Jessica Altman doesn't remember much about her mother - or about the night Angela Altman was murdered in their apartment.
"I don't have any memories of that night, except I know she was arguing with someone, someone, and it was a man," Jessica Altman said in a telephone interview. "To say who that was today, I have no idea."
Although published reports at that time said one of the 22-year-old's sisters found her body, Jessica Altman said she, not her aunt, made the discovery.
"I remember waking up," Jessica Altman said. "I remember finding her body. I remember the phone calls. I remember telling the people who called that I couldn't wake her up. I remember my aunt coming there and finding her body."
Police reportedly arrived shortly after 3 p.m. on Jan. 24, 1981, apparently some 8 to 10 hours after Angela Altman's death.
Officials interviewed the then-4-year-old, but according to an article in the Feb. 18, 1982, edition of The Messenger, they considered the child "too young to be a credible witness."
The same article said no weapon was ever found and no motive was established in the killing. A juvenile suspect was arrested, charged and later released.
Her mother's death - and the lack of any resolution of the crime - has naturally had a major influence on her adult life, Altman said.
"I think it made me a more determined person; it's just made me more determined not to let that traumatic event define my life," she said.
Altman, who moved in with her grandmother after her mother's murder, left Fort Dodge in 1997. She joined the U.S. Army in 1998 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. After leaving the Army, she went to nursing school and earned a bachelor of science degree. She has been married for 14 years and has two daughters and a son.
"My children know what happened to my mom," Altman said. "Of course, they don't understand the impact that it had and has on me. I'm thankful to be able to be a part of my children's lives as my mother wasn't able to be a part of mine."
Jessica Altman lives in Tennessee and works in the mental health field, where she regularly sees people with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is, she said, a condition she understands well.