HEBRON — In August 1980, the murders of two Fort Atkinson-area teenage sweethearts left the community reeling and desperately searching for clues.
It would be 29 years before the families of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew received closure.
At 9 p.m. tonight, the dual slaying of Tim and Kelly will be the focus of an episode of the recently resurrected A&E television show, “Cold Case Files.”
Spanning 125 episodes, “Cold Case Files” originally premiered on A&E in 1998 and subsequently ran for almost 10 years. The “genre-defining,” Emmy-nominated true crime series began airing again on Feb. 27.
The return of the show will “explore compelling new cases that have gone cold for years and chronicle the journeys of the detectives who re-opened them,” according to an A&E press release. “Each episode of the new ‘Cold Case Files’ will feature a single case that has been left unsolved for years, brought to life through cinematic dramatizations and gripping first-person storytelling from the detectives and loved ones who lived through the harrowing experiences.”
Different approaches to solving cold cases will be highlighted, with cases more wide-ranging than ever before. Crowd-solving, social media and new advancements in technology are used to lead to further breakthroughs in each documented case, A&E notes.
The episode covering the 1980 Hack-Drew murder case, titled “Sweethearts, Silenced,” will tell how “a killer authors a book about his conman past that becomes the key to solving a 29-year-old cold case of two high school sweethearts — and three other cold case murders — leading police to believe he could be the Zodiac Killer.”
“We chose to explore the murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew on ‘Cold Case Files’ because it was one of the most impactful cases we came across,” Laura Fleury, senior vice president and head of programming international at A&E Networks said. “Not only were the deaths of these two small-town sweethearts left unsolved for 29 years, but the case ultimately led detectives to a serial killer many believe could be the infamous Zodiac Killer.”
Local filming for the episode took place in August and November of 2016.
“The people from ‘Cold Case Files’ and the A&E network were fantastic to work with,” Patrick Hack, Tim’s brother, said. “They were very, very nice. Our family enjoyed them and we’re hoping that the episode that they put together that’s going to air tonight turns out good and positive.”
The family previously had been approached several times about doing books or documentaries and they’ve declined, with the exception of another show that ran in 2012.
“‘Cold Case Files’ was on years ago,” Patrick said. “It was very intriguing, the way that they would portray a case or a story, and we felt very comfortable with them.”
Personally, Patrick said, he was feeling that Tim and Kelly had been forgotten. A friend of his who moved to the area never had heard of them.
“It was probably a week after that I got a call from the producers of ‘Cold Case Files,’” he said. “I thought, ‘This is the perfect opportunity, not to tell the story of Tim and Kelly, but to tell the story of who they were and they were part of the community and not to focus on the crime, but to focus on the families and who Tim and Kelly were.’ The people who never met Tim and Kelly, now they’ll have a chance, through this program, to see who they were.
“I’m never afraid to talk about Tim and Kelly,” Patrick added. “I just don’t want them forgotten.”
The Drew family was not involved in the production.
Tim Hack, of Hebron, and Kelly Drew, of Fort Atkinson, disappeared from a wedding reception at the Concord House in the Town of Concord on Aug. 9, 1980. Both 19 and graduates of Fort Atkinson High School, they had arranged to meet friends at Fort Fest after attending the dance, but they never showed up.
Tim’s brown Oldsmobile remained parked at the Concord House with his jacket, checkbook, wallet and the $67 it contained still locked inside. Searches found Kelly’s shredded clothes along a road days after the two teens went missing.
Over the next 72 days, Jefferson County authorities conducted a search that was described as one of the largest manhunts ever conducted in the State of Wisconsin. The couple’s remains finally were discovered by two Milwaukee squirrel hunters on Oct. 19 at the edge of the woods near a cornfield off Hustisford Road in the Town of Ixonia, approximately eight miles from the Concord House.
The bodies were too badly decomposed to immediately determine the cause of death, authorities said. Autopsies were performed and the forensic medical examiner listed the manner of death as homicide. The probable time of death was August 1980.
No weapons were found and, though many theories were put forward, no one was arrested … until Thursday, July 30, 2009, when Edward W. Edwards, Louisville, Ky., was taken into custody after DNA on Kelly’s pants connected him to the case.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Chad Garcia was in charge of the case when the key domino was tipped over, setting off a chain reaction and allowing the pieces that had been placed by his predecessors to fall, ultimately leading to the arrest and subsequent conviction of Edwards.
