The FBI plans to administer a polygraph this Friday to Lucy Studey, the woman accusing her late father of killing scores of women, then burying their remains in a well and along morel mushroom trails on property near the Studey land deep in the Green Hollow area of Iowa.
The lie-detector test comes just as investigators prepare to bore and possibly excavate the Studey’s five acres and parts of an adjacent 425 acres-plus belonging to neighbors.
It was unclear what prompted the FBI to call Studey on Wednesday about the polygraph, which will be done at its Lakeland, Florida, office. But it may give authorities confirmation of Studey’s story: That over three decades dating back to at least the 1970s, her father, Donald Dean Studey, would offer shelter to what he called “bar slushes” and transient women he found in the nearby Omaha area, bringing them back to the family’s trailer in Green Hollow, where he killed them. Green Hollow is near Thurman, Iowa, about 40 miles south of Omaha.
Now, “they’ll finally believe me,” Lucy Studey said Wednesday, adding she has been offering to have a polygraph done since at least 1998. “I’m not worried at all (about the test)…I figured before they spent any money to excavate, that they would try to discredit me.”
The FBI could not be immediately reached for comment. But an investigative source confirmed the polygraph, saying “it’s just an exhaustive means…just another avenue” of investigation.
Lucy Studey says she has been making the claims against her father for more than 45 years, telling everyone from schoolteachers to priests to law enforcement. But all, she claims, ignored her until last year when a sheriff’s deputy in Fremont County, which covers Thurman, believed her.
She had made calls to the sheriff’s office since at least 2007, when a deputy visited the area but couldn’t find the well in which Lucy Studey says many bodies are buried. That changed last year, when the sheriff’s office and the FBI visited the site with her – many years since she had last been to the now heavily landscaped area – and she immediately pinpointed the well’s location.
Already, three cadaver dogs have alerted authorities to the presence of potential remains in several areas on the properties investigators plan to search. That includes locations in and around a well and the mushroom trails.
Lucy Studey, 53, who lives in Florida, originally told investigators that five to 15 bodies were in a well on the land, according to reports reviewed by Newsweek. Once on the property, accompanied by investigators and two reporters from Newsweek on Oct. 20, she said that as many as 50-70 bodies could litter the expanse. She said her father forced his four children to dump dirt and lye on some of the graves – allegations at least one of the two remaining siblings, a sister of Lucy Studey, denies. Another sister has not returned Newsweek’s calls, and a brother died.
Soon after Newsweek was tipped to the story, reporters called investigators and one – Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope – said, “I believe her 100 percent, that there’s bodies in there.” A source with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which is working with the sheriff’s department and the FBI on the case, gave a similar response when asked whether Lucy Studey was credible. The FBI offered a “no comment” to Newsweek at the time.
Lucy Studey has expressed concerns that DCI, the sheriff’s department and the FBI are going to look in the wrong places on the wide-open land when they bore and possibly dig in December. The area has been heavily landscaped since she last visited the site with the FBI and the sheriff’s department in August 2021. Authorities did not do a previous dig, but rather canvassed the site, took statements and began investigating.
Donald Studey, described by family members as a violent man who drank often, died in 2013 at age 75.
Of the four children – Linda, Gary, Susan and Lucy – only Lucy has publicly made the allegations against her father. Susan, in an interview with Newsweek, said it was nonsense, that her father was strict but a caring father who would not have killed people. “I am two years older, I think I would have known if my dad was a serial killer,” she told Newsweek after the story broke in October.
When asked about the testing coming so close to a potential dig, Lucy Studey said: “They need to know if I’m telling the truth. Hopefully, this will help them to start believing me.”