Accused murderer in Missouri cold case eludes police in Franklin for 36 years

St. Mary Parish

FRANKLIN, La (KLFY) — A decades-old Missouri cold case has finally been solved, and police say the accused murderer has lived quietly here in Acadiana for the last 36 years.

He’s been living under the radar in Franklin for over three decades… until now.

Authorities say Larry Hicks, now 78-years-old, allegedly brutally murdered a 30-year-old Missouri woman in 1984. He then fled to Franklin.

“I don’t know why he picked Franklin, Louisiana, off all places,” Camden County prosecuting attorney Caleb Cunningham said. “As far as we can tell, he’s lived a law-abiding life for the most part. Certainly, nothing as dramatic as what he did in this case.”

The case of 30-year-old Diane Lukosius from Camdenton, Missouri.

“She was a beloved member of the community, and her family still lives here. I cannot imagine the burden they have dealt with for the last 36 years wondering who so brutally murdered their beloved sister,” he said. 

It was December of 1984. Diane had just left a Christmas party. While driving home, she was run off the road, brutally beaten, and left to die on the side of a highway.

“That’s what happened, and it was one of the largest cases in our county’s history. Certainly, the most famous cold case in our county’s history,” Cunningham said.

“We’re not a big community. We’re not a big city. Murders are uncommon here thankfully, and so this one has haunted the community for 36 years.”

For 36 years, Diane’s murder remained a mystery, and her killer remained at large, until now.

“I cannot imagine waiting 36 years for this day to come, and I think from what I have seen based in this case, that is was he has done. He’s waited all these years for this day to come,” the prosecuting attorney told News Ten.

Recently prosecutors in Missouri picked up the cold case file, and it led them to Acadiana… right to the door of a man named Larry Hicks, where he’s lived for over three decades.

“You never know if someone is going to talk to you or not, and obviously over the course of the interview over two days, even in the comfort of his home, he felt that he needed to get some things off his chest,” he said.

When detectives asked Hicks about the night of Diane’s murder, he said he was there, at the same Christmas party as Diane. When they asked Hicks if he killed Diane he said, “If I think about the beer and the time lapse, it’s very possible.”

“I can’t say that I didn’t do it,” Hicks added during his interrogation.

With this statement, combined with the hundreds of decades-old files of witness statements, prosecutors were able to finally charge Larry Hicks with Diane’s murder.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn. We never stop looking. We never stop hunting. We will find people who do things like this. We will charge them, and we will do our best to bring them to justice,” Cunningham said.

Hicks was booked into the St. Mary Parish Jail in May. Camden County prosecutors say they are working to have him extradited back to Missouri, where he’s facing life in prison in connection with Diane’s murder.

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