Woman Who Says Her Dad Was A Serial Killer Told Authorities, Who Dug In The Wrong Spot

Ashley Hunte
From left to right: Jim Peters, Lucy Studey, and Sheriff Kevin Aistrope conducting a search with cadaver dogs.
Newsweek | Naveed Jamali

Strong content warning for this article.

An Iowa woman spent decades living a nightmare, with very few believing her story.

The woman, wanting only to be identified by her maiden name of Lucy Studey, says that her late father, Donald Dean Studey, was a serial killer who could have been responsible for around 70 deaths. But her plea to get people to investigate her claims has gone unanswered for years.

"I know where the bodies are buried," Lucy said in an interview with 'Newsweek.'

A photo taken of Donald Studey in 2006. Studey, now deceased, is suspected of serial murders that date back decades.
Newsweek | Lucy Studey

"He would just tell us we had to go to the well, and I knew what that meant." Before his death in 2013, Donald had owned farmland in the area of Thurman, Iowa.

"Every time I went to the well or into the hills, I didn't think I was coming down."

A photo of a densely forested area (not an actual image of Thurman).
Unsplash | Sebastian Unrau

"I thought he would kill me because I wouldn't keep my mouth shut."

Lucy had attempted to tell teachers and authorities while growing up, but says she was often ignored or not believed.

Lucy states that her father killed women he would bring home from Omaha, Nebraska.

Grassy hills along a plane (not an actual location mentioned in this article).
Unsplash | Brandon Mowinkel

Lucy believes the women were mainly transients and sex workers that Donald would bring home to Thurman, which is close to Omaha.

Lucy also says that she was aware of what her father was doing, even at a young age.

Leafless trees near water at sunset (not an actual location mentioned in this article).
Unsplash | Taylor Siebert

"Studey said her father not only made sure his children knew what he was doing, but forced them to help with the burials," Newsweek writes.

According to Lucy, she and her siblings were made to help bury the bodies of her father's victims.

A wheat field on farmland (not an actual image of Studey's property).
Unsplash | Joel Drzycimski

Lucy alleges that they would dump the bodies in a well on the property, covering them with dirt and lye. Lucy estimates that her father is responsible for anywhere from 40 to 70 murders.

Lucy had actually attempted to contact authorities in 2007.

A farm with a full field of corn (not an actual location mentioned in this article).
Unsplash | Kelcy Gatson

Several years before Donald's death, Lucy reached out to local authorities with her story, but they seemingly searched in the wrong spot.

Tim Bothwell, Deputy Sheriff of Fremont County, told WHO13, "We have heard about this for years."

"She (Lucy) told us in 2007 and we went out and there was only one well on the property that we could see," he continued.

Large, unmanaged land (not an actual location mentioned in this article).
Unsplash | Davis Patton

"We didn’t realize that it was on other people’s property."

Since then, Lucy has made other attempts to have authorities recover the bodies.

She contacted Fremont county authorities again in 2021.

A densely wooded area with young trees (not Study's actual property).
Unsplash | Jacek Smoter

According to the Des Moines Register, Lucy claimed in 2021 that there were "five or six" bodies buried near a well on Donald's property. It took the county the next year to locate the well and get permission to investigate.

Then, in October of this year, Lucy managed to have a search done on the property.

Left to right: Jim Peters, Lucy Studey, and Sheriff Kevin Aistrope at the scene with two cadaver dogs (not pictured).
Newsweek | Naveed Jamali

It seems that they may have a lead, as well. Two cadaver dogs, lead by their handler, Jim Peters, have possibly detected the scent of cadavers in the areas in which Lucy alleged the bodies to be.

It is important to note that the science surrounding cadaver dogs is often disputed, according to 'Newsweek.'

Jim Peters, the handler of two cadaver dogs used to search the area.
Newsweek | Navdeed Jamali

But the fact that the dogs got a hit where Lucy told their handler to search is at least compelling enough for Sheriff Kevin Aistrope, who was also on the scene.

Aistrope believes this may be the evidence they need for an excavation.

A filed of wheat (not an actual image of the property).
Unsplash | Tim Krauss

"It's hard for me to believe that two dogs would hit in the exact same places and be false," he said. "According to the dogs, this is a very large burial site."

h/t: Newsweek