Angela Hyke, 25, and her daughter, Ashley Lucas, 8, disappeared July 8 from their rural Cresco home. Haskovec said they were believed to have been killed in Iowa and then driven in Hyke’s car to Kansas, where officers found the bodies early Thursday in a remote area near Atchison State Lake.
Autopsies were being performed in Topeka, with preliminary results expected today, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Haskovec said the cause of the deaths was not evident and there was no apparent evidence the victims had been sexually assaulted.
A search for the two began when Hyke’s co-workers at a Cresco food store, where she worked as a cashier, went to her home after she failed to show up for work. Ashley’s eyeglasses and contact lenses were also found in the home.
Hyke met Thomas at the Howard County Fair, where he operated a ride for Evans United Shows, according to Kim Orth of the Cresco Police Department. Orth said she believed the two met June 24, the last day of the fair.
The carnival then traveled to a fair in Clear Lake and stopped overnight in Cresco on July 8, Orth said. Hyke’s stepmother, Audrey Hyke, also said Hyke had mentioned meeting Thomas at the Howard County Fair.
Haskovec said information that developed during the investigation led Kansas agents to look for Thomas in Wichita, where Hyke’s car was discovered outside a home late Tuesday.
Thomas was found at the home and was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for a Kansas parole violation, Haskovec said.
Thomas was born in St. Joseph, Mo., and was well known to authorities in northeast Kansas, The St. Joseph News-Press reported Thursday.
The newspaper had reported in January 1998 that he had a lengthy local crime record including charges of selling marijuana, sexual battery, disorderly conduct, burglary and assault and battery against his mother, brother and stepfather.
Later arrests included charges of assaulting a corrections officer and drug offenses.
In northeast Iowa, relatives and acquaintances were shocked by the deaths of Hyke and her daughter.
Ashley would have been in fourth grade this fall.
“She was a terrific little girl, full of enthusiasm,” said the Rev. Henry Charipar at Cresco’s Notre Dame Catholic Church, where the mother and daughter regularly attended Mass.
Hyke’s aunt, Karen Hyke, said she was “just in disbelief.”
“That was my sweetheart and my sweet pea,” the aunt said.