Amateur sleuth Gregg Olsen is not ready to give up on Ida Stutzman. In his book The Amish Wife: Unraveling the Lies, Secrets, and Conspiracy That Let a Killer Go Free, Olsen takes a deeper look into a story he has been obsessed with for over two decades. This is the second time he's written about Ida's death. In 2002 he released Abandoned Prayers: The Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession, and Amish Secrets, but was too nervous to turn over the rocks needed to possibly find some answers.
His second book about the death of Ida Stutzman takes an even harder look at her husband, Eli Stutzman. He left their Amish community less than two years after Ida's death, and took their son Danny with him. Soon after, a string of bizarre murders and a long stretch in prison greeted Ida's husband in the English world. Where is Eli Stutzman now? Here's what we know.
Where is Eli Stutzman now? He committed suicide in 2007.
According to The Daily Record, Stutzman was found dead in his Ft. Worth, Texas apartment on Feb. 2, 2007. The medical examiner ruled it a suicide, "the cause of which was a sharp force injury to the left arm." A neighbor told emergency personnel they hadn't seen Stutzman in quite some time. Police found his body untouched.
Because of Olsen's first book, he was contacted by the media for comment. He said the death of Stutzman was disappointing as they might never know the truth about the man whose wife mysteriously died. That was just the tip of the iceberg, as Stutzman was also involved with "countless gay men, whom he reportedly met through advertisements and at sex parties across the United States," and became a suspect in several unsolved deaths. Olsen also believed he was responsible for the death of his son Danny, whose body was found in a corn field in Nebraska on Christmas Eve in 1985.
No one could prove Stutzman's involvement with Danny's death, but he was "convicted of abandoning a body and concealing a death, for which he was sentenced to one year in prison," per The Daily Record. Months before Danny's body was found, Stutzman's roommate "Glen Pritchett was found dead from a gunshot wound to his eye," per The New York Post. For this, Stutzman would be handed a prison sentence of 40 years in 1989. He was out in 2005 and dead within two years.
Is 'The Amish Wife: Unraveling the Lies, Secrets, and Conspiracy That Let a Killer Go Free' a true story?
Olsen's second book about Ida Stutzman picks up where the author's obsession left off in 2002. Released in January 2024, it includes new evidence that Stutzman killed his wife. It puts the true right into true crime. In it, Olsen points out that Stutzman was never a suspect and was certainly never questioned about the night Ida died. He claimed she’d "collapsed while trying to save milking equipment from a fire," due to complications from her weak heart.
Because Ida and her husband were part of a strict Amish community called the Swartzentruber Order, people were extremely reluctant to speak with Olsen. Even Ida's brother Daniel Gingerich was told to "let it go" by other members of the family. Thankfully, Olsen was able to find people that were willing to talk. What they said is shocking.
Olsen himself doesn't have any definitive answers, but believe it or not, that's not what he's looking for. "I hope this book emboldens other people to come forward with information," he told The New York Post. "When or if that happens, the dominos are gonna start falling." It's all about people taking responsibility for the mistakes they made. Sometimes that's the only justice we have.