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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016

Authors seeking new observations on area's most infamous murder case

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lannie Roblee, right, the officer in charge of the Hoyt murder investigation in 1973, is among the sources being interviewed by Brent Cobb, left, and Gene Morris, both of McCook, Neb. The writers have joined forces to collect facts for a book about the murders of Wilma and Edwin Hoyt.
(Courtesy photo)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- In search of information about the 1973 murders of Wilma and Edwin Hoyt by Harold Nokes, two McCook writers are appealing to people with factual observations about the Hoyts, Nokes and the murder investigation to contact them to schedule interviews.

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 bcobb@ocsmccook.com 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

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Has this book been published? I am the niece of Wilma and Edwin Hoyt and would be very interested in this book.

-- Posted by Donean on Fri, Apr 12, 2013, at 11:32 PM

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