Daisy lived in Wattles Park outside of Battle Creek, only a mile or so from where I was raised. She worked at Kelloggs on the line. Her murder was 50 years ago next January and was exceedingly violent – she was stabbed over 25 times. The struggle with her killer took place in three rooms of her house. Whoever killed Daisy planned it; they came to her house specifically to murder her. They fled in her car, abandoning it in a bitter cold snow on Michigan Avenue.
This crime remains unsolved to this day. That doesn’t mean that that police haven’t had good theories over the years. I obtained a copy of the police reports through a Freedom of Information Act Request and have pieced together not only the crime but the theories.
In terms of cold cases, this one is almost frigid. I considered walking away from this story because of that but I couldn’t. Too many people still talk in hushed whispers about Daisy Zick, her rumored little black book, the marriages at Kelloggs that were allegedly shattered because of the investigation of her death. It struck me as odd how the rumors sometimes outlived the reality.
Were there mistakes in the investigation? Let me say there are mistakes made in almost every murder investigation and you have to remember that 1963 was a long way from CSI-style investigations. Having said that, yes, some mistakes were made. Daisy was not a faithful woman, she had numerous affairs in her life and even at the time of her death. As one person put it to me, “If you worked at Kelloggs back then you were the exception if you weren’t having an affair.” Daisy’s lifestyle seemed to draw the focus of the investigators time and efforts – and with good reason. Yet for every path they explored, few offered any tangible results.
Every so often the case was taken up by a new generation of investigators who tried to stir public interest in the crime, perhaps surface a new clue. Each time, the results were more disappointing.
As a writer of history and true crime, you may be wondering if it is possible to write a book about an unsolved case. The answer is yes. Mark Fuhrman wrote Murder in Greenwich about who killed Martha Moxley and that led to an eventual conviction. Mardi Link wrote the inspiring and brilliant, When Evil Came to Good Hart, which was a great story about an unsolved murder of a family in Michigan. Yes, it can be done, and in this case, I intend to do it.
I have interviewed a number of investigators on the case over the years. Furthermore, I have had some tips come in which are interesting and potentially helpful. I have been fortunate to get to interview Daisy’s son who gave me an incredible amount of information on the background of his family and about his mother. I didn’t get to know Daisy, but I feel like I know her…if only a little.
This case deserves to be resolved. Fifty years does not mean that her son doesn’t deserve some closure, as does the rest of the community. Someone out there has heard something that is tangible – something that police could use today. Someone bragged or revealed what they did. Fifty years have passed – the threat of retaliation is gone. Someone got away with murder…but they had to have made mistakes. The time has come for the truth to come out.
If you’ve heard something that might help – please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Who knows – you might help bring closure to this vicious murder after half a century.