“We submitted the DNA and got it back in ’07 sometime,” Garcia told the Daily Union on Wednesday. “It took over a year to get it back, because it obviously wasn’t a priority case because it was a cold case. Then, in ’09, the state got a grant to work on cold cases with some other agencies, so they reviewed some cold cases throughout the state. Since we had a DNA profile, they said, ‘Well, we’ll check yours out.’”
In March of 2009, NBC television Channel 15 in Madison ran reports on the cases being investigated by the state.
The first week after the Hack-Drew special ran, Garcia said he “got a ton of tips,” but that they quickly slowed down. It wasn’t until early May that a call from Edwards’ daughter, April Edwards, tipped the key domino.
“We talked for about an hour and she tells me all sorts of things,” Garcia said. “She was a kid when this all happened and she just ran across it on the Internet. One of the things she tells me is about his book, so I order the book on eBay. I read the book, run his criminal history, look for his name in the file and everything adds up that this could potentially be our guy.”
The book in question is Edwards’ 1972 autobiography, “Metamorphosis of a Criminal: The True Life Story of Ed Edwards.” It follows Edwards from his rough childhood through a life of crime that resulted in prison.
Soon after April’s phone call, Garcia traveled to Ohio to interview her in person. In June, he went to Kentucky to interview Edward W. Edwards. Subsequently, the detective obtained a DNA search warrant for Edwards.
“(The book) is sort of what I based my DNA search warrant on,” Garcia said.
In a Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009, article, just five days after Edwards was arrested for the Hack-Drew murders and still in the preliminary stages of the investigation, Garcia and his supervisor, now-retired Detective Sgt. Larry Lee, expressed their caution regarding some of the book’s material. Lee said that, while the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was interested in Edwards’ background, it was more interested in the criminal aspects of his life.
“That was (Edwards’) claim because we tried using the book against him,” Garcia said. “So his claim was that it was all fabricated and wasn’t true because, obviously, ... it paints him in a horrible way. Even his psych evaluation is printed in the book, which wasn’t the best thing to do. It paints him in a horrible light.”
After the results of the DNA test came back with a match to semen found on Kelly’s pants, Garcia traveled back to Kentucky, arrested Edwards and spent eight hours interviewing him.
According to the criminal complaint, a penetrating wound through the left back of Tim’s shirt, as well as right rib damage consistent with a knife wound, were found. Examination of Kelly revealed ligature marks on her ankles and wrists, with strangulation listed as the probable cause of death.
In August of 2009, Edwards was extradited to Wisconsin. He was held in custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on a $2 million cash bail.
In June 2010, as part of a multifaceted plea agreement with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Summit County, Ohio, Prosecutor’s Office, Edwards pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for both the Hack-Drew murders and the murders of Billy Lavaco, 21 of Doylestown, Ohio, and Judy Straub, 18, of Sterling, Ohio, who were shot in the neck at close range in August 1977. The serial killer made a plea for execution during an interview at the Jefferson County Jail following his sentencing for the dual Wisconsin and Ohio murders.
On March 8, 2011, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection for aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping for the 1996 death of Daniel “Dannie Boy Edwards” Gloeckner, his foster son.
Less than a month later, on April 7, 2011, Edwards died from natural cause at the Corrections Medical Center in Columbus, where he was being held. His execution had been scheduled for Aug. 31.
Edwards had been convicted of five murders when he died, but Garcia said he is “pretty confident” there are at least five to seven more he committed and “who knows beyond that.”
“Ultimately, what happens after that, is I start getting calls from all over the country, ‘Could it be him?’ because I had a timeline set up for him and, ‘Could he have been in this area?’” he said. “That’s where we start piecing some of these other ones together.”
Garcia’s list of Edwards’ confirmed and suspected victims includes 15 names involved in incidents ranging from 1956 to 1966.
“It’s a combination of reading the book, talking to him, his M.O., his history, his admissions, his timeline that I’ve got between him, his wife, his criminal record and his daughter and other kids — so his timeline’s pretty solid — and then his own timeline that he gave because he wrote a letter to the FBI at one point asking for their records on him,” Garcia said. “In the letter, he indicates all the places he lived and went, so that’s pretty solid right there. Then using the outside agencies that contacted me and gave me a rundown of their cases (was important). So just a combination of all that. Obviously, not enough to pin it on him, but enough to definitely make him a really good suspect.”
