FREMONT COUNTY, Iowa — Rumors of an alleged serial killer in a small town in western Iowa have made international headlines.

Donald Dean Studey passed away in 2013 but his daughter, Lucy Studey, informed the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office in 2007 that her dad was a serial killer and had made her help dispose of the bodies.

“We have heard about this for years. She (Lucy) told us in 2007 and we went out and there was only one well on the property that we could see, we didn’t realize that it was on other people’s property,” said Tim Bothwell, Deputy Sheriff of Fremont County.

Bothwell said that the sheriff’s office got a recent tip that led them to search a property that was right behind the Studey property.

“We had several hits to the dogs that indicated that day,” said Bothwell. The sheriff’s office brought out cadaver dogs to sniff around this newly discovered well. Now, Fremont County is planning an excavation.

“The initial excavation of the area was a little over $300,000,” said Bothwell. “And with a county with a $1.8 million law enforcement budget, that would just devastate our budget.”

Bothwell confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation will be meeting with Fremont officials next week. All three agencies will discuss the best way to move forward, which could be an excavation with funding help from the state and federal entities.

But the story has already hit the mainstream, getting clicks on different news outlet’s websites all over the globe. And in town, the news spread like wildfire.

“I’ve seen a lot of stuff on stories on Snapchat and TikTok about it, and how he lived in this area and about all the people he has allegedly killed,” said Jackson Deiber, who lives in Sidney, just six miles away from Thurman.

“I just think it’s crazy honestly,” said Jesse Lytle, also a resident of Sidney. “You wouldn’t think anything like that would be happening around here.”