Kentucky man charged in Jefferson County homicides
A DNA sample linking a Kentucky man to the murder of two Jefferson County high school sweethearts has led to an arrest in the 30-year-old case.
Edward W. Edwards, 76, of Louisville, Ky., faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Tim Hack of Hebron and Kelly Drew of Fort Atkinson, both 19, who disappeared in 1980.
Edwards was arrested Thursday afternoon in Louisville after a DNA sample from Edwards was matched July 8 to semen found on Drew’s pants, according to the criminal complaint.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office filed charges Thursday, and Edwards is scheduled for an arraignment today on a fugitive warrant.
If a judge decides the warrant is valid, Edwards will have an extradition hearing, prosecutors said.
The murders have haunted Jefferson County for almost three decades.
Drew’s brother, Mike Drew, said his family has mixed emotions about the arrest.
“We’re all just very surprised,” he said. “Is this really what we want? Are we going to end up reliving this again?
“But we kind of weigh that against, have we found justice now?” he said. “I’m somewhat excited that maybe we’re finally going to write the final chapter of this thing.”
It’s difficult having his family back in the limelight, he said, and a few family members are troubled by it.
“The case isn’t over yet,” he said. “It’s a long ways from done.”
Hack’s father, Dave Hack, said he was visited Thursday night by a local investigator.
“He walked into the door and said, ‘We found your son’s killer.’ It was a total shock. I never expected to hear it,” he said.
He was relieved that the arrested man wasn’t local.
“The biggest thing is that all the other suspects my brother-in-law and I had didn’t do it, which is a good thing. It wasn’t a local man,” he said.
“All I would ask of (Edwards) is what his motive was. It looks like a rape-murder, but how do we know?”
Kelly’s mother, Norma Walker, 70, said she was surprised to hear of the arrest.
“You hope this day would come, but now that it’s here, it’s really hard. Everything starts all over again. All the memories come back,” she said.
“He robbed me of my daughter, robbed me of Christmases, birthdays, weddings, everything families do together.”
She doesn’t want to hear details of the slayings, and she dreads a trial.
According to the criminal complaint:
Tim’s father reported the couple missing Aug. 10, 1980. He told deputies the couple had gone to a wedding reception at the Concord House in Sullivan.
The two were last seen leaving the reception around 11 p.m. Tim’s father found Tim’s car in the Concord House parking lot the next morning, still locked with Tim’s wallet inside.
Searchers combed the area for two months. A week after the couple disappeared, they found Kelly’s pants, bra and underwear in the road within 5 miles of the Concord House. The clothes had been cut apart.
A month later, squirrel hunters found Kelly’s body in the woods about 8 miles from the Concord House. The next day, searchers found Tim’s body in the same area.
A medical examiner found ligature marks on Kelly’s ankles and wrists, suggesting she had been tied up. She apparently had been strangled.
Tim had been stabbed in the back and chest.
Family members criticized investigators in a previous Gazette article for not doing enough early in the investigation. They said evidence wasn’t properly collected, documented or shared.
Tim and Kelly were buried Oct. 24, 1980, in Hebron Cemetery a few hundred yards north of the Hack farm. They lie side-by-side under a double-heart headstone.
They had started dating about three years before their murders, when they were sophomores at Jefferson High School. They kept dating after graduating in 1979.
The couple seemed destined to wed.
Earlier this year, detectives decided Edwards was worth investigating again.
Investigators already knew Edwards had worked as a handyman at the Concord House and campgrounds next to the hall. Witnesses remembered Edwards had a bloody nose during the weekend the couple disappeared. He said he had hurt it deer hunting.
A month after the murders, Edwards left Wisconsin with his family.
In June, detectives went to Louisville to interview Edwards again. Edwards said he remembered living at a campground next to the Concord House in July 1980. He also said he didn’t recognize Tim or Kelly’s names and didn’t remember hearing anything about the missing couple.
When pressed, however, Edwards later remembered investigators questioning him about their disappearance and slayings. He said he had a few beers at the Concord House and may have seen the couple.
He also told them he had never been deer hunting.
Investigators received a DNA sample from Edwards, resulting in his arrest.
Edwards, who has a pacemaker and diabetes, goes by the name Wayne. His wife, Kay Edwards, said her husband was a retired carpenter.
A neighbor, Fred Payne, said Edwards lived with his wife in a mobile home and that the couple had moved from Florida six or seven years ago.
Payne said he was surprised by the charges against Edwards. He said he had little communication with Edwards but described him as “a good neighbor who never bothered anyone. I didn't see a whole lot of him.”
Lt. Barry Wilkerson, head of Louisville Metro Police Homicide unit, said at a press conference Friday afternoon that Louisville police were researching cold cases back to around 2000 to see if any connection to Edwards could be found. He said Edwards apparently had moved frequently before settling in Louisville.
Because of Edwards’ physical condition, Wilkerson said, “It's not likely (Edwards) will commit a violent act. But (the arrest) will give the families and the community (in Wisconsin) closure and we have taken another murderer off the street.”
Edwards is in a wheelchair and uses supplemental oxygen.
The murder probe in Wisconsin was a cooperative investigation between the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“My goal has always been and remains to get justice for the victims of these crimes. This arrest brings us closer to that goal,” Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath said.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen credited investigators for their work.
“I am pleased the work of law enforcement and the success of our cooperative cold-case efforts have resulted in the arrest of a suspect in this matter,” Van Hollen said. “My thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms. Drew and Mr. Hack.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Last updated: 11:15 am Thursday, December 13, 2012