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State

Lawyer: Former UI researcher in murder case dies

IOWA CITY — A former University of Iowa researcher has died before the start of his murder trial in the 1997 death of his wife, his attorney said Monday.

John Bloomfield died suddenly Thursday at hospital in Minneapolis, according to Leon Spies. He said Bloomfield’s family confirmed the death. He did not elaborate on a cause of death. Bloomfield was arrested in November 2013 in connection to the death of his wife, Frances Bloomfield, in Iowa City about 17 years ago.

Authorities say he strangled his wife then dumped her plastic-wrapped body in a ditch near Rockford, Illinois.

Bloomfield denied any wrongdoing. He had insisted that he returned from an international business trip to find his home burglarized and blood-stained, with his wife’s car missing. The vehicle later turned up at a New Jersey airport.

Investigators arrested Bloomfield after developing new forensic evidence in the case.

Prior to his death, Bloomfield was being treated for cancer. A judge earlier this year allowed him to live under strict monitoring at his Minnesota home until trial, which was scheduled to start next year.

“He was as much as one could, given the circumstances, eager to have a trial where not only the prosecution’s evidence but evidence we uncovered in our investigation could be presented,” he said.

The attorney said Bloomfield’s illness was physically and emotionally taxing on his client. But he said Bloomfield was “bright and focused and helpful” during a visit to his home a few weeks ago.

“It’s sad that (there will) be this cloud over his name,” he said.

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