In 2019’s “Michiana Unsolved,” where her family explained why they believed this could be their last chance at justice.
The murder of Darlene Hulse took place on Friday, August 17, 1984. It was an ordinary morning in the city of Argos.
Hulse’s two daughters, 8-year-old Marie and 6-year-old Melissa, were in the bath when they heard unfamiliar noises.
Mary explained, “It sounded like a dog barking, like growling and just noises, and I looked at Melissa like, ‘Daddy brought us a dog, a puppy.’ We got excited and I thought, “I’m going to check it out. You stay here.”
Marie, now 46 years old, remembered running down the hall trying not to find a dog. Instead, there was a stranger in their home.
The stranger hit Hulse, 28 years old, in the doorway. Marie quickly went to the phone and tried one of the two numbers she knew. It happened so fast that she remembered her mother yelling at her: “RUN! RUN!”
She dialed her aunt’s number and when she got the busy signal, she hung up the phone and watched as the stranger dragged her mother to Marie by her hair. He pulled the phone out of the wall from top to bottom.
Marie ran out the back door to her grandparents’ house nearby. Melissa wasn’t far behind, but their 1-year-old sister, Kristen, was still inside with their mother.
After 15 minutes, police found a trail of blood leading from the front door to the driveway to where the stranger’s vehicle would have been parked.
Inside the house were traces of a struggle. Agents think that Hulse was beaten in the living room with the heavy weapon.
Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman said 12-month-old Kristen was, sadly, sitting in the middle of the living room and covered in her mother’s blood.
Marie told the police what they saw and two sketches were later made. According to them, the suspect drove a 1970-1947 teal model car in poor condition, with rust on the sides.
The next day, the body was found in a remote, wooded area about 10 kilometers from the crime scene. A lumber buyer was marking trees to cut down when he came across the dead body of Darlene Hulse.
Officers believed the alleged delivery person lived nearby. The spot where the body was found also convinces the police that the killer was someone local.
At the time, there was an old fence where the body was found, and in such a remote area, Chipman said the killer must have known where he was going.
Marie wondered, “I just wonder if he, whoever the gentleman is, has seen her and interacted with her more than we actually realized. I don’t remember my mother ever talking to random men, they were mostly relatives. Maybe he saw her, because it was a close-knit community. And maybe he had ties to her that we weren’t aware of. That’s all I can wrap my brain around. Or he was a complete psychopath. Like, who would do this to anyone?
The youngest daughter, Kristen, explained that she grew up with fear, knowing that evil is real. Investigators have the evidence: fireplace tools and a bloody piece of carpet, but no suspicious DNA.
Chipman said he may have had an injury. They had examined it and they kept confirming it was hers.
If this murder had happened now, they could have had a lot more answers, which frustrates Chipman.
That lack of DNA has helped keep this case ice cold, but investigators aren’t giving up. In 2019, fresh-eyed detectives again started tracking down interested parties and conducting interviews.
Chipman also said they sent new pieces of evidence to the Indiana State Police Crime Lab. He said with a sigh, “This is our last chance. It’s so old, thirty-five years is a long time.”
Darlene Hulse’s murder case is still ongoing and there is no further update.