COLD CASE ARREST: Camden County prosecutor announces charges in beating death of woman in 1984

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 5:11 PM CDT|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 9:21 PM CDT
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CAMDENTON, Mo. (KY3) - The Camden County prosecutor announced charges in a nearly 36-year-old cold case involving the death of a Camdenton woman.

Authorities arrested Larry Hicks, 78, in Louisiana for the death of Diana Lukosius in December 1984. Hicks faces a second-degree murder charge.

“The most infamous crime in Camden County occurred and almost destroyed this community,” Prosecutor J. Caleb Cunningham said during a news conference Friday. “It struck fear into the citizens, turned neighbors against each other and left us all diminished for the loss of the victim.”

Police found Lukosius beaten by her car on a road off State Highway 5 in December 1984. Police believed her attacker forced her off a road. Lukosius died two days later from the injuries in the brutal beating.

Deputies interviewed the wife of Larry Hicks, who said she remembered that Hicks was drunk the night Lukosious was killed.

“Larry Gene Hicks made admissions which implicate him in the murder of Diane Lukosius,” Cunningham says.

Detectives questioned Hicks in 1990 for the crime, but never made an arrest. In early May, detectives questioned Hicks again. Detectives say he gave conflicting answers. They say he also made statements admitting it was a possibility he killed Lukosius. Detectives say there were other small admissions of guilt.

Detectives say when they interviewed Hicks this week in Louisiana he said, “I can’t say I didn’t do it.”

Cunningham says this has left a mark on the community for the last 36 years.

“This case has never left this community and has always been in the back of mind of every person who has ever worked in justice enforcement, including me and my office,” Cunningham says. “We were not going to rest because no matter what you do here, if you commit a crime, we will find you and we will charge you and spare no expense in doing that.”

The Camden County Sheriff, Tony Helms, says he’s been with the department since 1991 and has seen how many thousands of hours that have gone into solving this case.

“I can’t remember how many leads,” Sheriff Helms says. “There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of leads.”

Cunningham and Helms told the family in-person earlier Friday that there were finally answers in her death.

“It was very emotional, but after you get that emotion, everyone’s just taking a deep breath and a sigh of relief,” Sheriff Helms says. “There’s closure.”

If convicted, Hicks, now 78 years old, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

“36 years is a long time to wait for justice,” Cunningham says. “The wheels of justice turn slowly but they did turn.”

Detectives are working with authorities in Louisiana to extradite back Hicks back to Camden County.

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