1984 Triple Homicide Solved After Nearly 30 Years

Image courtesy the Ottumwa Courier

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By Aaron Hepker

OTTUMWA, Iowa - A Coralville woman who lost her mother and brother in a triple homicide nearly 30 years ago expects to finally get closure Friday.

Authorities say they've solved a 1984 triple homicide case that seemingly had gone cold and plan to announce the "resolution" at a news conference at 2 p.m., Friday at the Wapello County Sheriff's Office in Ottumwa.

While authorities aren't identifying the case by name, the only case that matches the description is the murders of Justin Alfred Hook, Jr., 20, Sarah Lee Link, 41, and Tina Marie Lade, 19, in far southeastern Iowa in April 1984.

Cindy Moyes, 50, of Coralville, said on Thursday evening she's been notified the announcement involves her brother, Hook, and mother, Link. Lade was Hook's fiancee. Relatives have been called in for a meeting with investigators prior to the news conference, she said.

"It's been 30 years," Moyes said. "I have mixed feelings, a lot of mixed feelings. It depends on what they tell me tomorrow. I am hoping to get some closure tomorrow, but I am afraid I will feel I should have known this before."

According to Iowa Cold Case, a website devoted to solving cold cases, firefighters discovered the body of Hook, who was born in Iowa City, outside his burnt mobile home on the afternoon of April 13, 1984 in rural Drakesville in southeast Iowa.

A farmer found his mother, Sarah Link, 41, of Farmington, on April 16, 1984 on his land north of Eldon, which is about 20 miles north and east of Drakesville. Police dogs discovered Lade's body in a ravine about a half-mile away on April 18, according to the website.

All three died of blunt force trauma to the head. About a year after the murders, authorities said they hadn't had new leads in months, no motives and hadn't found a murder weapon, according to the website.

Moyes said she was first contacted a few months ago by investigators about a break in the case. She said at that point she was told for the first time they had a suspect.

"I was surprised. Pleased and surprised and anxious to hear what they found," Moyes said. "Then I got a call on Monday, and they said they are ready to release the information they got."

Moyes said she suspects what the findings will be, but she prefers to hear out the officials before making any assumptions.

The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, Davis County Sheriff's Office, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation plan to announce the resolution, according to a news release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Read more about the case, here.
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