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Suspects lived 'untouchable' in Missouri

Oct 2, 2013 - Staff and wire reports

The couple charged in homicides tied to one of Fremont County's most-notorious missing persons cases lived "untouchable" in rural southwest Missouri for decades until investigators found key evidence in one of their cases.

"These people weren't on the run. The investigators knew where these people were at," Christian County (Mo.) Sheriff Joey Kyle said Tuesday. "They just didn't have the evidence to bring them in. ... It wasn't like they were hid out all this time. They were untouchable."

Gerald Uden, 71, and Alice Louise Uden, 74, of Chadwick, Mo., are jailed in Christian County on first-degree murder charges. Both suspects have waived extradition to Wyoming.

Scott Homar, district attorney for Laramie County in Cheyenne, said the couple likely would be back in Wyoming this month.

Gerald Uden is accused of killing his ex-wife, 32-year-old Virginia Uden, and her two children, Richard Uden, 12, and Reagan Uden. Virginia Uden and her children were last seen near Pavillion in 1980.

In a case believed so far to be unrelated to the other three deaths, Gerald Uden's current wife, Alice Louise Uden, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Ronald Holtz, who disappeared in 1974 or 1975.

The couple married in September 1974. His remains were found recently in an abandoned mine in Laramie County in southeast Wyoming.

Online court records don't list lawyers for the Udens.

The Udens had been in Christian County since "sometime shortly after the 1980 homicide," Kyle said Tuesday. He didn't know what led the couple to southwest Missouri. Gerald Uden worked as a truck driver.

"I don't know if there's any kind of familial connection or if they had a map and closed their eyes and pointed and found it," Kyle said.

He said Alice Uden was cooperative when she was arrested at the couple's home, which is in a remote area. Her demeanor during the arrest "was consistent with an individual who appears to have acknowledged she's been caught," Kyle said.

"I'm not quoting her here, but it was as if she just shrugged her shoulders and says, 'well it was a good run,'" he said.

That visit with law enforcement was not the first time Alice Uden talked with investigators since moving to Missouri. Wyoming investigators also visited her at her home in Missouri in January 2005, and asked her to provide "a complete family tree." Alice Uden left out a detail -- her marriage to Holtz, according to an affidavit supporting the charge against her.

"A. Uden was interviewed again the following day and confronted about omitting the information on Holtz," the affidavit said. "As soon as his named was mentioned by Agents, A. Uden fell back against the wall. A. Uden stated, 'My kids told you,'" according to the affidavit.

She then told investigators she hadn't mentioned Holtz "because the marriage was so brief, and she never considered it a real marriage."

Virginia Uden's mother, Claire Martin, died in April without knowing what happened to her only daughter and only grandchildren, said family friend Tracy Morrin of Riverton.

"I'm sad that it didn't come about when Claire was still alive," said Morrin, who said she knew Martin for years. "Mostly I'm happy you know that there's going to be an end to this story. But I'm really sad my friend's passed away before she knew."

Martin died earlier this year, and her Ranger obituary included reference to the case of her daughter and grandchildren.

RELATED CONTENT

Oct. 16: Uden waives preliminary hearing; he'll be bound over for murder

Oct. 13: Past sheriff King spent years on Uden case

Oct. 10: Original Uden probe used psychics, past sheriff recalls

Oct. 8: Uden arrives in county; bond denied by judge

Oct. 6: With Uden case cracked, past sheriffs recall years of worry

Oct. 1: Uden case solved after 33 years; man arrested in Missouri

Opinion: Cold cases -- Three of them have 'warmed up' virtually at the same time

Letters: Break in the Uden case is 'nothing short of incredible'

Obituary: Claire 'Peg' C. Martin

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Fremont County
Gerald Uden