On October 11, 1981 a tragedy occured on at a rural Calvin home. After not seeing or hearing from the Spikers for several days, concerned neighbors called the police asking them to conduct a welfare check. What they found was Darlene Spiker dead in her home and Terrell Spiker missing.

Darlene and Terrell had moved to the Calvin area for about three years, moving to Calvin after losing both of their children in an accident in Colorado. The police conducting the welfare check of the Spikers found Darlene inside a locked bathroom in the home. She was fully clothed, bound and gagged. She had been dead for several days at that point. She died of suffocation due to the gag that was in her mouth. Terrell Spiker was nowhere to be found. Authorities found no evidence of robbery. Terrell’s billfold was found in a drawer containing $600. His pickup truck and stock trailer were missing, but as far as anyone could determine- the truck and trailer was the only thing missing from the house.

At the time Darlene was found the weather in Calvin was atrocious. They were dealing with downpouring rain which made searching difficult, if not impossible, especially considering the Spikers owned about 1,000 acres of land. Eventually authorities were able to get a helicopter up, and three days after the discovery Terrell’s truck and trailer were found on some of their property about ten miles away from their home. The truck was locked and the keys were gone. By the end of October, authorities were still baffled. They had no idea whether they were looking at a murder-suicide, a double homicide, or a husband on the run after killing his wife.

From the beginning leads in the case were few. Though there was apparently a witness who recalled seeing a man driving a late model tan colored pickup in the Spiker’s driveway on October 6th, the last day Terrell Spiker was seen alive. The man was described as being in his early 30s, tall, probably weighing about 200 pounds with blue eyes and reddish blonde collar length hair. He also had a beard and sideburns and had been wearing a headband when he was seen at the Spiker house. I have included the released composite sketch, though it isn’t the best quality photo.

Family and friends of the Spikers’ seriously doubt murder-suicide or even a husband on the run. They say that Darlene and Terrell were happy and well adjusted, especially so considering the loss of their children. The last person to see Terrell says that he told her they should go out to dinner real soon, meaning Terrell, Darlene and his friend and their spouse. The family attorney stated there weren’t any financial concerns, that their land, cattle and equipment were worth at least a million dollars. A reward would be offered, but in 1984 after years of no movement on the case, the reward was dropped. Eventually the family would have Terrell declared legally deceased, and as far as I can determine, he has never been found.

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