Cold Case: Who killed Lisa Peak? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cold Case: Who killed Lisa Peak?

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"It's been 40 years. It's about time for it to just be resolved," said Meredith van Benthuysen, Lisa Peak's sister. 

The year was 1976. Lisa Peak, a sophomore journalism student at Wartburg College, was kidnapped and murdered.  Her body was found in a ditch outside of Waverly.

Peak’s sister, Meredith van Benthuysen, says she thinks of her often.

"You know it's no longer for revenge or anything else, it's just about finding, finding out the truth and knowing what happened," said van Benthuysen.  

Peak’s mother died a little over a year ago, never knowing who her daughter’s killer was. In a 2010 interview she talked about how investigators were still on the case.

"Very encouraging to know that they never give up," said Mary Peak.

Peak was last seen leaving campus and walking toward the shopping center. Her body was later found naked, in a ditch. She was raped and murdered.

In the years that followed, Peak's parents searched for answers. Here is a letter written by them, in hopes it would run in the Waverly Democrat Newspaper. 

"Anytime you are dealing with anything with missing persons and obviously with a homicide it impacts the community," said Jack Liao, Special Agent with the DCI.

Peak died at the young age of 19 and 40 years later, the killer is still out there. Throughout those 40 years several law enforcement officials have been on the case.

"We're always hopeful but we understand. You know this case has defiantly taught us the hurdles involved with working cases like this," said Dave MacDonald, retired investigator.

Investigators say they have several thousand names they look at, all in connection to Lisa Peak.

"As far as any investigation it's about following the facts and what evidence we can use to support with that information," said Special Agent Liao.

Each month a group of investigators, past and present, come together to talk about the case. Each month they have a new focus and a new hope, although nothing concrete to tell KWWL during our visit.

Lisa Peak's body was found out in the country, but when investigators talk about Lisa, they're thinking about two other girls too.

1971, Valerie Klossowsky, just 14 years old, found near a bridge outside of Denver Iowa.

1975 Julie Benning, just 18 years old, goes missing, four months later her body was found in a ditch near Shell Rock.

"The fact that we have three young females all last seen walking in Waverly, you know all with the remains being found out in the county we're actively pursuing it as a potential, very likelihood we have one suspect," said Liao.

Lisa Peak’s sister says she does her own research from her Florida home

"I don't know that I'm in a position to say that I know who did it. There's never been any confirmation to say I absolutely know who did it," said van Benthuysen.

As for now, the Peak family just waits, just like they've been doing the last 40 years. It's something Peak's mother took to her own grave.

"Very encouraging to know that they never give up. That's what they keep telling us whenever they talk to us. They say it's still an active case, we don't close," said Mary Peak in a 2010 interview.

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