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4 cold case murders in Wyoming are pinned on husband, wife from Chadwick

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:13:59 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 01 2013 04:44:51 PM CDT
Gerald Uden and Alice Uden

KY3 News

Gerald Uden and Alice Uden of Chadwick, Mo., were charged last fall for four murders, in two unrelated cases several years apart, in Wyoming.

OZARK, Mo. -

A married couple from Chadwick, Mo., are charged with killing their ex-spouses decades ago in Wyoming. Alice Uden, 74, is charged with killing Ronald Holtz, 25, in late 1974 or early 1975. Her husband, Gerald Uden, 71, is charged with killing Virgina Uden, 32, and her two young sons in 1980.

Both of the Udens were charged and arrested last week. On Monday, they were in the Christian County jail. Both of them waived their rights to extradition proceedings, so they’re awaiting transfer to Wyoming.

Here are more details from a news release from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and from court documents from Wyoming.

Alice Louise Uden, 74, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder filed by the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne. Mrs. Uden is charged for the murder of Holtz sometime between Dec. 24, 1974, and Feb. 5, 1975.

A search on Aug. 27 of an abandoned mine shaft in rural Laramie County, Wyo., resulted in the discovery of skeletal remains which were later identified as belonging to Holtz, a U.S. Army veteran. An autopsy found he was shot in the back of the head with a .22-caliber bullet that was found inside the skull.

The probable cause statement against Alice Uden says detectives interviewed her in January 2005 in Missouri. At that time, she did not confess to killing her husband. Detectives do have a witness, however, who says Uden confessed to the murder in 1975 or 1976. The witness says Alice said she shot Holtz in the head while he slept and put his body in a cardboard barrel and then down the old mine shaft.

In January 2005, Alice at first didn’t even mention to detectives that she had been married to Holtz. When confronted with that information, she said she omitted it “because the marriage was so brief, and she never considered it a real marriage.” The couple married on Sept. 17, 1974, and she filed for divorce on Feb. 5, 1975, but Holtz was never seen after that, so the divorce was granted in July 1975 by default.

Gerald Uden was arrested on three counts of first-degree murder filed by the Fremont County Attorney’s Office in Lander, Wyo. Mr. Uden is charged for the murders of his ex-wife Virginia Uden, 32, and her two children, Richard Uden, 12, and Reagan Uden, 10, who disappeared in September 1980. Mr. Uden adopted those children on March 28, 1975, after he married Virginia on July 23, 1974.

The probable cause statement against Gerald Uden says a detective interviewed him on Sept. 27 at his home and he confessed. He told the detective that he took Virginia, Richard and Reagan out on a rural road near Pavillion, Wyo., on Sept. 12, 1980, under the pretense of going bird hunting. All four got out of the car, and Gerald said he first shot his wife and then shot both boys. The probable cause does not say what he did with the bodies, which have not been found.

Christian County Sheriff Joey Kyle said he thought Gerald and Alice Uden have been living in Christian County for 20 or 30 years.   The Associated Press reports a neighbor said the Udens worked as long-haul truckers and were rarely home.

Nothing in the news release and court documents says whether the Udens knew about the deaths and disappearances of the former spouses and children whenever they got married. The Laramie County prosecutor said in a telephone interview that he didn’t know if the murders of the Udens’ ex-spouses and children had anything to do with the Udens marrying each other. A Fremont County prosecutor said he couldn’t comment about the case beyond what is in the news release and probable cause statement.

Over the past 33 years, various agencies have worked on these investigations. These agencies have included the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office, the Fremont County Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Wyoming National Guard, the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, the Laramie County Fire District, the Cheyenne Fire and Rescue and the University of Wyoming Anthropology Department.

The DCI Cold Case Team was created in late 2012 and consists of DCI agents, an FBI agent, DCI Crime Laboratory Scientists and DCI Intelligence Analysts. This team works in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies, as well as independently on unsolved homicide cases.