Is Donald Studey a serial killer from Iowa?

     Down in Green Hollow, in Thurman, Iowa, Donald Studedey has been claimed to kill women from Omaha and bury them on his property in Thurman. Lucy Studey, claims her father killed “5 to 6” women every year for several decades. Lucy has said that her father would make her, Susan Studey (her older sister), and her brother, help bury the bodies throughout the property. Donald and his children would bury the bodies in wells and cover them in cement 60 feet down.

     Susan Studey says her sister is crazy. She claims her father was not a serial killer and that he was strict, but he would never do anything like that. Lucy continues to try to prove something. She says she can show where the bodies are and take them to the exact spots where things took place. Lucy claims to have been telling people for years, but no one would listen to her. 

     In October 2022, the sheriff of Fremont County took the cadaver dogs out to the property where Lucy claimed her late dad killed over 70 people. The dogs did sniff something out, but they didn’t know for sure if it was human remains. In late November, just before the snow hit in Thurman, they began digging. They dug in almost every spot Lucy had pointed out, and especially the spots the cadaver dogs had sniffed out. They did not find anything, but Lucy was still going on about how they didn’t dig deep enough and how they needed to search the rest of the property, and even the neighbors' land. 

     Once it hits spring, the case will be reopened and they will continue to search the area and surrounding properties. Could Susan be right about her sister being crazy? Or did is Donald really one of the worth serial killers America has seen? 

Do you believe Lucy, who claims her dad is a murderer, or Susan, who claims her sister is crazy? 

Do you think that the police need to dig more or should they close the case and leave it?

If Lucy is right, and Susan tried to protect her dad, will Susan get in trouble for covering it up? 

Do you find it weird that his 2 wives and son all died by suicide? And do you think it was truly suicide and not a killing? 


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  • Interesting topic and well done Lauren! Be sure to post your sources.

  • Lucy could be traumatized and have mental illnesses, but there could also be a chance that she's telling the truth. Even though her sister calls her a liar, the police should keep looking into it, especially since you said there were over 70 people. That's a lot of murders to cover up, surely someone has noticed, in my opinion. Her sister could also be lying so she doesn't get in trouble for helping her dad cover up murders, I do believe Susan will get in trouble if they find out she is lying, but I don't think Lucy will if they find out she has a mental illness. It's also very weird that TWO of his wives AND son all died by suicide, it makes me wonder if Donald scared them into doing such a thing, or maybe he killed them, I'm not really sure because this is the first time I've heard anything about this story, and it sounds like a lot.

  • i believe lucy. i think she is traumatized and this is her way of coping. if it wasn't true then what is wrong with her? why would she make that up? i think that everything that happened is the dads fault and he was the one who made tehm all commit suicide. 

  • It is really hard to find out who the killer is and how evething happend on any murder case, murder is a huge thing and goes down very bad when brought up to murder victims. But there is no way in heck that all of them commited sucide unless it was a perfect plan.

  • Murder is a very serious and complicating thing. It is really hard to actually find out who is the killer and how it happened. I think that the dad is the murderer of all of them. I just can't see all of them, "commiting suicide". Crazy things happen in this world!

  • I think that she could be right about the murders and bodies because if she can point out every spot where the bodies are. even thought they got the dogs to sniff out remains she claimed that cover them in cement 60 feet in the ground. Working dogs can only smell 15 feet underground, so it was impossible for the dogs to sniff them out. 

    • Thats a really good point! They could, of course, be smelling something else. And maybe, there are bodies 15 feet underground. But if they were digging 15 feet or more, why didn't they find anything? Possibly because they weren't in the right spots? I mean its 5 acres and 24200 sq yards, so very possibly they didn't dig far enough. 

  • i think that it is interesting...a 40 minute drive to find a victim, kill them, transport them to a vehicle, 40 minutes back to his house, find an adequite "hiding spot",put them in said spot, and then ..........move on !!!?? like how do you "make them un-smellable" so dogs and other victim finding tools/techniques cant find the that you got 2 months for one person.....cause 6 a year pans out to 1person-2 months,.............for a couple decades thats at least 120 victims and only 5 acres to place them so 24200 sq yards. it is plausable.   1 acre can contain 1,000 gravesites (a rule of thumb is that between 800 and 1,200 gravesites will fit on an acre).

    thats just 1 acre !!!???

    • I find it crazy. He did all this work for what? To traumatize his kids? To make families wonder what happened to their relative? I don't think I'll ever understand his logic and why he did this. Obviously he was messed up in the brain, but this whole case doesn't make sense to me. And if its proved true will Susan get in trouble? and if its not proved true, will Lucy get in trouble? I also heard that he would use mushrooms to cover up any evidence. Thats why so many mushrooms grow throughout green hollow, because he would spread seed because no animals will smell the body and dig it up. If its proved true, he covered that up too well and kept it hidden for decades. 

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