FBI Begins To Dig For Remains On Alleged Iowa Serial Killer’s Land
Numerous law enforcement officials descended on Thurman, Iowa, early Tuesday to being excavating land for the second time since a man's daughter first claimed her father was a more-than-prolific serial killer who killed as many as 70 women and made his children help dispose of the bodies.
Locals told Newsweek around 15 vehicles with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, Fremont County Sheriff's Office and the FBI rolled onto the property at Green Hollow that once belonged to the accused killer, Donald Dean Studey.
While Studey passed away in 2013, his daughter, Lucey, has been trying to tell investigators about her father's dark side since 2007, which had prompted the first excavation of the property. That search came up empty-handed.
"In addition to women, mostly thought to be transients and what Donald Studey called ‘bar slushes’ or prostitutes, men are believed by his daughter to be buried in the well and on property stretching some 400-plus acres in the Green Hollow area about 40 miles from Omaha," Newsweek writes.
"I've talked to the FBI several times over the past decades - why didn't they do something then, when he was alive?" Lucy Studey wants to know. "I look forward to the authorities digging up the bodies, identifying the people, giving their families closure and the victims a proper burial."
Authorities plan to dig in areas marked in previous weeks by cadaver dogs, one of which is a possible shallow grave along a morel mushroom trail on the land where the family lived.
Yesterday, we updated you with the information that Lucey was stood up by officials at an appointment for a polygraph in Florida.
Lucey Studey Stood Up By The FBI
Lucey Studey, who has made headlines with allegations against Donald, told Newsweek she was stood up by FBI agents helping in the investigation of her father.
Lucey traveled to the FBI office in Lakeland, Florida for an appointment to take a polygraph test. She was scheduled to be there Friday at 10am, but once she buzzed into the office, she was told the agent she spoke with to arrange the test was off for the day.
Then, Studey says employees told her that the FBI office in Lakeland doesn't even administer polygraph tests.
Sometime later, she was told that the office simply forgot to call her to reschedule the appointment and that testing would happen at a later time at that office, likely sometime next week.
"I'm kind of aghast that they would make an appointment and not be there," Scott Olson, former Assistant Special Agent in charge of intelligence and counterintelligence in New York told Newsweek. "It's the height of unprofessionalism."
The Omaha office, which is assisting the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation in this case declined to comment on the missed appointment.
Lucey Opens Up About Donald Dean Studey
In a sitdown with Newsweek, Lucey Studey, daughter of Iowa's alleged serial killer, Donald Dean Studey, opened up more about the allegations she's made about her father being the most prolific serial killer in American history.
After being sent photos of missing women from the time frame Lucey alleges Donald was active, she says that she can't see them anymore.
"I can't read them anymore without an emotional breakdown myself," Lucey told Newsweek of the fifteen photos she's received from families and friends of missing women, with the hopes they can find closure at the Green Hollow property in Thurman, Iowa.
Lucey described her father as a "gas station attendant, mechanic, and tow truck driver at many gas stations and truck stops."
She explained that he would prey on women at a Greyhound bus stop in Council Bluffs, looking for women down on their luck "who may have no place to stay the night or live. He picked up truck stop prostitutes. He picked up lonely, drunk women at bars. People who wouldn't be missed."
Studey explained her father was most active in luring his victims back to their trailer from 1970 to 1982, "especially around 1976-1980," she told Newsweek.
She described his victims as white women between their late 20s and late 30s, of average height and build. Lucey says most of the victims were killed by head trauma, and buried in a deep well in the area, or buried along morel mushroom trails.
Lucey has been telling anyone who would listen that her father was committing these atrocities, but the allegations by the 53-year-old until now.
"I want to set the record straight. My entire life, my dad would tell people that I 'had an active imagination', 'that I was touched in the head', 'I hallucinate', 'that I was a liar', etc. It's not true," she told Newsweek. "He said this because I wouldn't keep my mouth shut. I've been trying to tell people about my dad since 1973. I was about 4-5 years old. He used to beat me and/or threaten my life each time I told someone. He told me that it's better for people to believe that about me than him having to kill me."
The Fremont County Sheriff, FBI, and Iowa DCI have been working together on this investigation, with multiple cadaver dogs marking locations on the property. Excavation of where the bodies are believed to be buried.
Who Is Donald Dean Studey?
Donald "Don" Dean Studey lived in the remote wooded area of Green Hollow, north of Thurman, Iowa, a town of about 170.
Studey was born in 1938 and passed away in 2013 at the age of 75, and according to the Des Moines Register, incident reports from the Fremont County Sheriff's Office show a history of violent and erratic behavior in his past.
Reports ranging back to the early 1990s show that he had threatened to kill the son of the second of his two wives, and according to Sheriff Kevin Aistrope, there was an incident with a suicidal Studey, who in the presence of deputies, shot himself in the arm.
Chief Deputy Timothy Bothwell told the Register that anytime there was a call for law enforcement to Green Hollow, officers considered it a "two-car call."
What Are The Accusations?
At least twice, Donald Studey's daughter, Lucey told authorities that her father had killed people and buried their bodies in a 90-foot-deep well on the property.
The first documented accusation came in 2007 when Donald Studey accused Lucey of stealing money from him. Chief Deputy Bothwell said he tried to look into the allegations, but couldn't locate the well on the property.
“We thought she was just trying to get dad in trouble or have us look at him because she stole his money," he told the Des Moines Register.
The second accusation came eight years after Donald's death, when she spoke with authorities in 2021. One of her stories include seeing Donald in 1976 or 1977 with two other men taking a body out of the trunk of a car and hauling it to the well in a wheelbarrow.
She told authorities that in 1979, she happened across a dead body near a cellar on the property, and said he then took the body to the well, where she also saw another body.
Her estimates range from 50-70 victims being buried on the property, which, if true, would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history.
Lucey's Sister Says She's Lying
Studey's other daughter, Susan, refute's Lucey's claims about their father, and says the dogs only hit on a stillborn infant sister who was buried on the property as well as their family's golden retriever.
'I'm two years older than Lucey. I think I would know if my father murdered,' she said. 'I would know if my dad was a serial killer. He was not, and I want my father's name restored.'
His Wives Both Died Under Strange Circumstances
Some have questioned whether Studey's previous wives were murdered, but the police reports show otherwise.
Both women's deaths were ruled as suicide, according to Daily Mail.
It has been revealed that one wife's death was by gunshot wound, and the other by strangulation.
What's The Latest In The Investigation?
Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope confirmed that they are investigating Lucey's claims that he did murder and that she knows where the bodies are because of having to help as a young child.
‘I believe her 100 percent that there's bodies in there,' the sheriff said.
Law enforcement suspect that he lured women, possibly sex workers, from the Omaha area to his five acre property before murdering them.
Ten years after his death, Studey's property is being searched by officials with assistance from cadaver dogs, which the Fremont County Sheriff's Office confirmed picked up scents on four different locations across the property.
The dog handler, Jim Peters with Samaritan Detection Dogs, and Sheriff Aistrope both believe there are human remains on the property because the dogs are trained to ignore animal remains.
More information should be available this week as the FBI helps with the investigation and excavation.
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