When Allen and Jeanette Bishop got a knock on the door Sept. 30, they were shocked to hear what their neighbor’s daughter had to say.
“The daughter came over and said, ‘I need to tell you something,’” Jeanette Bishop said. “She knew her mom had killed ... she was in shock. Although she knew what had happened, she said they were waiting for that knock on the door—like a ticking time bomb.”
And now, the Bishops are in shock. Jeanette described Alice as a “grandma figure” who would “give the shirt off her back.” Jeanette said Alice, who has two adult children, attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Springfield. Jeanette said she didn’t know Gerald very well because he was an over-the-road trucker, but he was always “very nice, a gentleman.”
Jeanette said Alice’s daughter, Erica Hayes, said she was 2 years old “when it happened.”
“This totally took us by surprise,” Jeanette said. “There’s a lot of things we don’t know.”
What we do know is that the couple is waiting extradition to Wyoming and will have their day in court.
Gerald Uden, 71, and Alice Louise Uden, 74, Chadwick, face charges in Wyoming for allegedly murdering ex-spouses and two children, according to a release from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Cold Case Team, the Laramie County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Department and the Fremont County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Department.
Alice Uden allegedly murdered her husband, Ronald Holtz, who had been missing since Christmas of 1974, according to the Wyoming release. A recent search of an abandoned mine shaft in rural Laramie County, Wyo., resulted in the recovery of skeletal remains, identified as Holtz.
Gerald Uden is charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the alleged murder of his ex-wife, 32-year-old Virginia Uden, and her children Richard, 12, and Reagan, 10.
Information from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation’s Unsolved Cases says Virginia Uden and her children disappeared in the Riverton, Wyo., area Sept. 12, 1980. Her station wagon was found Oct. 4, 1980, in the Wind River Canyon area in Fremont County, Wyo.
With the help of Christian County Sheriff deputies, Alice Uden was arrested Sept. 25. After obtaining more information, deputies went back to Chadwick and arrested Gerald Uden Sept. 27.
“As a result of the investigation, more evidence/information was obtained in reference to that homicide and Gerald Uden was arrested and charged with the three other homicides that occurred around 1980 in Wyoming,” according to a release from the sheriff’s department.
Since then, the story has hit the national news and the Bishops’ phone has been ringing constantly.
“I don’t know how (the media) found us,” she said. “But they are persistent.”
But she doesn’t mind. Jeanette said she has lived on state Route 125 for about 12 years and she’s known the Udens for about 10. Over the past decade, she formed a friendship with Alice. And Jeanette says the murder charge doesn’t change that.
“I feel sorry for her. In my mind she’s innocent until proven guilty,” Jeanette said. “I pray for her constantly, him too. Alice is strong, but as far as health goes, I’m not sure what kind of toll this will take on her.”
Jeanette said over the past year and a half Alice has battled cancer. She’s in remission now.
“I’d go over and check on her or she’d come over here if she got cabin fever. If she needed anything, she’d call Allen because Gerald was on the road,” Jeanette said.
Allen Bishop is the neighborhood handyman, Jeanette said, and would go to the Udens’ to fix a leaky faucet or mow the pasture come fall.
Jeanette says there’s two sides to every story, and she does not know why Alice allegedly killed her ex-husband.
“She was a sweet, sweet lady,” Jeanette said. “My feelings for her haven’t changed. She would give the shirt off her back. In my mind she’s innocent until the gavel drops down and verdict is read. (With her health) I really don’t look for Alice to make it to trial.”