Donald Studey Death – Obituary: A western Iowa sheriff says local, state and federal agencies are “actively investigating” in rural areas after a woman claims her late father handled dozens of bodies of people he killed decades ago . “We’re actively investigating this, and who wouldn’t?” Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Esttrop told CNN affiliate KETV.
“We have a crime scene, but we don’t know if it’s a crime scene,” the sheriff told KETV. “We have no victims, no bodies. Nothing.”
The search followed a Newsweek article citing Lucy Study, who claimed her father, Donald Study, killed “50 to 70 people” years ago and that she helped dump the bodies in love in a well on his property near Thurman, Iowa.
Lucy Study’s sister, Susan Study, later told Newsweek that her sister’s claims were untrue. “My dad wasn’t who she portrayed. He was tough, but he was a protective parent who loved his children… A tough dad wouldn’t easily become a serial killer… I’m two years older than Lucy. I think I’d know Was my father murdered,” she told Newsweek.
CNN reached out to Lucy Studyy for comment.
“We only had one woman who came forward and told us a story about the body in the well,” Esttrop said. “We brought some corpse dogs. The carcass dogs looked there or looked around the area and they pointed around the area. I wouldn’t say it was right next to the well, but they pointed it out in the area.”
Donald Study died in 2013, according to KETV.
“We will do what we can to prove or disprove a possible crime scene,” Esttrop said.
Esttrop told KETV that local, state and federal agencies were involved, including the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the FBI. DCI Deputy Director Mitch Mortvedt said the Iowa DCI provides expertise, resources and experience for these investigations, especially when the requesting agency is a smaller police department.
“They’ve asked us and the FBI to assist in the investigation, and we’re happy to do that, you know, and work hard to provide the manpower and resources,” the deputy director of the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation told KETV.
DCI investigators have met with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI to find clues that may lead to the serial killer.
Mortvedt told CNN the investigation is still “in its infancy” and there is no timetable for when it will move forward, but it will “take months.” Mortvedt said law enforcement will take the time necessary to conduct these investigations since the alleged suspect’s death in 2013.
At this stage, investigators are considering the validity of Lucy Studey’s claims, Mortvedt said, before authorities consider exhuming an area where a cadaveric dog indicates possible human remains. He added that cadaver dogs are not always reliable as a sole source, so law enforcement will rely on other investigative tools before considering breaking ground.