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.

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