The cases include:
• Patricia Kalizke, 16, and her boyfriend, Lloyd Duane Bogle, 18, were murdered in the winter of 1956 in Great Falls, Mont. Both were shot execution-style.
• Larry Peyton and Beverly Allan, both 19, were killed in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 26, 1960. Peyton had been stabbed and beaten to death. Allen was raped and strangled.
• Jesse McBane, 19, and Patricia Mann, 20, were killed on Valentine’s Day in 1971, in Durham, N.C. They had been tortured and strangled.
• Linda and Cliff Bernhardt, both 24, of Billings, Mont., were murdered in their home on Nov. 6, 1973. They were beaten and strangled.
“That one, I don’t know,” Garcia said of the Billings case. “He (Edwards) was in the area, but that one’s not really his forte. Stabbed and shot, tied up, it’s a couple. It’s in an area where he’s at. The only part that doesn’t go was the home invasion because that’s never been his M.O. Even with non-killing type things, he’s never been a burglar-type guy.”
• Billy Lavaco and Judy Straub were shot in August of 1977 in Norton, Ohio. Edwards was convicted of their murder.
• Mary Leonard, 17, and Ricky Beard, 19, were murdered on Aug. 24, 1979, in Akron, Ohio. They were shot and stabbed.
• Tim Hack and Kelly Drew in 1980.
• Daniel “Dannie Boy Edwards” Gloeckner was shot in May of 1996 in Geauga County, Ohio. He was Edwards’ foster son. Edwards was sentenced to death on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping in the case.
Garcia indicated that he was not as sure Edwards was involved in the Zodiac killings as he was the other cases.
“There’s a guy, John Cameron, who is a former probation agent, who believes that (Edwards) is responsible for pretty much every major case that’s ever happened and was unsolved,” Garcia explained. “He called me repeatedly, called investigators that are involved in other states and goes with this stuff. So he’s done videos on YouTube, he’s wrote a book now. He puts in inaccurate information about our case in his book because I wouldn’t give him anything other than what was in the news.”
The book, “It’s Me, Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of,” was published Jan. 15, 2014, and ties Edwards to other famous cases such as JonBenet Ramsey, Scott Peterson and Teresa Halbach.
That being said, Garcia acknowledged that Cameron, who also was a sergeant of detectives and reportedly has worked on FBI serial killer task forces, does make some valid points in his book when arguing for a connection between Edwards and the Zodiac killer.
Garcia said Edwards was an over-the-road truck driver; he traveled to California during the timeframe of the Zodiac killings, was a lone person, took control of couples or women, was very cryptic with messages and liked to taunt police, and he signed letters with multiple symbols.
“All those things match up,” Garcia said. “The one issue I had is, I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that they had DNA from (the Zodiac case) and he would be in the national database for DNA and that’s a pretty large case that, I believe, they still have somebody assigned to.
“So that DNA would have hit the system and, if they have DNA in the system, it would have automatically matched and they would be notified immediately,” he continued. “I’m not sure, I didn’t follow up on it; obviously, that’s not my case.”
Jeffrey De La Rosa of the State Public Defender’s Office, who represented Edwards in the Hack-Drew case, could neither confirm or deny allegations that Edwards was the Zodiac killer.
“Some of the stuff that they’re putting on their teaser obviously is to draw a crowd,” Garcia said of the “Cold Case Files” promotion. “So there’ll be a mention of the Zodiac thing. I haven’t seen the show yet. … But I made it clear to them that I didn’t want to do a John Cameron prove-or-disprove type of thing and we bowed out of those. We didn’t want to get involved in that.
“After the ‘Making a Murderer’ thing happened, we didn’t want to risk something like that,” he continued, referring to the television documentary about convicted murderer Steven Avery. “If we did anything, it was going to be a professional-type show.
Garcia added, “I’m interested to see how their story’s going to play out. I’ve watched numerous (episodes) from when it used to be on and it was very well done, so I’m hoping that’s the way it is and A&E’s usually a pretty good station.”
Patrick Hack also said the family was anxiously awaiting tonight’s episode.