Diane Lukosius cold case murder solved after over 36 years

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
Crime

The cold case of Diane Lukosius has been solved after 36 years. Larry Gene Hicks has made admissions in connection with the murder.

Larry Gene Hicks was identified as a suspect in the case as far back as 1989. However, in the time since he was never arrested in connection to the case. Now, over 30 years later, he has made admissions in connection with the murder.

Hicks is currently a resident in the town of Franklin, Louisiana.

In a Camden County press conference, it was announced that this arrest was made after thousands of hours of work. The family members have been notified. 

In 1984, Lukosius was only 30 years old and worked as a dental assistant in the area.  She was reportedly driving home from a party in December when she was forced off a dark lake road and severely beaten. Her car was found sitting off of Camelot Estates near a shack. There were signs of a struggle in the gravel near the driver's side car door.

In the nearby ditch, she was found with blood on the nearby weeds. She died two days later from her injuries.

According to news articles from the time of the incident, Lukosius was a well-liked woman. During the time, there were rewards set toward any leads. To this date, the killer had never been identified. Reports at the time indicate that many residents believed the information was being withheld by people who knew Lukosius. 

Hicks was identified as a suspect from information stemming all the way back to the original crime scene. Hicks led a normal life in Louisiana over the last few decades.

In 1989, Terri Lea Gilliand, daughter of Cindi Hicks Mathis (Hick's wife), says she remembered Hicks coming home the night of the attack around 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. She said she remembered thinking he could be involved and that he became much more violent and drunk the days following that night.

Cindi was also interviewed and said she remembered Hicks coming home that night and washing his hands and face. She says he never did this in nights prior. At the time, she assumed he may be having an affair. However, she later noticed blood on his shorts and a scratch on his face. 

Several further witnesses said they knew Hicks as a local drunk and that he was drinking the night of the attack. He was known to become sexually aggressive when he was drunk. This was a major clue, as the person who committed the crime was believed to has attempted sexual assault on Lukosius, but failed. 

On 5/12/2021, Camden County detectives travelled to Hicks' home in Franklin, Louisiana to question Hicks. He was not under arrest immediately and spoke freely. He admitted to having seen Lukosius at the bar with two male subjects. 

Hicks would later lead detectives to his bedroom, where he grabbed a stashed note that he had written in 1990. The note suggested that he had received a call at this date, telling him to never return to Missouri or he would be arrested for murder. When asked why he kept this note for 31 years, he indicated that it was not important. He says that he did end up returning to Missouri twice since to deer hunt. 

When asked about the blood and scratches on his face that night, Hicks said he never had any scratches. However, when interviewed in 1990, Hicks indicated that the scratches were a result of a car accident. 

Two search warrants were obtained for the investigation, one for documentation and one for DNA of Hicks. 3 Buccal swabs were obtained from Hicks. These were key pieces of evidence.

After further questioning, the detectives asked he could recall what he had been doing the night of the attack. Hicks was able to very clearly recall the night. He says he left work around 2:00 p.m., went to the Town House Bar to drink, and then later went to the Kitty Hawk to drink more. This is where Lukosius was attending her party. Hicks says he was drinking for around 10 hours that night and was very intoxicated. He remembered Lukosius at the Kitty Hawk leaning against a jukebox. 

While his memory of this night was clear, he failed to remember details of any other night close to this date. When asked why he remembered that night so well, he could not explain. 

After being asked if it were possible that he could have assaulted Lukosius, he stated "If I think about the beer, and the time-lapse, it's very possible." When asked if the person that did this was Gene Hicks, he responded, "I sure don't want it to be." He indicated that he could not say if it was him or not.

During the Camden County conference, it was said that this case never truly left the minds of the Camden County community. They were proud to share the findings. They also shared that more information would be shared in the coming weeks.