The Triumphant Return of
“Villisca: Living with a Mystery”


Updates and New Information About the Primary Suspect
Mark Murder Mystery Movie of Iowa’s Worst Mass Homicide

Special Halloween Fundraiser Screening
State Historical Building, Friday, October 29, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.

Halloween Party after the Movie with Randy Burk and the Prisoners plus BEVERAGES and FOOD! 9:30 p.m. to Midnight


For Immediate Release: October 11, 2004
Contact: Jeff Morgan, (515) 281-3809,

DES MOINES, Iowa– The movie that chronicles Iowa’s worst mass homicide and America’s greatest unsolved murder mystery – the 1912 Children’s Day axe murders – makes its triumphant return to Des Moines with updates and new information about the primary suspect.

“Villisca: Living With a Mystery,” returns to the State Historical Building’s Cowles-Kruidenier Theater for a special Halloween screening at the State Historical Building Friday, October 29, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. The State Historical Building is in the East Village at 600 E. Locust, Des Moines, Iowa. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

A Halloween Party featuring Randy Burk and the Prisoners will be held after the movie from approximately 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Costumes are optional, but a Best Halloween Costume Contest will be held during the party.

Food and beverages will be provided, and all ages are welcome to attend. Tickets for the movie and party are $20, while tickets to attend just the party are $15. Advance tickets are on-sale now at, at the State Historical Building Museum Store, or by calling (515) 281-6911. Tickets also may be purchased at the door. All proceeds benefit the State Historical Society of Iowa.

“Villisca” made its world premiere at the State Historical Building in June to sold-out audiences. Produced by Los Angeles filmmakers and Iowa natives Kelly and Tammy Rundle, the movie received strong public response and high critical acclaim, including 3½ stars from The Des Moines Register and 4 stars from the Quad-City Times, which said the movie is “impressive… a fascinating tale .. I’m still astonished at this well-made film.”

The Rundles have not unveiled what new information they have unearthed about the primary murder suspect, preferring to let the audience get the new information from the movie.

“Villisca” explores the history and mystery surrounding the gruesome and unsolved 1912 axe murders of a Villisca family of six and two overnight guests. It also examines the effects of the unsolved crime on the town, the county and the state of Iowa in the decades following 1912. The movie also studies a possible link between similar mass murders in five Midwestern states.

Ten years in the making, “Villisca” combines more than 50 interviews with scholars, criminologists, relatives of the victims, and town residents with hundreds of period photographs, documents, archival film, computer animation, original art and the limited use of reenactments to shed new light on the mystery, its long term impact, and reveal the face of a killer using new historical research and forensic discoveries.

“Villisca” was awarded grants by Humanities Iowa, The Nebraska Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Red Oak Heritage Foundation. Iowa Public Television served as a fiscal sponsor. Please note this movie contains material involving the murder of children and other adult themes, and may not be suitable for those under 12. Parental guidance is strongly encouraged. For more information, please visit

Randy Burk and the Prisoners is a high energy house-rockin’ band that serves up a full plate of musical flavors. The band blends original alternative country, roots rock, and roots country to bring the essence of Americana into the limelight. As a singer/songwriter, Randy Burk delivers excellence to the world of stage performance.

Growing up in the small community of Atlantic, Iowa, he has worked for more than 10 years building an energetic and soulful performance style. Burk has recorded albums in Nashville and in Springfield, Mo., with Jimmy Tittle, Marty Stuart and Johnny Cash. He has appeared as a solo artist and with musical groups, opening for such acts as BR549, Brian White and Johnny Cash. The band recently released its first CD, a self-titled work featuring seven original tunes.







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