Slain Council Bluffs woman, husband had troubled history -
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 12:27 pm
Slain Council Bluffs woman, husband had troubled history

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The domestic dispute that led to a fatal shooting Tuesday wasn't the first time that police had been called to the home of Darwin and Millisa Cox.

Darwin Cox had been arrested Sept. 12 and charged with aggravated domestic abuse involving his wife. He pleaded not guilty to that charge Friday, said Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber.

A restraining order obtained by Millisa Cox was lifted 11 days after that incident, one of many in September that resulted in a visit to the Cox home by authorities.

Millisa Cox, 44, was pronounced dead Tuesday at Mercy Hospital. She had been shot in the back, police said.

Darwin Cox, 55, wounded by a self-­inflicted gunshot, is expected to recover. He was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center.

Wilber said an arrest warrant hadn't been issued for Cox, but he would probably be charged with first-degree murder after his release from the hospital.

Millisa Cox is the fourth person to die this year as a result of domestic violence in Iowa, said Diane McKee, program manager of the Catholic Charities Phoenix House shelter in Council Bluffs. Three women have died in Omaha from domestic violence injuries this year.

Darwin Cox has at least two previous domestic assault arrests and two assault arrests in Pottawattamie County dating to 1996. All were dismissed in court. Millisa Cox had at least one domestic assault arrest as well, in a 2010 incident that was dismissed.

Darwin Cox kept police at bay for more than an hour Tuesday after the shooting of his wife.

The disturbance began about 8:15 a.m. at 3441 Ave. B, two blocks north of West Broadway. It ended about 9:45 a.m. with Darwin Cox being carried out on a gurney.

Cox suffered a gunshot wound to the head that was superficial, said Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Chad Meyers.

Alex Dolezal, 17, who lives across the street and is a friend of the Coxes' 16-year-old son, Morgan Cox, said an argument began Monday night. He heard screaming and went to the house to offer help.

Dolezal said he saw Millisa Cox “throw a pair of scissors that stuck in the back” of Darwin Cox and then fell out.

Dolezal, 17, and his friend Ozzie Palen, 15, said they were able to calm things down at the Cox house.

“We sat around for a few hours, shooting the breeze. We talked for a good two hours,” said Palen. “We thought it was done when we left.”

They went home about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Jennie Rolli, who also lives across the street from the home, said Millisa Cox came outside just after 8 a.m., sat down by a tree and began yelling, “Help me! Help me!”

After Millisa Cox was taken to the hospital, officers later surrounded the home and called for negotiators and the SWAT team.

When members of the SWAT team tossed a contact phone through a window, they noticed that Darwin Cox was apparently unconscious on the floor. They rushed inside about 9:45 a.m.

Morgan Cox has been placed with family members, police said. A nearby school, Franklin Elementary, was placed on lockdown during the standoff.

Tammy Pitcher, whose daughter used to date a son of Darwin and Millisa Cox, said she wasn't shocked by the incident.

“There's a lot of violence in the family,” she said.

The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: Alissa Skelton    |   402-444-1066    |  

Alissa is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for

Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Arrest made in teen's shooting death at Benson's Gallagher Park
Section of 50th Street to close for bridge demolition
Nikko Jenkins found guilty of 4 murders
Rather than doing $250K in repairs, owner who lives in lot behind 94-year-old house in Dundee razes it
Plans for new $16M YMCA in Council Bluffs at 'critical juncture'
Woodmen request would take nearly $40M in valuation from tax rolls
With fixed AC, Fort Calhoun's nuclear station ends brief shutdown
Windy day could make driving difficult on east-west roads
Richard Brown steps down as Charles Drew Health Center CEO
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
OPD safety expo set for April 26
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Crew working to disassemble International Nutrition plant
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
18-year-old arrested in stolen-car case
U.S. Senate candidate Bart McLeay trails his 3 GOP rivals in fundraising
86-year-old Holdrege man killed in weekend collision
New police gang intervention specialist knows firsthand about getting involved with wrong crowd
Finally. Spring expected to return. No, really: Warmer-than-average weather in forecast
Four, including Omahan, vie for police chief position in Council Bluffs
In TV ad, Shane Osborn says Ben Sasse 'beholden to Washington'
City Council OKs redevelopment plan for north downtown project
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Home alone: When burglar broke in, 12-year-old locked herself in bathroom, called 911
< >
Breaking Brad: How much would you pay for a corn dog?
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new concession item: a $25 corn dog. For that kind of money, it should be stuffed with Bitcoin.
Breaking Brad: Pothole repair crew gets stuck in a pothole
In East Lansing, Mich., a pothole repair crew got stuck inside a pothole. How did this not happen in Omaha?
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Jessica Lutton Bedient was killed by a drunken driver at age 26 in 2010. Thursday, the widowed husband and other family members will gather with others at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to dedicate a permanent memorial to Jessica.
Breaking Brad: What do the moon, Colorado senators have in common?
How about that "blood red" moon Monday? It was as red as the eyes of a Colorado legislator.
Breaking Brad: Hey, Republicans, are you ready to be audited?
A quick list of audit red flags: 3) You fail to sign your return. 2) You fail to report income. 1) You are a registered Republican.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »