In 2019, ‘Michiana Unsolved,’ in which her family explained why they believed that might be their last chance at justice.
Darlene Hulse’s murder happened on Friday, August 17, 1984. It was a regular morning in the town of Argos.
Hulse’s two daughters, 8-year-old Marie, and 6-year-old Melissa were in the tub when they heard unfamiliar sounds.
Marie explained, “it sounded like a dog barking, like growling and just noises, and I looked at Melissa like, ‘Dad brought us a dog, a puppy.’ We got excited, and I was like, ‘I’m going to go check it out. You stay right here.”
Now 46 years old, Marie remembered rushing down the hall to find no dog. Instead, there was a stranger inside their home.
The stranger was beating Hulse, 28 years old, at the doorway. Marie approached the phone quickly and tried one of the two numbers she knew. It happened so fast that she remembered her mom was yelling at her, “RUN! RUN!”
She dialed her aunt’s number, and when she got a busy signal, she dropped the phone and saw the stranger dragging her mother by her hair toward Marie. He pulled the phone out of the wall from the top down.
Marie rushed out the back door to her grandparent’s house nearby. Melissa was not far behind, but their 1-year-old sister, Kristen, was still inside with their mom.
After 15 minutes, the police found a trail of blood leading from the front door down the driveway to where the stranger’s vehicle was believed to be parked.
Inside the house, there were signs of struggle. Officers believe Hulse was beaten in the living room with the heavy weapon.
Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman said sadly, the 12-month-old, Kristen, was in the middle of the living room and covered with her mother’s blood.
Marie told the police about what they saw, and later two sketches were created. According to them, the suspect was driving a greenish-blue 1970-1947 model car in poor condition, with rust on the sides.
The next day the body was found in a remote, wooded area about 6 miles from the crime scene. A timber buyer was marking trees to cut when he stumbled upon Darlene Hulse’s dead body.
Officers believed the alleged delivery man lived in the area. The spot where the body was found also convinces the police that the murderer was someone local.
At the time, there was an old fence where the body was found, and in such a remote area, Chipman said the murderer must have known where he was going.
Marie questioned, “I’m just wondering if he, whoever the gentleman is, saw her and had more contact with her than we actually realized, I don’t remember my mom ever just talking to random man, it was mostly family members. Maybe he saw her, because it was a close community. And maybe he had ties with her that we didn’t realize. That’s the only thing that I can wrap my brain around. Or he was a complete psycho. Like, who would do this to somebody?”
The youngest daughter, Kristen, explained that she had grown up in fear, knowing that evil is real. Investigators have the evidence: fireplace tools and a bloody chunk of carpet, but no suspect DNA.
Chipman said maybe he had an injury. They had examined it, and they just kept confirming that it was hers.
If this murder had happened now, they could have many more answers, which frustrates Chipman.
That lack of DNA has helped keep this case ice-cold, but investigators are not giving up. In 2019, detectives started over with fresh eyes, tracking down persons of interest and conducting interviews.
Chipman also said they sent new pieces of evidence to the Indiana State Police Crime Lab. He said with a sigh, “This is our last chance. It’s so old, thirty-five years is a long time.”
Darlene Hulse’s murder case is still in process and no further update exists.