The Murder of William Lavaco and Judith Straub

From Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Murder


William Lavaco and Judith Straub's bodies were discovered on Monday, August 8th, 1977. The couple was officially reported missing a few days earlier when Lavaco's car was discovered abandoned nearly 300 feet from where the bodies were later found. The couple was last seen early Saturday morning near the Valley Inn. The coroner reported the time of death was sometime later. Both William and Judith died from a singular gunshot to the neck. Their bodies were later dumped in the wooded area of the park. [1]

The police spent days searching with scuba-divers attempting to find the weapon.

The police also eliminated robbery as the motive for the crime because the offender left over $400 of valuables in the car. [2]

After being stumped for nearly two years on who committed the heinous crime, a wittiness came forward to the police. Jay Starcher stated that he had witnessed Dennis Busson argue with William about what he though was cocaine. Once the argument had hit its peak, Jay witnessed a flash of light and the driver [Lavaco] slump in his seat. After the first shot those in the car, including Judith Straub, ran into the woods. Running out of fear Judith was said to have tripped and fell, sealing her fate. [3]

The Police had arrested Busson earlier that day on the charge of holding an open drink, which William had apparently handed him. Once let out of jail Dennis was quoted saying "I’m going down to get Billy, then I’m coming back to get you." [4] to a local police officer.

Busson had been questioned several times by the police before the arrest and even successfully took multiple polygraph tests.

Both William and Judith were said to be loved by all those who knew them. No one believed they had any enemies and couldn't believe they were the victims of such brutal attacks.[5]

Judith had been seeing other people besides Lavaco, creating many arguments between the couple. They had been dating for over a year when the murder occurred. [6]

Newspaper Articles


  1. The Daily Record, Tues. August 9, 1977.
  2. The Daily Record, Tues. August 9, 1977.
  3. Rittman Press, Tues. July 3, 1979.
  4. Rittman Press, Tues. July 3, 1979.
  5. The Daily Record, Thur. August 11, 1977.
  6. The Daily Record, Thur. August 11, 1977.