Authorities continued their search for human remains Wednesday in the Green Hollow area near Thurman, Iowa, where Lucy Studey claims her father killed scores of people over a decades-long span before dying in 2013.
Officials – local, state and federal – remained tight-lipped about the investigation, not releasing any public statements. So it remained unclear what if anything had been found at the wide expanse where Studey says her father, Donald Dean Studey, killed mostly women and dumped their bodies in a well or along mushroom trails. At least two men were also buried on the land, she says.
One tactic used by investigators was core drilling, which sends a hollowed-out bit into the well to gather samples to be inspected for remains.
With winter weather, including possible freezing rain, expected as early as Thursday, it was not certain whether the on-site investigation of the property owned by the Studeys and abutting land would continue past Wednesday until the weather cleared.
The search of the site began early Tuesday with more than a dozen SUVs belonging to local, state and federal authorities arriving at the hard-to-reach land, accessible now through pavement put down over the rough stretch of land in anticipation of the search. But as of late Wednesday afternoon, there were more questions than answers about what areas were being searched and what was being discovered.
Lucy Studey said people in the area had reported to her where investigators were searching, and she believes authorities are misdirected in the hunt.
“I spent my childhood thinking that someday my dad would put me in (the well),” she said Wednesday. “I know exactly where that well is located. They are on the wrong hill.”
This is a concern she shared with Newsweek before the search. Lucy Studey, who says she also shared it with investigators, said there is a wet well and a dry well on the land – the dry well being where she claims most bodies are buried. And she suspects that well is not being searched. Whether that is the case was another unknown.
In October, with Newsweek present, two cadaver dogs signaled potential remains at the wet well as well as along mushroom trails. But a source said another trip by a third dog suggested other sites were of greater interest, including the area of the dry well.
Before the search began Tuesday, investigators familiar with the probe said the FBI had called in specialists from different parts of the country to descend on the town of Thurman and Fremont County, a rural stretch with just over 6,500 people that covers the Green Hollow area.
Among them were expected to be forensic specialists from the FBI, the Iowa state forensic archeologist, on-call medical state examiners and behavioral specialists in case remains were found to build out a profile of Donald Studey. Of course, much work into Studey’s background was well underway before the beginning of the physical search.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation also has experts in various disciplines at its disposal, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office was on site.
On Tuesday, Richard Heideman, a retired FBI special agent of 35 years, told Newsweek the bureau received information in the 1990s that organized crime had disposed of bodies in a well using lye. Ultimately the search yielded no results. But he said the story is similar to what authorities are now looking for in the hollows.
The difference, he says, is that now you may have a witness to the disposal of bodies – something the bureau did not have at the time. Family and associates of Donald Studey have described a violent man, often drinking, starting fights and losing at gambling.
An older sister of Lucy Studey, Susan, has previously told Newsweek that Lucy Studey’s story makes no sense and that her father was strict, but good and caring.
A source has told Newsweek that any drilling or possible digging of the well and the shallow graves could take a great deal of time, perhaps stretching into the spring, given how late in the year it already is. And the physical search for remains is a meticulous process, one that requires manual and mechanical labor, sifting through dirt and debris with screens, trowels and by hand.
The post Specialists on Site as Authorities Continue Search for Remains at Iowa Site appeared first on Newsweek.