off Railroad Highway. After that, as per his claims, he simply returned home.

However, when the investigators confronted him about the discrepancies and inaccuracies in his false statement, he ended up changing his story multiple times, raising even more suspicion. According to security footage from certain businesses across the city, the police learned that he had left the city for about an hour or so on February 13, between 9:28 and 10:28 am, when his and Ilene’s phones were in the area of Carter Lake, according to phone records. Before leaving the city, she could be seen active and sitting upright inside his truck, but when the vehicle returned to Council Bluffs at 10:28 am, she was positioned awkwardly in the passenger seat.

When Ivan was at a Sherwood Drive address around 11 am, Ilene was nowhere to be seen in the truck. He then arrived home without his partner in his vehicle. Apart from this evidence, the police also noticed his erratic behavior in the days following her disappearance. For instance, he threatened to die by suicide on February 19 while threatening to kill someone a couple of days later. He even destroyed his truck at Auto Recyclers on February 25. On the charges of inflicting bruises on her head and torso and second-degree theft, the police arrested him in May 2023.

When her body was found, she was still wearing the same outfit she was in at the time of her disappearance, but one of her shoes was missing. Besides that, her cell phone, purse, glasses, and a safe that contained $1,2000 were also not found with her. Then, a couple of days later, Ivan reportedly deposited $1,200 into his bank account. A few months later, in August 2023, with so much evidence against him, he was also charged with second-degree murder in the case of Ilene Gowan’s death.

Ivan “Sam” Brammer is Serving His Sentence in an Iowa Prison

Soon, Ivan Samuel Brammer stood trial for the murder of Ilene Gowan. On November 17, 2023, he was finally found guilty by the jury of all the charges against him. Three months later, on January 18, 2024, he was sentenced to a maximum of 50 years behind bars, in addition to a decade for abusing a corpse and five years for theft. He was ordered to serve the entire 65 years concurrently. Moreover, he was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.

At the sentencing, Ilene’s son, Jack Kilgore, shared his experience of sitting through the trial of his mother’s murder. He addressed the court, “Your honor, I’m asking you to give this monster the maximum sentence, considering he beat our mother, leaving over 30 cuts and bruises on her body.” Currently, Ivan Samuel Brammer is incarcerated at Clarinda Correctional Facility at 2000 North 16th Street in Clarinda, Iowa.

Read More: Bobbie Sue Hill Murder: Where is Larry Driskell Now?