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Past sheriff King spent years on Uden case

Oct 13, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

By the late 1980s, the trail had run cold in the case of three missing persons from Fremont County. Virginia Uden, 32, of Riverton, disappeared Sept. 12, 1980, along with her sons Reagan, 10, and Richard, 11.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office quickly came to suspect that Uden's ex-husband, Gerald Uden, and his new wife, Alice, were behind the disappearances, but several years of investigation never turned up enough evidence to make a case.

During his investigation, Tim McKinney, sheriff from 1978 to 1990, learned Alice Uden might have murdered her ex-husband, Ronald Holtz, in Laramie County in 1974 or 1975.

Persistence

Despite finding little new evidence in a decade, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office did not give up. Dave King, who would be sheriff from 1998 to 2000, was asked to work the Uden case when he became a detective in 1991.

He began by interviewing some of Alice Uden's family, and King heard a similar story to what McKinney learned a decade earlier.

"We tried to see if there was a crack in the armor somewhere," King said. "At that time we learned of the killing in Laramie County."

The detective heard Alice Uden may have been involved in Holtz's disappearance, and he worked with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation to develop the case.

King and the DCI also spoke with Holtz's family in Colorado and investigated further around Laramie and Cheyenne.

"We had a lot of evidence that this (murder of Holtz) occurred, but we couldn't pin dates down exactly," King said.

He turned all of the information he did have over to the Laramie County Sheriff's Office, but they were not able to close the case or find Holtz's remains either.

The sheriff's office also obtained blood samples from Virginia Uden's mother, Claire Martin, to provide DNA so authorities could identify the missing trio's remains if and when they were found.

Despite King's efforts, neither Fremont County's or Laramie County's sheriff's offices could find remains.

No body

Without a body, a murder case is hard to prosecute, the former sheriff said, and the cases languished.

Still, he was happy "the torch stayed lit" with authorities continuing to work the case, culminating in the charges filed in September.

"I guess Gerald and Alice, hopefully, will get to meet in hell sometime," King said.

"I'm really delighted at this stage where things are."

RELATED CONTENT

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

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. 2: Suspects lived 'untouchable' in Missouri

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