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Press Release

Winnebago Man Convicted of Manslaughter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

Acting United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that a federal jury in the District of Nebraska found Jonathan D. Rooney, of Winnebago, Nebraska, guilty of manslaughter and destruction of evidence. Rooney, 27, killed Kozee Decorah, 22, and then burned her body and other evidence at an abandoned cabin on the Winnebago Indian Reservation.

On May 16, 2020, Decorah called the Winnebago Police Department to report that the vehicle that she, Rooney, and their infant son were using was stuck in the mud in a remote area of the Winnebago Reservation. When Winnebago Conservation Officers located the vehicle, they were unable to locate Decorah, Rooney, or their baby. The officers noticed a fire near midnight in the outhouse of a remote cabin. Rooney was found in the cabin naked in a bed with his clothes missing. The baby was with him. Blood droplets were observed in the cabin. Human remains in the form of a skull were found in the fire. Decorah was identified through dental records.

Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. ordered a presentence investigation report. Rooney will be sentenced on March 11, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Winnebago Police Department, the Winnebago Conservation Office, Winnebago Volunteer Firefighters, and the Nebraska State Fire Marshal.


Updated December 17, 2021

Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime