100 years of mystery: The Villisca ax murders - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 12:30 am / Updated at 7:24 am
100 years of mystery: The Villisca ax murders

One hundred years ago in Villisca, Iowa, a family of six and two little farm girls on a sleepover were bludgeoned to death in their beds. The crime became known by the name of the town that it would forever stain, and by the weapon that the mysterious assailant used to work his evil: The Villisca ax murders.

It was — and remains — Iowa's largest mass murder.

Who killed eight people on that moonless Iowa night? Even now, no one knows.


Part One: The Murders

By Christopher Burbach / WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

VILLISCA, Iowa — On June 10, 1912, neighbors of Josiah and Sarah Moore began to wonder what was wrong next door when the curtains were still closed and nobody was stirring by 7:30 a.m. It was too warm to leave the windows down.

Josiah Moore should have been heading downtown to his hardware and implement store. And Sarah Moore and the children should have been among the other early risers of Villisca, even though they had been up late the night before for a special Sunday children's program at the church.

Something was beyond wrong in the Moore house. Read more/Read less

Part Two: The Town


VILLISCA, Iowa — One hundred years after the ax murders, the people of this Montgomery County town would rather be known for something else.

But is being recognized for something awful better than not being noticed at all? Read more/Read less

Part Three: The Murderer

By Christopher Burbach / WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Fifty-seven years after Edgar Epperly began researching the Villisca ax murders, he still hasn't decided who the killer is.

“I get asked that a lot,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Decorah, Iowa. “We've decided on two people.” Read more/Read less

Contact the writer: Christopher Burbach

christopher.burbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1057    |  

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