Lucy Studey says that her late father Donald Studey killed “five or six” women every year for many years. Lucy thinks that her father killed as many as 70 women. Most of the alleged victims were sex workers and runways, and they were buried on land he owned near Thurman, Iowa. Thurman is about 40 miles south of Omaha, Nebraska, and close to the border between Iowa and Nebraska.
Authorities are looking into these claims right now. So far, the authorities haven’t found anything to back up Lucy’s claims. All they have are “hits” from cadaver dogs that suggest there may be bones in the area. Cadaver hits aren’t evidence, but Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says that the investigation and search for more evidence are still going on. Aistrope said, “We’ll do everything we can to prove or disprove that there might be a crime scene.” He also said that he thinks the cadaver hits give Lucy’s claims more weight.
Local, state, and federal agencies, such as the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI, are helping with the investigation by giving people and resources.
Aistrope said that he and his deputies checked out Lucy’s claims in 2021, when she told her story to the Sheriff’s office for at least the second time. Lucy said that her father buried the bodies in and around an old well in a wooded area that was later cut down. Authorities spent the last year looking for the well and getting permission from the property owners and neighbours to search the area. After being filled in, the well is now about 90 feet deep. Aside from being a very hard job, excavation would also cost about $300,000. In the meantime, the government is trying to figure out the best way to find out what is in the well.
Lucy told the police that her father had made her and her siblings help get rid of the bodies. Lucy says that most of the people who died were lured back to her father’s property in Iowa from Omaha in the 1970s and 1980s. Lucy says that she has complained about her father to authorities in Nebraska and Iowa, as well as to local priests and teachers, since she was a child. However, she was unable to get anyone to do anything about it.
News reports say that Lucy had one brother and two sisters. Lucy says that her brother killed himself at age 39, but one of her sisters, Susan Studey, doesn’t believe her. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Susan Studey said, “I first heard about bodies when I talked to Lucy about a year ago… My dad was not the kind of person she says he was. He was strict, but he loved his children and looked out for them. Tough dads don’t all become serial killers… Lucy is two years younger than I am. I think I’d know if my dad killed someone. If my dad was a serial killer, I would know. He wasn’t, and I want to clear my dad’s name.” Susan thinks that the cadaver hits were caused by the dogs picking up the remains of animals that were buried there, such as a golden retriever and Donald Studey’s stillborn sister. But, according to Newsweek, both the dog handler and the sheriff said they thought the cadaver dogs found human remains because they are trained to ignore animal remains.
Lucy insists that what she says is true. Aistrope, on the other hand, thinks there might be bones on the property. He says, “I really think there are bones there… I find it hard to believe that two dogs could hit in the same spots and both be wrong. We have no idea what it is. People had moved up there. There was also Indian Country up there, but I think Lucy… We don’t even have a bone right now. The dogs say that this is a very large graveyard.”
In 2013, Donald Studey died at the age of 75. Lucy says that her father was an alcoholic and a gambler who often stole from the jobs he had over the years. Lucy said that both of Donald’s wives killed themselves. One shot herself in the head, and the other strangled herself with an electrical cord. Donald Studey had been arrested before for small thefts and drunk driving, but he had never been arrested for a violent crime. It was said that Donald had tried to kill himself at least twice. When Newsweek asked Lucy how she feels about her father now, she said, “I don’t feel anything for my father. Not a thing. When my father was alive, I wanted justice, but he’s dead now. I just want the families to be able to say goodbye and have a proper funeral.” The authorities are still looking into Lucy’s claims and looking for evidence, or the lack of it.