OTTUMWA — New evidence in an old murder may provide some emotional closure for loved ones.
State investigators are expected to announce today details of their investigation of the 30-year-old bludgeoning deaths of a mother, her son and her son's fiancee in southeastern Iowa, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
The case concerns the unsolved 1984 homicides of 20-year-old Justin Hook, Jr.; his mother, 41-year-old Sarah Link; and Hook's fiancee, 19-year-old Tina Lade. 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.
DCI had not kept their ongoing investigation from local law enforcement.
"I was aware of it, that they were following this cold case," Dave Davis, sheriff in Davis County, told the Courier Thursday evening.
Fred Moyes, Jr., of Coralville told the AP that 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 Thursday. "It will be some relief, though."
Sheriff Davis recalls he was still in college at the time of the slaying, but when he became a law enforcement officer, he answered general questions for investigators.
"I have talked to a couple agents over the years [since I was] custodian of evidence," he said Thursday evening. "I need to say that our [department] was not [instrumental] in the progress of this investigation. There were times I would talk with agents [who sought] the exchange of evidence. This was DCI's case."
News accounts from the 80s said Hook's body was discovered outside his burned-out mobile home in rural Drakesville. Investigators searched for Link to tell her about her son's death but could not locate her. A farmer found her body in a wooded area near Eldon. Two days later, police dogs discovered Lade's body, also in Wapello County.
Police say no one is in custody at this time in connection to the deaths. And though a media wire report calls the case "solved," Davis said he wouldn't go quite that far.
"Solved? I'm not comfortable with me saying that. I will say there has been [substantial movement] in the case, and certain evidence will be brought to light which I feel will be of interest [to the public]."
The Courier expects to have updates to this story later today at www.ottumwa.com, as well as in the Saturday edition of the newspaper.
"Hopefully this will give a little peace of mind to some of the family members," Davis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. To follow news reporter Mark Newman on Twitter, see @CourierMark