If I had my time again
I would do it all the same
And not change a single thing
I have a feeling that Alice Uden would change a few things if she had a chance to do everything all over again. But who knows?
|Alice Uden in court|
The 74-year-old woman was recently convicted of shooting Ronald Holtz in the head while he slept and dumping his body in a mine shaft in 1974. Or maybe it was 1975.
According to authorities, the murder took place sometime between Christmas Eve 1974 and February 5, 1975. (It seems curious that you could narrow down the date of a murder to a six-week time period that begins and ends on particular dates. But maybe that's just me.)
One of Uden's children, Todd Scott, has been telling people for years that his mother told him shortly after Holtz's death what she had done. But apparently no one listened until last year, when Holtz's remains were found in an abandoned mine on a Wyoming ranch almost 40 years after his death.
After she shot Holtz -- who had become her third husband only weeks earlier -- Alice emptied Christmas decorations from a 55-gallon cardboard barrel and stuffed his body inside it. She rolled the barrel to her car, got it into her trunk and drove to a Wyoming ranch where she and her previous husband had been caretakers until he died in 1973. There she disposed of the body in an abandoned mine.
|The Udens on the cover|
of People magazine
I don't know about you, but I have a couple of questions:
First, didn't this woman have a hell of a lot of Christmas decorations?
Second, has anyone checked to see exactly what husband #2 died of?
A few months after she knocked off Holtz, Alice filed for divorce and was granted one by default when Holtz couldn't be found to accept service of the required legal papers.
She then married her fourth husband, Gerald Uden, in November 1976. That was five months after Gerald had left his previous wife, Virginia, and her two sons from a previous marriage.
Now here's a really odd coincidence. Gerald shot Virginia and her two sons in 1980, and left their bodies in an abandoned mine.
Here are some excerpts from a fabulous Associated Press story about Uden, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the triple murders last fall:
He was vague about his motive but said Virginia Uden had become "intolerable."
[NOTE: Right now, that is not a valid legal defense to murdering your husband or wife. If that ever changes, all hell's going to break loose in this country.]
Gerald Uden married Virginia Uden in 1974.
"She came to me in false pretenses," Uden told the courtroom. "She came to me looking for a husband, and through circumstances, I fell in love with this woman, and we married."
[NOTE: Uden has a way with words. It's no surprise this silver-tongued devil had all these women fighting over him.]
He said on the day of the slayings, he met Virginia and the boys at a corner near his home east of Pavillion. [NOTE: Pavillion is a small town in central Wyoming.] He said Virginia brought along a .22-caliber rifle, but he denied asking her to bring it.
He said they drove 5 or 6 miles north in a 1973 Ford Country Squire station wagon, then got out near an irrigation canal.
"The boys wanted to shoot the rifle," Uden said. "I said I wanted to test it. I tested it; it worked just fine."
[NOTE: You can say that again!]
He said he walked up behind Virginia Uden, shot her in the back of the head, then shot [eleven-year-old] Richard behind the ear.
"[Ten-year-old] Reagan saw what was happening. He ran, tripped, and fell in the ditch," Uden said. "When he did, I walked up and shot him behind the ear."
Uden said he disposed of the bodies in an old mine but went back a couple months later and retrieved them.
|Fremont Lake, Wyoming|
He put Virginia's body in a 55-gallon steel drum and sealed it, he said, then put the boys' bodies in a 30-gallon drum and sealed it, too. He said he took his boat to Fremont Lake and dumped the drums.
The bodies have not been found.
Gerald and Alice Uden then moved to Missouri, where they resided until their recent arrests.
Here's the best line from the AP story: "Authorities have not speculated whether the crimes are linked beyond the fact that the alleged perpetrators have been married for more than 30 years."
Are you kidding me?
Let's review the bidding, boys and girls. Alice shoots her husband, puts his dead body inside a 55-gallon barrel, and dumps it down a mine shaft. Then she marries Gerald, and a few years later, Gerald does exactly the same thing with his ex-wife's dead body. I think we can all agree that the two crimes were linked.
By the way, the Udens picked a pretty good place to hide out. They moved to Chadwick, an unincorporated community deep in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks.
Chadwick is about half an hour from Ava, population 2993, which was founded in 1871 by a group of pioneers that included my great-great-great-grandfather, James Hailey.
Ava is the county seat and largest city in Douglas County, where much of the movie Winter's Bone (2010) was filmed.
|The Ava Fire Department|
If you haven't seen it, Winter's Bone tells the lighthearted story of the Dolly clan of Missouri -- my natal state. The heroine is 17-year-old Ree Dolly (played by Jennifer Lawrence, who later went on to bigger and better things), who spends her time looking after her two younger brothers and her mentally ill mother and trying to track down her father, Jessup Dolly.
Jessup, who has been accused of manufacturing methamphetamine, has jumped bail. Since the Dollys' humble country abode was put up as part of Jessup's bond, Ree and her family will lose their home if she can't locate him before his trial date. Ree is convinced that her father has been killed so he can't rat out his partners in crime, but the bail bondsman needs proof of that.
Some of Dee's murderous, meth-cooking kin take her to a pond where her dead father's body has been dumped. She reaches into the freezing water and grabs one of her daddy's lifeless hands, then pulls it out of the water so her aunts can sever it from the rest of him with a chainsaw. Dee delivers the hand to the local sheriff, and the fingerprints prove that the hand belongs to Jessup.
And everyone lives happily ever after!
The Udens would have felt right at home in Winter's Bone. But instead of living the good life in the Missouri Ozarks, they'll be enjoying three free hots and a cot, thanks to the taxpayers of Wyoming.
|Big Audio Dynamite|
I've chosen Big Audio Dynamite's "Rush" to feature in this post because it was on the soundtrack of the truly awful movie So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), which starred Mike Myers of Wayne's World and Austin Powers fame.
Gerald Uden didn't marry an axe murderer when he married Alice, of course, but I figure it's close enough for government work.
Click below to buy the song from Amazon: