1. How was a killer able to enter the tiny Moore home and murder its eight occupants without waking anyone?
The Moore's probably did not lock their doors before turning in that night. Historians and forensic experts theorize that the parents, representing the greatest threat, were killed first. As those of you with kids know, they often sleep very soundly and the Moore and Stillinger children probably did not awaken. Although some have suggested that Lena Stillinger left her bed and hid in a closet in response to the sound of the the killer coming down the stairs, the crime scene evidence demonstrates that all victims were struck while they slept. Lena was moved down in her bed either by the killer (after her death) or in reponse to the first blow of the axe.
2. Why have the crimes remained unsolved?
A number of circumstances prevented the authorities from bringing the killer to justice. The murders took place around midnight and were discovered between 8:15 and 8:30 in the morning. Even though the killer spent time in the house after the crime covering the windows, lighting kerosene lamps, covering the mirrors and the faces of the victims with articles of clothing, he or she still had several hours to make good their escape. Villisca's town Marshal Hank Horton left the crime scene in the hands of the night Marshal Mike Overman while he contacted Montgomery County law enforcement. The young Marshal couldn't protect the Moore house's three doors (two front doors and one in the back) and soon dozens of townspeople ran through the crime scene disturbing and destroying evidence. Even if the crime scene had been preserved, Villisca, County, and State officials simply did not have the techniques available now to solve anything other than "smoking-gun" murders.
3. Who do you think committed the murders?
While we have never intended to make solving the case the focal point of our production, we were certain we could shed new light on the decades-old unsolved murders. With the help of researchers, forensic experts, and our own examination of the evidence, we have established a new theory. In addition, we will examine the other suspects long thought to be guilty in the case.
4. But who do you think killed eight people with an axe in Villisca, Iowa on June 10, 1912?
For now we are keeping our suspect a secret, but we do plan to reveal the theory in the finished film.
5. Where is Villisca, Iowa?
Villisca is located in Southwest Iowa just a couple of miles south of the intersection of highways 71 and 34. From Interstate-80, you travel south on highway 71. Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County.
6. Is the murder house still standing?
Yes. It has been occupied continuously since 1913 and was purchased in 1993 by a privately-owned museum in Villisca. The house is being restored to its 1912 appearance and in 1997 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
7. Are relatives of the victims still living and are they opposed to the documentary?
Relatives of both the Moores and Stillinger family victims have assisted us with the production of Villisca by supplying us with interviews, photographs, documents, and financial support. In the city of Villisca itself, many townspeople support, some ignore, and a small minority are opposed to our film.
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