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Missouri couple charged with decades-old murders of spouses

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - A Missouri couple charged with killing their former spouses and two children in separate incidents more than three decades ago were in jail on Tuesday awaiting transfer back to Wyoming where prosecutors say the crimes were committed.

Gerald Uden, 71, was charged in Fremont County, Wyoming, with killing his wife and her two sons from a prior marriage in 1980. Alice Uden, 74, was charged in Laramie County with killing her husband in 1974 or 1975, according to court documents.

Wyoming authorities announced their arrests on Monday. The Udens, who live near the small town of Chadwick in southwest Missouri, have waived extradition back to Wyoming, according to court documents.

Both were arrested late last week. Court officials said on Tuesday that neither Gerald Uden, nor Alice Uden had a lawyer. No one could be reached at their home on Tuesday.

The court documents do not explain how Gerald and Alice Uden met or if there was any connection between the murders and their later marriage. Prosecutors declined to comment further on Tuesday.

According to a criminal affidavit filed in Fremont County, Gerald Uden confessed last week to shooting his wife, Virginia Uden, and her sons Richard, 12, and Reagan, 10, with a .22-caliber rifle after taking them in his car to hunt birds. He then concealed their bodies, the affidavit said.

Alice Uden was accused of shooting her former husband, Ronald Holtz, in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle while he slept, wrapping his body in a blanket and stuffing it into a cardboard barrel that was dropped into an old mine shaft, according to an affidavit from Laramie County authorities.

A witness told investigators Alice Uden had confessed to shooting Holtz in 1974 or 1975 after only a few months of marriage and dumping his body in the mine shaft, according to the affidavit.

Investigators found Holtz's body 40 feet below ground when the mine shaft was excavated in August, according to the affidavit.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by David Bailey and Lisa Shumaker)

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