Iowa woman claims father was a prolific serial killer who murdered dozens of women
Donald Dean Studey died in 2013 at the age of 75. Now, his daughter is telling Iowa police that he may have murdered as many as 70 women. 53-year-old Lucy Studey McKiddy claims that her father forced her and her three siblings to help transport his victims across the property and hide the bodies in a 90-foot-deep well.
According to McKiddy, her father was often intoxicated and routinely murdered women by bashing them in the head inside a trailer on his property in the remote, small town of Thurman, Iowa, where his family had lived for more than a hundred years. Her reason for coming forward was addressed in a statement she made:
“All I want is to get these sites dug up, and to bring closure for people and to give these women a proper burial. My father was a lifelong criminal and murderer.”
Studey had previously been widowed by two wives who committed suicide. One died by strangulation and the other died of a gunshot wound. It is unknown at this point if either of these deaths is now being questioned.
Studey later threatened to kill the son of his second wife while experiencing a suicidal episode. According to Sheriff Kevin Aistrope, when deputies arrived on the scene, Studey shot himself in the arm. It was only one of several odd encounters with local law enforcement that resulted in any calls made to the property always being responded to by multiple officers.
Though McKiddy has given the authorities and news outlets some conflicting information, Aistrope feels that further investigation is warranted. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office is planning to excavate a portion of land adjacent to the Studey property.
Deputy Sheriff Tim Bothwell, speaking to WHO-13, said that McKiddy had reported the same information to their department back in 2007. At the time, they had excavated a portion of the Studey land and found no evidence to support her claims. The process had cost more than $300,000. However, they have learned that there was another well on adjoining property on which a county-run home for the poor was previously located. Now, a second excavation will take place on that land located behind the Studey property.
Cadaver dogs brought out to aid the search alerted to four separate spots on the property with a strong reaction to the area surrounding the well. The FBI has also been brought in to assist the local authorities and Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigations with the case.
McKiddy’s sister denies the accusations against their father. Susan Studey insisted that her father is innocent of her sister’s accusations. In statements to the press, she said that she is two years older than her sibling and would remember if such events had happened.
“I would know if my dad was a serial killer. He was not, and I want my father’s name restored. He was strict, but he was a protective parent who loved his children. Strict fathers don’t just turn into serial killers.’
In addition to her insistence that the allegations against her father are false, Susan Study claims that the cadaver dogs likely hit on the remains of a stillborn infant sister who was buried in a shoebox on the property and a golden retriever buried on the land rather than any victims her sister claims might be found.
Deputy Bothwell said he had also doubted McKiddy, who admitted to stealing $16,000 from her father in 2007. At that time, it was thought that her claims might be retaliation for the accusations he made against her for theft. However, Sheriff Kevin Aistrope has stated that he intends to see the case through if there might be undiscovered victims that can be recovered for their families.
“I’m not going to let it die. I’m just not gonna let that happen. We’ve got to go with Lucy. No matter if they say it’s not true or say she’s crazy or whatever they can say, we have to look into it. We have no other choice.”
Per the Des Moines Register, McKiddy had made a statement to police last year that she had heard there could be as many as 15 bodies from others but she was only personally aware of five. She told police that she and her siblings were forced to pile dirt and lie on the bodies in the well after they were deposited there.
In an interview with Newsweek, she made a statement that she had watched her father and two others removing a body from the trunk of a vehicle in 1976 or 1977. She says they put the body into a wheelbarrow and moved it to the well.
In a separate incident, McKiddy claims to have seen a dead body near an old cellar on the property and says she watched her father move the body to the well. There, she said she saw another body. According to McKiddy, her father may have killed as many as 70 people, keeping some of his victims’ gold teeth as trophies. It is unclear how she arrived at that number.
In other statements, McKiddy claimed that her father may have sexually assaulted and murdered a 15-year-old female runaway who was in the car with him in the seventies or eighties. She says the girl disappeared completely the following morning. According to McKiddy, all of the victims were dark-haired, Caucasian, and in their twenties or thirties, except for the runaway. Police believe that Studey may have lured sex workers from Omaha, Nebraska, to his five-acre property on Green Hollow Road before murdering them.
Studey was no stranger to violence. He had repeated encounters with the police. He had a criminal history under several aliases. “Hate” and “love” were tattooed on the knuckles of either hand. Previous offenses include a stint in a Missouri jail in the 1950s for petty larceny and a drunk driving charge in Omaha in 1989. Local police admitted that they were reluctant to visit the trailer where he lived because they were wary of visiting the remote property given Studey’s erratic behavior.
Other locals say that no one goes to the remote area around the Studey property known as Green Hollow because it is known as a place where bad things might happen. Kids told one another creepy stories about a monster that roamed the woods around the Studey home. They referred to the unknown monster as “The Green Holler Mauler.” Now, locals wonder if perhaps the monster were real–none other than the reclusive Studey.
Whether McKiddy’s claims prove false or her father is, in fact, one of the most prolific serial killers in history remains to be seen.