Iowa serial killer update: Investigation found no evidence to support woman's claim against father

Susan Studey, Lucy Studey's older sister, has said her sister's claims weren't true

ByRebekah Riess, CNN, CNNWire
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Woman says she helped father dispose of dozens of bodies
Was there a Fremont County, Iowa serial killer? Lucy Studey said she helped her now-deceased father, Donald Studey, dispose of dozens of bodies.

IOWA -- The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says there's "no evidence" to back up a claim by a woman that her late father disposed of dozens of bodies of people he had killed decades ago in rural Iowa.

The video featured is from a previous report.

Following an investigation that involved the FBI, the DCI said in a statement on Thursday that "after exhaustive efforts, no evidence or other items of concern were recovered."

The investigation had followed a Newsweek article quoting Lucy Studey, who claimed her father, Donald Studey, killed "50 to 70" people years ago -- and that she helped dispose of the bodies in a well on property that he owned near Thurman, Iowa.

Over the course of three days this week, state, local, and federal law enforcement assisted with the investigation in Fremont County. According to the DCI, authorities brought in "an array of experts representing several disciplines and significant assets to excavate, collect and examine soil samples" from the site identified by Studey.

However, according to Mitch Mortvedt, DCI's assistant director, the excavation and soil samples did not uncover "evidence or other items of concern" to support Studey's claim.

Mortvedt added that no further information would be released at this time.

Reached for comment, Lucy Studey told CNN she questioned the validity of the investigation.

"Two days to cover 425 acres -- does that seem like a thorough investigation?" she said. "I think it's a funding issue or a sham dig."

She vowed to press on, with or without the help of the authorities.

But Susan Studey, Lucy Studey's older sister, has said her sister's claims weren't true.

"My father was not the man she makes him out to be," she told Newsweek. "He was strict, but he was a protective parent who loved his children ... 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."

Donald Studey died in 2013, according to CNN affiliate KETV.

Before the investigation, Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told KETV that authorities had little to go on.

"All we have is a woman came forward and told us a story about bodies in a well," Aistrope had said. "We did bring a couple cadaver dogs" that picked up a scent.

Mortvedt, however, said cadaver dogs are not always reliable as a sole source.

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