In 1912, this house belonged to the Moore family: married couple Josiah and Sarah and their young children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul. On the night of June 9th, the family returned from Children's Day services at the local church, accompanied by two of the girls' friends: 8-year-old Ina Stillinger and her 12-year-old sister, Lena.
Sometime between midnight and 5am, an unknown person entered the house and murdered every person inside by striking their head with an ax. From observations at the crime scene it appears that all were asleep at the time they were killed, apart from Lena, who exhibited a defensive wound on her arm and was positioned across her bed.
Over a century later, the case remains unsolved. The main suspect, traveling minister Reverend George Kelly, had taught at the church on June 9th and left town at approximately 5am the next day. He was tried twice but never convicted.
The Villisca Axe Murder House, as it is now bluntly known, was purchased in 1994 by Darwin and Martha Linn and restored to its 1912 state. You can tour the home by day, then spend the night in a room that was once a blood-soaked crime scene.