Potential Iowa Serial Killer Still Shrouded In Mystery After Police Excavation Turns Up Empty
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After a woman claimed to be the daughter of a serial killer in a recent interview, a search of the supposed location of buried remains has turned up nothing.

Federal, state, and local authorities did not find any evidence or remains after scouring the earth for several days in Thurman, Iowa, a small town just 3 miles from the border with Nebraska. Abbie Petersen, a reporter for Omaha-based KETV, reported on the lack of findings. The news comes weeks after a woman spoke with Newsweek in October, claiming to be the daughter of a killer.

“The Iowa Department of Public Safety says NO evidence was found after digging and collecting soil samples over the past few days in Thurman, Iowa,” Petersen reported in a Twitter thread Thursday. “This comes after a woman claimed her father was a serial killer and buried bodies on the land.”

The Iowa Department of Public Safety shared details of the effort in a press release.

“Over the past three days, state, local, and federal law enforcement assisted with an investigation in Fremont County,” the press release stated. “Authorities brought in an array of experts representing several disciplines and significant assets to excavate, collect and examine soil samples from a site identified by a reporting party. After exhaustive efforts, no evidence or other items of concern were recovered.”

The Department coordinated with the FBI, DPS’s Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the release stated.

In October, Lucy Studey told Newsweek magazine that her late father, Donald Dean Studey, was a serial killer who used his children to bury the bodies. “I know where the bodies are buried,” she claimed.

According to Studey, her father killed between 50 and 70 women over a period of 30 years. He then instructed her and her siblings to help drag the bodies out to the alleged burial site, using a wheelbarrow in warmer weather and a toboggan during the winter snows. Once they arrived, the bodies were dumped into a well, and dirt and lye were piled on top.

“He would just tell us we had to go to the well, and I knew what that meant,” Studey said. “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.”

Donald Studey died in 2013 at the age of 75.

The interview coincided with an initial inspection by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at the alleged burial site. Police used cadaver dogs to examine the site; the dogs allegedly reacted to something in the area, but the sheriff said that doesn’t prove anything definitively.

Still, the sheriff said it’s a distinct possibility that there could be something there. “It’s been a rumor around for years,” Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told KETV at the time. “We’re going to do everything we can to prove or disprove there may be a crime scene.”

“I believe her 100 percent that there’s bodies in there,” Aistrope added to Newsweek.

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