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August 3, 1973 – 40 years ago

August 3, 2013


It was Friday. The US President was Richard Nixon. The number one song was, “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern. American Graffiti, directed by George Lucas, was one of the big movies in play.

In Maryville, MO, a few feet from the campus of Northwest Missouri State University:

Tess Hilt, a talented grad student, had been learning to play guitar. A young local man had been teaching her.

Tess dropped in to a few parties that Friday evening, then spent time approximately 60 feet across the courtyard from her place at the apartment of Ed Happel. A couple of his friends, who came and went, saw her there. Happel stated that she left his apartment around 2:00 am, Saturday, August 4. He made it to the early shift at the local supermarket that morning.

August 3rd would be the last full day of Tess’ life.

Teresa Sue “Tess” Hilt was murdered sometime in the early hours of the next morning; with bruises on the left side of her face, her neck broken, bound, stabbed to death and strangled. Her nude body was posed and carefully covered in her bed, face down with a knife placed in the palm of her hand behind her back. Little else appeared to be disturbed at the scene.

A $10,000.00 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

You can help us know who killed her and why – email us privately and confidentially at

From → cold case

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