Iowa police are planning to excavate land for the second time in decades after a woman claimed her father was a prolific serial killer who murdered up to 70 women and ordered his children to help them move the bodies, according to reports. 

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office will soon be excavating a portion land in Thurman, Iowa, near where Donald Dean Studey and his family lived. The action comes in the wake of Studey’s daughter’s renewed claims that her father killed 50 to 70 young women before his death in 2013, according to reports from WHO-13 and Newsweek. 

Studey’s daughter, Lucy Studey McKiddy, previously told investigators about her father’s alleged history “for years,” including in 2007, which prompted them to excavate a portion of the property, WHO-13 reported.

“[Lucy] 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 the news station.

The first excavation cost the county more than $300,000, Bothwell told the station. 

Donald Dean Studey
Donald Dean Studey’s daughter Lucy Studey McKiddy claims her father was a prolific serial killer.
Courtesy of Lucy Studey

Sheriff’s deputies are now planning a second excavation in light of a new tip that led investigators to search land behind the Studey property, the report states. 

Sheriff’s office officials are also reportedly planning to meet with the FBI and Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation this week. 

Last week, the Des Moines Register reported about some of McKiddy’s conflicting claims surrounding her father.

Fremont County Sheriff's Office
The Freemont County Sherrif’s Office plans to do a second excavation, on the land behind Studey’s property.
Fremont County Sheriff Office Fa

According to the report, McKiddy told sheriff’s deputies in 2021 that she had “heard stories that there could be up to 15 bodies” buried near her father’s home but said she only knew of five personally.

McKiddy’s 2021 statements in documents in a sheriff’s incident report obtained by the news site were different from those she made to Newsweek.

In the Newsweek piece, McKiddy described how her father had killed dozens of young women over the course of 30 years and enlisted his children to help bury his victims. 

“I know where the bodies are buried,” McKiddy told the site. “He would just tell us we had to go to the well, and I knew what that meant.”

McKiddy went on to describe how she always feared “he would kill me because I wouldn’t keep my mouth shut.”

McKiddy’s claims in 2021 were similarly chilling, with details about how she watched her father and two others carry a body from the trunk of a vehicle, and her suspicion that her dad sexually assaulted and killed a 15-year-old girl, the Register reported. 

McKiddy allegedly told detectives multiple other stories. She has not responded to Fox News Digital’s multiple requests for comment and confirmation. 

Additionally, Studey had a history of violence and run-ins with the law, including threatening to kill relatives, according to a different incident report obtained by the Register. 

However, Studey’s other daughter, Susan, denied her sister’s claims and rejected that she was ever ordered to help her father move a body, according to Newsweek. 

Susan went on to say she first learned about these claims against her father when she spoke to her sister “about a year ago.”

“I’m two years older than Lucy,” Susan told the news site. “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.”

Susan stressed that her father “was not the man [Lucy] makes him out to be,” according to the report.

“He was strict, but he was a protective parent who loved his children,” Susan told Newsweek. “Strict fathers don’t just turn into serial killers.”

A woman who answered the phone at a number appearing to belong to Susan hung up when contacted by Fox News Digital on Wednesday afternoon. 

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope has not responded to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment but confirmed to the Register that his office had been investigating the allegations. Newsweek reported last week that two human remains detection K9s reportedly made discoveries at locations McKiddy had suggested.

Aistrope told the Des Moines Register investigators do not yet have any proof other than a pair of cadaver dog alerts.  

He said the FBI had also begun probing over a year ago but had “backed away in the last couple of weeks,” according to the Register. 

“I’m not going to let it die. I’m just not gonna let that happen,” Aistrope told the site. He later added, “We’ve got to go with Lucy.”

“No matter if they say it’s not true or say she’s crazy or whatever they can say, we have to look into it. We have no other choice.”

A spokesperson for the FBI’s Omaha, Nebraska, field office, would not say if the agency was involved in the investigation. 



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