The Ottumwa Courier

January 9, 2014

Authorities say 1984 triple homicide solved

Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Investigators will announce Friday the details of how they have solved the 30-year-old bludgeoning deaths of a mother, her son and her son's fiancee in southeastern Iowa, authorities said Thursday.


Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis said the resolution will be announced in the 1984 unsolved homicides of 20-year-old Justin Hook, Jr.; his mother, 41-year-old Sarah Link; and Hook's fiancee, 19-year-old Tina Lade.


"Hopefully this will give a little peace of mind to some of the family members," Davis told The Associated Press.


Authorities said the details would be provided Friday in Ottumwa during a press conference featuring Davis' office, the Wapello County sheriff's office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. They said no one was in custody Thursday in connection with the deaths; it is possible that a deceased suspect has been identified through DNA evidence.


Firefighters found Hook's body outside his burned-out mobile home in rural Drakesville in April 1984. Investigators searched for Link to tell her about her son's death but could not locate her. A farmer found her body the following week in a wooded area near Eldon. Two days later, police dogs discovered Lade's body in a ravine a half-mile away from Link's following a large search.


All three had been killed by trauma to the head. Investigators believe all three were killed around the same time. They chased hundreds of leads over the years but no one was arrested.


The triple homicide had been one of about 150 cases that have been examined by a DCI cold case unit that was formed in 2009. In those cases, investigators have been resubmitting evidence from crime scenes for fresh laboratory testing in the hopes of uncovering new DNA evidence. The work has led to arrests in some cases after newly developed DNA profiles are run through a national database containing DNA samples of known offenders.


Fred Moyes, Jr., of Coralville said investigators have scheduled a meeting Friday with family members to discuss the developments. His wife, Cynthia Moyes, is the daughter of Link and sister of Hook.


"We won't know the details until tomorrow," he said. "It will be some relief, though."