Saturday, July 14, 2012

Researching The Daisy Zick Murder

If you are unaware at this point, I am writing a book about the unsolved murder of a Calhoun County woman in 1963 – Daisy Zick.  I got drawn into this case while working on Secret Witness.  When I would tell someone I wanted to interview them about a crime in the 1960’s in Calhoun County they would almost always respond, “Ah, the Zick case.”  After about four of these responses, I knew I needed to look into this murder. 

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    Who knows – you might help bring closure to this vicious murder after half a century.  


  1. I linked with you from Linked In and was drawn in by your opening line (good job) And I definitely agree, YES you can write a story about an unsolved murder, and I think in fact, it would be an even better read than a solved one, simply because the answers are waiting to be discovered! While reading the little evidence you gave, I thought, maybe it was a murder of passion, by another woman? Or a husband who felt threatened. The point was, you had me really wanting to READ and find out! I'd read a book like this in a heartbeat, so keep me posted. If you need any help promoting, let me know, I'll put word out on all my social outlets.

    Nice to meet you by the way :)

  2. Thank you for your posting. Part of the interest in this book will be the unknowns - and the theories that have been floated all of these years.

    If you like this idea, you may want to check out one of my latest books, Secret Witness.


  3. I grew up in this area from about 1973 - 1986. I've never heard of the Daisy Zick Murder, but I'm interested now.

  4. My good friend lives in her old house on 100 Jono. Just brought her the article from the newspaper today. She is researching further into this. I got to go inside the room where she was found. Very interesting!

  5. Wow going to read this book. Sounds like my ex step moms dad may have been a suspect. Hearing he committed suicide shortly after the murder.

  6. I think that the men she was having affairs with I think those guys wives might have done it they have motive. Or the men she was having affairs with got mad and thought that they were meant to be with her and they killed her. It said in your book that she might have been the unlucky woman that let in the mysterious 29 year old in. Why would she let in a stranger? When she was so scared of a break-in. In your book it also said she was sitting facing the wall. What she would just go to the spare room leaving the stranger to do what cut the phone cord. No I think she knew him maybe a man she had an affair with got in touch with a friend or younger relative. And went into hiding until everything calmed down. They must have paid people like it said in your book Blaine Pardoe. Because it said how a couple of people lied why? What were they hiding? Wouldn't they feel safer after the murderer was behind bars. I think that everything is strange. Like the husband had a phone set up in his basement. He called his boss but, why didn't he just call the police? I think if possible the male-man needs to be re-investigated how did he see someone that no other people did? Confusing.

  7. Respond back to my comment, I would like to know what you thought about my guess/guesses.

    Nice meeting you.