Twenty-six years ago today, 20-year-old Justin Hook, Jr.‘s body was found outside near his burned-out mobile home in rural Drakesville in southeast Iowa. Hook had been killed by blows to the head.
When police went to tell Hook’s mother — Sarah Link, 41, of Farmington — about her son’s death, they were unable to locate her. The following Monday, April 16, a farmer found Mrs. Link’s body on a hilly wooded section of his land just north of Eldon. She, too, had died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Investigators still weren’t prepared for what they found next.
During an intensive search for Hook’s fiancée, 19-year-old Tina Marie Lade of Ottumwa, officials discovered she’d also gone missing. On Wednesday, April 18, police dogs discovered Tina’s body in a ravine about a half-mile from where Mrs. Link’s body was found. Lade, too, had been slain by blows to the head.
All three victims were last seen on Thursday, April 12. No murder weapons were ever recovered in any of the three homicides, and autopsy reports indicated none of the bodies showed any trace of drugs.
The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by eight agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and despite following up on hundreds of leads — including some with strong suspects — no one was ever arrested or charged in any of the murders.
Family members continue in their wait for justice.
If you have any information on this triple homicide, please contact the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office at 641-684-4350.