47 years later, family of murdered WSU student hopes for answers

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

WHITMAN COUNTY, Wash. -The murder of Joyce Lepage has haunted much of Eastern Washington for almost 50 years. With the suspect list even once including Ted Bundy, there's no shortage of theories on what happened to the murdered WSU student. KHQ investigated the case, speaking with both family and detectives who have not given up.

"She was just a beautiful girl," said the victim's brother Bruce Lepage. "Joyce was extremely friendly."

Bruce said his sister had no shortage of admirers.

 

"I just know there were a lot of guys who would have loved to have dated her," he said. "This could very well be a person she turned down."

It's been 47 years since Joyce's body was found. That's more than 17,000 mornings Bruce has woken up, mourning her.

"I just get flash backs," he said.

The crime happened back in July of 1971 on the WSU campus. Joyce had stayed on campus to prepare for another semester at Wazzu. She was taking steps to better her future that would ultimately be her last.

"It starts as a missing person's case," said Sheriff Brett Myers. "It starts out also as a missing piece of carpet from a WSU building."

That building was Stevens Hall, a few blocks from where Joyce lived. She hung out there often. Police believe she was murdered inside.

"She was wrapped in a blanket first and then the carpet," Myers said.

Nine months after Joyce was reported missing, the family got the confirmation they already had in their hearts.

 

"She was found in a canyon," Myers said. "A creek bed in a canyon. Fairly heavily brushed."

Myers said this was and still is, an extremely difficult case.

"Her body was badly decomposed," he said. "We don't know exactly how she was killed."

The brutality of it all lead to some wild theories, including that Ted Bundy was involved.

"I don't want to rule anybody completely out," Myers said. "But, my personal opinion is no. It wasn't Ted Bundy."

 

That's because WCSO believes this was personal.

"My gut feeling is this was someone she knew," he said.

The family is hoping anyone with information will come forward to give them peace. They are offering a cash reward. If you can help, please call the Whitman County Sheriff's Office.

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