Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
On April 2, 1976, Alice was last seen at her apartment by her children before they went to bed. Her six year old son told investigators that when he woke up on Saturday morning his mother was not there. Alice's purse and money were found in the apartment and relatives believe she left without a coat and shoes. Investigators found Alice’s car door open, the keys in the ignition.
Neighbors found her children alone in the apartment two days later and reported her as missing that same day.
Alice Van Alstine was a former “Minutemen” sympathizer who’d recently abandoned the right-wing paramilitary organization. Almost all of Alice’s close family members and friends believed she’d been kidnapped and assassinated by Minutemen or Minutemen sympathizers because she wanted to leave the organization but knew too much about their activities in Iowa and was considered a “traitor.” Alice had witnessed plenty while married to her first husband, Lee Harlow Andre, and already had begun cooperating with officials. Andre acknowledged he’d dropped by Alice’s apartment the night she disappeared to discuss the matter with her.
Minutemen believed a Communist takeover was eminent, and were known for stockpiling weapons, ammunition and explosives, and plotting and carrying out right-wing paramilitary activities.
Alice stated in a sworn deposition that while married to Andre, suitcases belonging to Minutemen were left at her home, that one suitcase contained a Bible with secret coded messages, that the suitcases were burned when Minutemen were sought by authorities, and that stolen weapons and explosives were stored in her barn. In that same deposition, Alice acknowledged explosives had been used to bomb a Des Moines home and that she’d been visited by FBI agents.
Most of the original investigative materials were destroyed in 1993 floods.
Alice was married to Lee Harlow Andre in 1967, and married Merlyn Everett Van Alstine in 1975. She was a 1965 graduate of Albia High School and had attended Iowa State University. She left behind her parents and four children.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Polk County Sheriff's Office
Iowa Cold Cases