CHEYENNE — A Missouri couple has been arrested in connection with two decades-old Wyoming cold cases.
Alice L. Uden, 74, of Chadwick, Mo., was arrested Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder, which was filed by the Laramie County District Attorney's Office.
She allegedly shot her ex-husband, Ronald Holtz, who was 25 at the time of his death, in the back of the head while he was sleeping. Holtz was last seen in December 1974 in Sheridan.
On Aug. 27, Holtz’s skeletal remains were found in an abandoned mine shaft at the Remount Ranch, which is located between Cheyenne and Laramie at 198 County Road 206.
Alice Uden’s husband, Gerald Uden, 71, of Chadwick was arrested Friday on three counts of first-degree murder filed by the Fremont County Attorney’s Office in Lander.
He allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife, Virginia Uden, who was 32, and her two sons, Richard, 12; and Reagan, 10. The three disappeared in September 1980 in the Riverton area.
Information about the arrests was released Monday morning by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Alice and Gerald Uden are being held in a Christian County, Mo., jail until they are extradited to Wyoming.
Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar said Monday that Alice Uden waived extradition. He wasn’t sure when she would be brought to Laramie County but said it’s just a matter of arranging transportation.
Attorneys will then work on prosecuting the case, which may be difficult.
“We always have witness problems and evidence problems we have to overcome,” Homar said. “The time makes it a little more difficult, but it’s not a case we would’ve charged unless we had evidence.”
The local case
Court documents show:
In September 1980, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office started investigating Virginia Uden and her sons’ disappearance. During the investigation, information about another disappearance in Laramie County was discovered.
A Wyoming DCI special agent knew that Alice Uden married Holtz on Sept. 17, 1974. After less than five months of marriage, she filed for divorce.
The divorce was granted, as Holtz was never located to be served with the divorce paperwork.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs records show he was released on Dec. 24, 1974, from a VA hospital in Sheridan to start a work-study program. After Christmas that year, his family never heard from him again.
In 1989, police interviewed a witness who said Alice Uden confessed in 1975 or 1976 to killing Holtz. Alice Uden told the witness that she shot Holtz in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle while he was sleeping.
She then wrapped Holtz in some blankets and put his body in a cardboard barrel. She told the witness she dumped the barrel into an old mine shaft at the ranch.
On Jan. 18, 2005, DCI agents interviewed Alice Uden in Missouri. She provided information on her children and all her marriages but didn’t mention her marriage to Holtz.
The next day, she was interviewed again and asked about not mentioning the marriage.
As soon as his name was mentioned, Alice Uden fell back against the wall and said, “My kids told you.”
She said she hadn’t mentioned Holtz because the marriage was so short she didn’t consider it a real one.
On Nov. 1, 2007, a witness met an agent at the Remount Ranch and showed the agent the abandoned gold mine he believed Alice Uden was referring to when she confessed. The agent photographed the site and obtained GPS coordinates.
On Aug. 27 of this year, the mine shaft was excavated. Human remains were found about 40 feet down and were later identified as Holtz.
A .22-caliber bullet was found inside his skull.
In Fremont County
Court documents show:
On July 23, 1974, Gerald Uden married Virginia Uden. She had two sons prior to that marriage, whom Gerald Uden adopted on March 28, 1975.
Virginia Uden and her sons were reported missing on Sept. 13, 1980, at the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.
Last Friday, a special agent interviewed Gerald Uden at his home in Chadwick.
He said back in 1980, he picked up Virginia Uden and her sons near Pavillion in Fremont County. He then transported them to a nearby canal.
All four got out of the car, and Gerald Uden shot and killed them with a .22-caliber rifle.
Uden admitted he had planned to kill them before picking them up. The plan included asking Virginia Uden to bring the rifle for bird hunting.
He then concealed the bodies.
A representative for the Fremont County Attorney’s Office declined to comment Monday on the details of the case, including when Alice and Gerald Uden met.