Cold Case That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks’ Reportedly Solved 100 Years Later

by Victoria Santiago

The 1908 murder of Hazel Drew has finally been solved. Drew’s murder happened over 100 years ago, but her spirit was kept alive by local legends, and eventually the cult classic Twin Peaks.

On July 7th, 1908, the body of Hazel Drew was found facedown in Teal’s Pond in Troy, New York. She was found in a remote area that was heavily wooded. Everyone that knew the blue-eyed blonde girl was interviewed by the local district attorney. That included her parents, her multiple secret lovers, and anyone that happened to see her the night of her murder. However, two suspects were not properly investigated due to their high status in the town.

Hazel Drew’s case went cold, but that doesn’t mean that people forgot about her. Decades later, two screenwriters in a Los Angeles coffee shop were brainstorming ideas, when one of them remembered stories of Drew from his childhood. Mark Frost reminisced on stories his grandmother used to tell him during his summers in Taborton, N.Y. “Don’t go into the woods at night,” his grandmother would say. Hazel Drew’s ghost would be waiting there. Frost and his co-screenwriter David Lynch both agreed that her tragic story would be good for a TV show. Thus, Twin Peaks was born. The show first aired in 1990.

‘Twin Peaks’ Fans Solve Hazel Drew’s Murder

The show follows the same basic premise as Drew’s death. Both Drew and her mirror image on the show, Laura Palmer, were small-town ladies that suffered a horrible death. They both exposed the rampant corruption in their town. However, the Twin Peaks murder of Laura Palmer was eventually solved in the show, unlike Drew’s. That is, until now.

Two fans of the show, David Bushman and Mark Givens, have written a book about the cold case. “Murder at Teal’s Pond” dives into exactly what happened that fateful summer night. By the time they got around to researching and writing the book, Hazel Drew’s death had happened 113 years ago.

Hazel Drew lived a very secretive, contradictory life. At the young age of 14, she started working in the homes of very powerful people, including Thomas W. Hislop, the first-ever treasurer for Troy, N.Y., and John H. Tupper, an elite member of the Retail Coal Dealers’ Association. The authors wrote that by working in these homes, Drew found herself in a “cauldron of crime, sex, glamour and corruption.”

Most people knew little of her life, including her own parents. However, it was a mystery why her case went unsolved for so long – witnesses came forward with compelling evidence not long after her death. The evidence that the witnesses provided has eventually led to her murder being solved. The authors believe that she was murdered by William Cushing and Fred Schatzle, two important people in the town.