Iowa serial killer: woman claims late father buried 70 victims in garden - what have the FBI said

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Lucy Studey claims that her father, Donald, murdered between 50 to 70 women during the 1980s

A woman in Iowa has claimed that her father, Donald Studey murdered between 50 to 70 women during the 1980s and forced his children to help him bury the bodies.

Since the revelation, cadaver dogs have picked up “multiple hits” of suspected human remains at the property in Tabor, Iowa. However, the suspect’s other daughter has denied the claims stating her father was just strict and “strict fathers don’t just turn into serial killers.”

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The FBI have gotten involved and the investigation is ongoing. If the claims are correct, this could make Studey done of the most prolific serial killers in America.

So, is there a serial killer in Iowa? Here’s everything you need to know.

Lucy Studey claims her father Donald killed between 50-70 women on their farmland in Tabor, Iowa (Pic: Getty Images)Lucy Studey claims her father Donald killed between 50-70 women on their farmland in Tabor, Iowa (Pic: Getty Images)
Lucy Studey claims her father Donald killed between 50-70 women on their farmland in Tabor, Iowa (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Is there a serial killer in Iowa?

Newsweek has reported the case of a possible serial killer in Iowa. 53-year-old Lucy Studey claims that her father, Donald, murdered between 50 to 70 women during the 1980s and forced his children to help him bury the bodies.

Lucy, who has been telling the story since the second grade, finally got law enforcement officers to listen to her and cadaver dogs have now picked up suspected human remains at the spots she identified in Tabor, Iowa.

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Police suspect that Donald lured women from nearby Omaha, Nebraska to his remote five acre farmland before killing them. If the claim is confirmed to be true, this would make him one of the most prolific serial killers in America.

What has his daughter claimed?

In an interview with Newsweek, Lucy explained the murders had taken place in the 1980s and that the alleged victims were white and in their 20s or 30s, however one had been a 15-year-old runaway.

She alleged that her father would attack or shoot and stab his victims before throwing their bodies in a 100 ft well on the property.

Lucy said: “I know where the bodies are buried.” adding: “He would just tell us we had to go to the well, and I knew what that meant. Every time I went to the well or into the hills, I didn’t think I was coming down. I thought he would kill me because I wouldn’t keep my mouth shut.”

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She explained that she had been trying to tell people about what her father was doing since the second grade but that “No one would listen to me,” she added “the teacher said family matters should be handled as a family, and law enforcement has said they couldn’t trust the memory of a child. I was just a kid then, but I remember it all.”

“All I want is to get these sites dug up, and to bring closure for people and to give these women a proper burial. I don’t feel anything for my father. Nothing at all. I wanted justice when my father was alive, but he’s gone.”

What have the police said?

The Iowa police have conducted an investigation of the scene with two cadaver dogs. Speaking to Newsweek Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said: “I believe her 100 percent that there’s bodies in there.”

“I really think there’s bones there,” adding: “it’s hard for me to believe that two dogs would hit in the exact same places and be false. We don’t know what it is. The settlers were up there. There was Indian Country up there as well, but I tend to believe Lucy.”

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Following the discovery, the FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation have joined the investigation.

What has her sister said?

However, in another interview with Newsweek Lucy’s sister Susan Studey has denied the claims reiterating that their father was strict but was not a serial killer. She said: “Strict fathers don’t just turn into serial killers... I’m two years older than Lucy. I think I would know if my father murdered,” adding: “I would know if my dad was a serial killer. He was not, and I want my father’s name restored.”

Who was Donald Studey?

Donald Study was a resident of Tabor, Iowa. The 75-year-old died in 2013 and had a criminal record including convictions of petty larceny and drinking under the influence.

According to Newsweek, Study had been married twice, with both of his wives dying by suicide. Local authorities were said to fear him and would not visit his home without another officer present.

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His daughter has described him as “a lifelong criminal and murderer” and rumours about him were rife in their town. Fremont Deputy Mike Wake confirmed: “Coming up, we just always kind of heard that.”

Adding: “then when (Lucy Studey) called me, I just went out there and looked. She kind of told me where she thought (the well) was at...Well, there was a well right there. It was just right where she said it was, no kidding. And her story never, ever changes.”

What has the FBI said?

The FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation have joined the investigation after cadaver dogs picked up “multiple hits” at the scene. Officials from the FBI confirmed with Newsweek that they would be meeting with local law enfocement but did not give a statement to the media.

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office remains the lead investigative team looking into the case.