Police Investigating After Iowa Woman Claims Her Father Was A Prolific Serial Killer

Lucy Studey told police that her late father, Donald Studey, buried up to 70 bodies — and in some cases, he enlisted her help in doing so.

October 28, 2022
The late Donald Studey, pictured here, is being accused by his daughter of being a serial killer.

Lucy Studey told police that her late father, Donald Studey, buried up to 70 bodies — and in some cases, he enlisted her help in doing so.

Photo by: Lucy Studey

Lucy Studey

Lucy Studey, the youngest daughter of the late Donald Studey of Thurman, Iowa, claims that her father was a prolific serial killer. She said he buried up to 70 bodies in and around an abandoned well on the five-acre rural property where he lived. The alleged killer died in 2013 at age 75.

Newsweek reported that people largely ignored Lucy for 45 years when she repeated over and over that her father had murdered many women and enlisted the help of his children to bury the bodies. However, that has now changed. Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope told the Des Moines Register that two cadaver dogs “hit” on suspected human remains in the area near the well when they went there as part of the investigation on Oct. 21, 2022.

"She's got a hell of a story, but we don't have any proof of anything other than we had a cadaver dog hit. We've got to have more proof than that,” Aistrope also told the Des Moines Register and confirmed that it did add credibility to Lucy’s story.

Fremont County Sheriff’s Sergeant Andrew Wake told NBC News, “We’re trying to gather information to establish credibility and see if we can get evidence if there are bodies buried there or not.”

Aistrope and his deputies first began looking into Lucy’s accusations in 2021 when she contacted the sheriff's office with her report. She’d tried to tell them about the situation at least once prior to that. Now they have joined forces with local, state, and federal agencies, including the FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

Lucy said that the women her father killed were mostly runaways or transients that he lured from nearby Omaha, Nebraska, and he would then make his children move the dead bodies using a toboggan or a wheelbarrow.

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

Susan Studey, Lucy’s older sister, disputes her claims, telling Newsweek, "The first time I ever heard about bodies was when I talked to Lucy about a year ago. My father was not the man she makes him out to be. 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. I would know if my dad was a serial killer. He was not, and I want my father's name restored."

A third sister couldn’t be reached for comment, and their brother died by suicide when he was 39.

Mitch Mortvedt, DCI's assistant director, told CNN that the investigation is still in its infancy, and they are going to take all the time necessary to conduct the investigation thoroughly.

Next Up

'Happy Face Killer': How Keith Jesperson’s Daughter Discovered His Deadly Secret

“There was just something ‘off’ about him,” Melissa Moore says of the serial killer.

Colorado Dentist Allegedly Kills Wife By Poisoning Her Protein Shakes

James Toliver Craig had allegedly tried to poison his wife another time five years before her death.

Trial Begins For Michael Turney Who Is Accused Of Killing His Teen Stepdaughter

Michael Turney is accused of murdering his teenage stepdaughter, Alissa Turney, in May 2001, and his living daughter has been vocally supportive of his prosecution.

Woman Who Once Said She Was Arrested For Being ‘Good-Looking’ Now Accused Of Mother’s Murder

28-year-old Hend Bustami is accused of stabbing her 62-year-old mother to death after the two got into a verbal argument.

The Lone Survivor Of A Vicious Attack On His Family Recounts Horror

A Kentucky man told authorities that one of his sister’s admirers had killed his entire family — but that wasn’t the full story.

Louisiana Father Serving Life Sentence Freed After Judge Vacates Double Murder Conviction

Innocence Project New Orleans attorney says Larry Moses wasn’t in town when shooting occurred, star witness “had motivation to lie.”

Man Filmed Crying After Locating Son’s Body 34 Years Ago Now Accused Of Murder

Justin Turner, 5, was found dead in 1989, two days after his father, Victor Lee Turner, and stepmother, Megan Turner, reported the boy missing.

5 Disturbing & Bizarre Facts About Dee Dee Blanchard

Inside the murder of this allegedly abusive mom that brought Munchausen by proxy syndrome into the spotlight.

Husband Of Missing Mother Who Searched 'How To Get Away With Murder’ Pleads Guilty To Her Murder

55-year-old Elizabeth Capaldi was reported missing on Oct. 12, 2022. In April 2023, her husband pleaded guilty to strangling and dismembering her, and hiding her remains.

What Happened To Grant Solomon? Loved Ones Believe Teen Baseball Star’s Tragic Death May Have Been Murder

Aaron Solomon insists a ‘freak accident’ resulted in his son getting run over by his own car, but his daughter and others disagree.