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Murder In The Ozarks: Charges Filed In 36-Year-Old Cold Case

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CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — A murder case from 1984 at Lake of the Ozarks that had long gone cold has heated up, with a murder charge filed on Friday.

At a press conference on Friday evening, Camden County Prosecutor Caleb Cunningham announced that a no-bond warrant had been issued for Larry Gene Hicks, for the murder of Diane Lukosius, a cold case from 36 years ago. Hicks is charged with 2nd Degree Murder, a Class A Felony.

"After thousands of hours of work, the efforts of countless people, neighbors, prosecutors, family members and others... We got him," Cunningham said.

On Dec. 15, 1984, Lukosius, a 30-year-old dental assistant and long-time Camdenton resident, was found bludgeoned to death in a ditch outside of Camelot Estates where she lived. Lukosius had been on her way back from a Christmas party when she was killed.

In 1989, Hicks was identified as a person of interest in the case. In an interview with his then-stepdaughter Terri Lea Gilliland, she revealed that Hicks was a violent drunk who had a history of beating her.

Hicks' wife at the time, Cindi Hicks Mathis, said that Hicks had come home at 2 a.m. the morning after the murder and had blood on his clothes, scratches on his face and had passed by the location of the murder on his way home. She also stated that Hicks was "big, jealous and extremely violent when he's drunk," according to the probable cause report.

According to witnesses who knew Hicks, his demeanor changed after the night of the murder, including drinking more frequently, quitting fishing and other things he normally did, and coming to work drunk.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Camden County officers went to a small town in Louisiana where Hicks was now residing to interview him about Lukosius's murder. While speaking with police, Hicks revealed that on the night of the murder he had been drinking for at least 10 hours and was extremely intoxicated, when he saw Lukosius in Kitty Hawk bar.

According to the probable cause document, Hicks remembered the night of the murder in great detail, down to the conversation he'd had with others in the bar and what direction he'd walked into Kitty Hawk. Hicks also lived across a narrow cove from Lukosius' house and could see when she came home.

Although Hicks initially denied any allegations, when officers asked if it was possible that he could have assaulted Lukosius that night, Hicks reportedly answered "If I think about the beer, and the time lapse, it's very possible." Hicks also made the statement "I can't say that I didn't do it," when asked about the murder, according to the document.

"He certainly made a life for himself down there and led a relatively normal life from what we could tell for the last 30 years after the murder occurred," Cunningham said.

Cunningham stated at the press conference that the prosecutor's office would work closely with St. Mary's Parish in Louisiana to bring Hicks to trial. If convicted, Hicks could face up to life in prison.