The body of homicide victim Marie Lisa Peak was exhumed from Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville Friday with the hope that new investigative techniques might provide information that could lead to an arrest in the cold case. Peak, from Knoxville, was murdered in September 1976 in Waverly while attending Wartburg. Bremer county Attorney Kasey Earl Wadding told KNIA KRLS News that while “no hot new leads” were the reason for exhuming the body, “some success with other evidence they already have” suggests that there might be a possible lead that could result from the exhumation. Wadding stresses that while he and the investigators involved are “hopeful” that new leads will be found, he does not want to generate expectations that the case is close to being solved.
Peak’s unsolved homicide is one of four that date to that time period and to the Waverly area. One of the four was a police officer. Wadding relates that these cases are never “closed” and that as time permits, investigators continue to re-evaluate the evidence. Investigators also change. Two of the current investigators were likely in their teens when the homicides occurred, and another may not have been yet born. New investigative techniques and advances in forensic science and DNA studies always offer hope that the cases may be solved. Investigators are also in regular communication with investigators working on other cases, and advances in one case may help another.
Wadding also relates that some funding for the investigation of cold cases is drying up, and that they are focusing their efforts on cases that are most likely to yield successful results until new funding is identified.
KNIA KRLS will provide you with more information as soon as it becomes official.