Officials in western Iowa have announced that they are moving forward in their investigation of what may be the most prolific serial killer in American history.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office reportedly will soon be excavating a portion of land in Thurman, Iowa near where Donald Dean Studey and his family lived. The decision comes after renewed claims from his daughter, Lucey, who claims her father killed and buried between 50-70 young women before his death in 2013.

Lucey Studey
Lucey Studey

Lucey Studey McKiddy has talked about the murders for years, and in 2007 brought enough attention to the situation that officers excavated the well on Studey's property in 2007, when they excavated the well on Studey's property, only to not find any bodies.

“Lucey told us in 2007, and we went out and there was only one well on the property that we could see, we didn’t realize that it was on other people’s property,” Fremont County Deputy Sheriff Tim Bothwell told WHO-13.

That first excavation cost the county more than $300,000, Bothwell said.

Sheriff's deputies plan to excavate the land behind Studey's property, thanks to new information in the case.

Iowa's Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are expected to be briefed on the investigation this week as well.

Who Is Donald Dean Studey?

Donald "Don" Dean Studey lived in the remote wooded area of Green Hollow, north of Thurman, Iowa, a town of about 170.

Studey was born in 1938 and passed away in 2013 at the age of 75, and according to the Des Moines Register, incident reports from the Fremont County Sheriff's Office show a history of violent and erratic behavior in his past.

Reports ranging back to the early 1990s show that he had threatened to kill the son of the second of his two wives, and according to Sheriff Kevin Aistrope, there was an incident with a suicidal Studey, who in the presence of deputies, shot himself in the arm.

Chief Deputy Timothy Bothwell told the Register that anytime there was a call for law enforcement to Green Hollow, officers considered it a "two-car call."

What Are The Accusations?

At least twice, Donald Studey's daughter, Lucey told authorities that her father had killed people and buried their bodies in a 90-foot-deep well on the property.

The first documented accusation came in 2007 when Donald Studey accused Lucey of stealing money from him. Chief Deputy Bothwell said he tried to look into the allegations, but couldn't locate the well on the property.

“We thought she was just trying to get dad in trouble or have us look at him because she stole his money," he told the Des Moines Register.

The second accusation came eight years after Donald's death, when she spoke with authorities in 2021. One of her stories include seeing Donald in 1976 or 1977 with two other men taking a body out of the trunk of a car and hauling it to the well in a wheelbarrow.

She told authorities that in 1979, she happened across a dead body near a cellar on the property, and said he then took the body to the well, where she also saw another body.

Her estimates range from 50-70 victims being buried on the property, which, if true, would make him the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Lucey's Sister Says She's Lying

Studey's other daughter, Susan, refute's Lucey's claims about their father, and says the dogs only hit on a stillborn infant sister who was buried on the property as well as their family's golden retriever.

'I'm two years older than Lucey. I think I would know if my father murdered,' she said. 'I would know if my dad was a serial killer. He was not, and I want my father's name restored.'

His Wives Both Died Under Strange Circumstances

Google Maps
Studey's home at Green Hollow in Thurman, Iowa. (Google Maps)

Some have questioned whether Studey's previous wives were murdered, but the police reports show otherwise.

Both women's deaths were ruled as suicide, according to Daily Mail. 

It has been revealed that one wife's death was by gunshot wound, and the other by strangulation.

What's The Latest In The Investigation?

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope confirmed that they are investigating Lucey's claims that he did murder and that she knows where the bodies are because of having to help as a young child.

‘I believe her 100 percent that there's bodies in there,' the sheriff said.

Law enforcement suspect that he lured women, possibly sex workers, from the Omaha area to his five acre property before murdering them.

Ten years after his death, Studey's property is being searched by officials with assistance from cadaver dogs, which the Fremont County Sheriff's Office confirmed picked up scents on four different locations across the property.

The dog handler, Jim Peters with Samaritan Detection Dogs, and Sheriff Aistrope both believe there are human remains on the property because the dogs are trained to ignore animal remains.

More information should be available this week as the FBI helps with the investigation.

Read more at WHO-13

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