Brent Cobb and Gene Morris, both published authors, will be conducting the interviews between now and the first of the year. "We have collected a mass of information about the murders," Morris said, "but we want to find out the full story before finishing our research and submitting the manuscript to publishers."
Wilma and Edwin Hoyt, residents of rural Culbertson, were shot to death Sunday, Sept. 23, 1973, when an argument with Harold and Ena Nokes of McCook took a tragic turn for the worse.
Mr. and Mrs. Nokes, who were romantically involved with the Hoyts' youngest daughter, Kay Hein, tried to hide the crime by dismembering the Hoyts' bodies and throwing the body parts into Harry Strunk Lake northwest of Cambridge.
The body parts started washing ashore, setting off a massive and relentless investigation, leading to the arrest of Mr. and Mrs. Nokes and Harold Nokes' eventual full confession to the murders of the Hoyts.
"The Hoyt murders triggered one of the most frightening periods in this region's history," Morris said. "The horrible way the bodies were cut up and thrown into the lake, coupled with the fact that the killers were still at large, made the people of Southwest Nebraska so scared that, for protection, they bought guns and door locks by the hundreds."
Harold Nokes was convicted of murder and is serving a double life sentence in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. His wife, Ena Nokes, was convicted of helping dispose of dead bodies and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in the Women's Reformatory in York, Neb. After her release from the reformatory, Ena has regularly visited Harold at the Nebraska penitentiary.
The book will be about more than murder. "Crime stories too often focus on death," Cobb said. "In this part of the country so many lives are inter-related. In our interviews, Gene and I would like to learn more about the lives of Wilma and Edwin Hoyt and the law enforcement officers who investigated the murders."
As a tribute to the Hoyts, Morris and Cobb will donate a portion of the profits from book sales to the Wilma & Edwin Hoyt Memorial Scholarship Fund. "We will work closely with the Hoyts' children and grandchildren to make certain the scholarships inspire students to a life of service," Morris said
To schedule interviews, those with information about the Hoyts, the Nokeses and/or the murder investigation are asked to e-mail Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call him at 308-345-1821. Morris may be reached by phone at 308-340-5972 or by e-mail at geneomorris1956@ gmail.com