Purk murder trial under way

Accused in the death of Cora Okonski


MARENGO — The first-degree murder trial of Tait Otis Purk got under way Monday with jury selection in Iowa County District Court in Marengo.

Purk, 50, was indicted on Dec. 2, 2016, by a Tama County Grand Jury in the death of his fiance, Cora Ann Okonski. She was reported missing in April of 2000 in Tama, and has never been located.

The trial was moved on a change of venue to Iowa County from Toledo. Judge Mitchell E. Turner told perspective jurors Monday morning he expected the trial to last up to six days.

The cold case was reopened by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Tama County Attorney and Iowa Attorney General’s offices, Tama County Sheriff’s Office and Tama Police in 2015.

Purk has been serving a federal prison term on gun and drug charges.