Woman’s Apple Watch led to discovery of her body in lake, cops say. Man now arrested

The discovery of a 20-year-old woman’s body in an Iowa lake has led to charges against a man she was in an “intimate relationship” with, Iowa cops say.

The body of Melody Hoffman was discovered in Amana’s Lily Lake in eastern Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 18, according to the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said she had “numerous stab and slash wounds to her body” and died by strangulation.

Her location was determined thanks to her iPhone and Apple Watch activity, the sheriff’s office said.

While at Morgan Creek Park on Feb. 16, Hoffman’s Apple Watch “recorded her heartbeat intensify before it either stopped or the device deactivated,” according to a complaint.

Going off witness testimonies and the Apple devices’ activity, authorities believed Hoffman was with 23-year-old McKinley Louisma until she died.

Evidence uncovered in a search of Louisma’s vehicle further tied him to Hoffman’s death.

“A search warrant revealed the presence of her phone case, a white Apple Watch band with blood on it, a bungee cord, a towing rope, gloves and clothing matching the clothing she was wearing in a bag in the trunk of his car,” the sheriff’s office said.

Louisma said he and another individual “bound Hoffman with duct tape” at the park and placed her in the trunk of his car, according to the complaint. When they reached the pond, he and the other person ripped off Hoffman’s clothes and abandoned her, he said.

“The defendant reported that she was subject to being physically beaten while she was with him and the other person and was begging to be let go,” Louisma said, according to the sheriff.

He said he was in an “intimate relationship with Hoffman” but also in a relationship with another woman, authorities said. It’s unclear what led to Hoffman being placed in the trunk of the car.

Louisma was charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit forcible crime, but charges have not been filed relating to Hoffman’s death. The identity of the person who was with Louisma has not been announced.

A loved one described Hoffman as a “beautiful soul.”

“Melody was a sweet, caring young lady who had the biggest heart,” Daisy Hoffman said in a Facebook post.

Amana is about 100 miles east of Des Moines.

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