Argus, Indiana is small, more corn stalks than people in 1984.
It’s one of those places where neighbor means something different.
Everyone’s your neighbor, but each house is a corn or soybean field away.
The home of the Hulse family was just like that,
tucked away off a major road through town with fields to the front and back.
Ron Hulse built the home himself for his wife Darlene and their three daughters.
He picked the spot because his parents and his siblings also had plots of land and homes nearby.
It was an idyllic Midwest life.
Ron’s dad would sometimes pedal his bike the quarter of a mile over from his house to theirs
in the mornings after Ron left for work to say hi to his grandkids.
In fact, he did just that on August 17, 1984.
Besides him, there weren’t many other pop-in visitors.
But that morning, after he left, there was another knock at the door.
The two older girls, who were six and eight, only heard bits of what was happening from where they were in the bathtub.
But what they heard was strange, growling and grunting, low and guttural.
When they left the tub, what they found was a man knelt over their mother trying to tape her eyes and mouth shut.
I remember her saying, don’t hurt my babies.
And she was screaming, blood curdling screams while she was fighting.
So there were grunts and it was just like surreal.
It was completely surreal.
I just remember him coming towards me and me thinking, he’s going to get me now.
He’s going to get me. And I think that’s when she said to run, run, run.
When the girls ran out the front door, they had no idea that would be the last time they’d see their mother.
28-year-old Darlene Hulse was abducted from her home just yesterday.
But the search for her ended here, in this patch of woods just six miles from her home.
The mother of three was found dead.
And while investigators haven’t released the cause of death, they’re calling this a homicide and a manhunt is underway.
It’s been 38 years since that manhunt began and there have been no arrests.
In those 38 years, eight-year-old Marie, six-year-old Melissa and one-year-old Kristen had to grow up not knowing who took their mother or why.
I remember sitting on the steps in the garage and asking some things.
And I’ll never forget one time Melissa said the one thing that she regrets was not getting me, not grabbing me when they were running out.
And I think that’s piqued my interest.
Like, what do you mean? Like, where was I?
What was going on? So then I started asking more.
And I just always told myself, when I get older, I want to do some digging.
Digging up the truth can be hard in a case that is as cold as an Indiana winter.
But the more we’ve dug, we’ve come to believe that truth might be right below the surface, if you know where to look.
And the answers to decades-old questions could be a whole lot closer to home than anyone ever wanted to believe.
And so I looked him in the eyes and there were the just the red, he looked like a monster.
He doesn’t look like the person that’s walking out there right now.
This case has the potential to be solved within weeks if the people in charge make it a priority.
And what the hell takes so long with the DNA?
Which kind of crap’s that?
So if they came, would you give them your DNA to just rule you out?
They have it. They have it. They took it from me years ago.
If they didn’t still have it and they needed a new sample, would you be cool with it?
No, I’m not going to work with them at all.
But until then, we’re knocking on every door and leaving no stone unturned.
I want to cross you off the list. I have a long list. You’re one of many people.
Leave me the fuck alone!
From Audiocheck, the team behind Apple podcast’s top new show, The Deck,
we’re bringing you an investigation that is too big for just one episode of The Deck.
I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck Investigates.
In season one, we’re diving deep into the murder of Darlene Hulse, the four of hearts from Indiana.
You can binge all 15 episodes on March 9th, wherever you get your podcasts.