Lillian Randolph with granddaughter Elizabeth O'Hara

Lillian Randolph with granddaughter
Elizabeth O’Hara

On May 2, 1965, Lillian Randolph shared Mother’s Day with her oldest child’s birthday. It would also be the last day Lillian would ever be seen alive.

The mother of four — Hank, Ann, Wendy and Vicki — was kidnapped from her rural Guthrie Center, Iowa home that day after attending church with her daughters. Nine days later on May 11, state authorities found her body in the trunk of her car at the Polk County Municipal Airport.

Lillian had been stabbed 13 times.

Officials have long believed that Lillian’s estranged husband, Howard Fitz Randolph, hired two men to kidnap and then kill his wife after he left that Sunday to take the two younger girls to the Ice Follies.

Randolph had adopted all four children after he and Lillian married, but allegedly wanted control of the girls and resented the monthly “separate maintenance” payments he had to make to Lillian. Throughout the marriage, Randolph inflicted both emotional and physical pain on Lillian and her two youngest children, sometimes denying them the most basic of necessities. Yet each time Lillian tried to break free from the dominating Randolph, he would somehow find a way to make her stay.

With help from a Des Moines attorney, Lillian finally had Randolph banned from the couple’s home and Randolph was ordered to pay Lillian $800 each month. Lillian had been making plans to move with the children to another city, but never got the chance.

If you have any information about Lillian’s unsolved murder please contact the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office at 641-747-2214.

One Response to In Memory of a Loving Mother: Lillian Hedman Randolph

  1. Wendy says:

    I found this tribute to my mother by accident tonight. Thank you for remembering her so accurately.
    every day I long for her – “closure” is psychological bs.
    I tried hard to keep her safe and was up against a monster I underestimated.
    how pleased she would be to know Jesus Christ has given me beauty for ashes ! Isaiah 61:3….or maybe she does know

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