Diane Marie Schulte had only three interests. Her cats, reading, and macramé.
The 22-year-old Nampa woman was known to be “extremely introverted and insecure, (and) had great difficulty meeting people,” police say. She “responds antagonistically when approached by strangers, or believes a stranger is encroaching on her psychological territory,” one report states.
She did not have any friends in the area, did not associate with any of her neighbors, and apparently did not have an interest in becoming acquainted with any of her husband’s friends.
Diane was, however, known to take occasional walks to the Nampa Public Library or to the nearby U.S. Post Office, where she and her husband, Fred, share a P.O. box. Sometimes, she would go by herself. Other times, the couple would go together.
By all indications, the two are deeply in love. In fact, in a note to her husband, Diane writes, “I know that I don’t always show it, but I love you with all my heart and soul. Your love is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Fred later writes that Diane, “ ... gave my life meaning and purpose. She was always warm and loving and supportive and fun. She was everything I’ve ever wanted and needed in a woman.” And adds, “ ... our love for each other and complementary strengths got us by.”
In fact, neighbors even call the Schultes “a loving pair,” based on what they observed of the couple, who had moved to the neighborhood about a year earlier.
On the night of March 24, 1977, the two go to the library and check out a book. Fred asks his wife if she wants to go for a walk to nearby stores, but Diane reportedly tells him she “did not feel too well,” describing it “as a touch of the flu or something.”
So they go home.
As Fred is getting ready to leave for work the next morning, Diane reportedly tells him she was still not feeling well.
He leaves for work about 7:20 a.m. -- unaware his life is about to change forever.
Returning from work that evening, Fred pulls up to their nondescript home on Delaware Avenue in Nampa, as he had done so many times before.
Nothing seems out of the ordinary.
He assumes his wife is home. Alone. As normal.
The garage door is closed. Diane’s car is still parked in the driveway. The day’s mail is in the mailbox. And a delivered UPS package (a box of oranges and grapefruits from Diane’s parents) is on the front porch.
Fred unlocks the door and enters. His wife’s three cats are locked in a spare bedroom; “which is where she puts them whenever she leaves the house,” he later tells police.
There’s a few dirty clothes in the master bedroom closet. His wife’s bra is in the bathroom, which police later learn she seldom wore.
But Diane Schulte is nowhere to be found.
Fred checks the house and yard. Everything looks normal. No sign of a disturbance. No sign of a break-in.
Fred asks a neighbor about what time the box had been delivered. The neighbor tells him a UPS truck was seen going down the street about 3 p.m.
Finally, Fred calls the Nampa Police Department, telling officers his wife has “never done anything like this before.”
In fact, he says Diane had been in “an usually good mood” prior to her disappearance, since the couple had recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary.
Investigators find the woman’s belongings in the house -- including her purse, with money and her driver’s license in it. Both her new eyeglasses and contact lenses are found nearby. Only one pair of regular glasses is missing. Strangely, both her wedding ring and watch are found atop a homemade desk “where she normally keeps them when she is home or only going to be gone a short while,” her husband says.
Cpl. Angela Weekes is a 22-year veteran with the Nampa Police Department, and now chief investigator on the Schulte case. “In reading the report, the items left behind concern me,” she says. “Diane either didn’t intend to be gone for a long period of time, or she left and didn’t want to be located or identified.”
In searching the Schultes’ home shortly after the woman disappeared, officers feel it’s odd they can’t find any of her night clothes. Fred explains his wife “usually didn’t wear any.”
The couple owned three guns: a Remington 12-guage shotgun, a Smith & Wesson .38 and a .22 revolver. “All showed residue in the barrels and chambers, but none showed indications of being recently fired,” according to investigators.
When last seen, Diane was reportedly wearing a blue-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and yellow tennis shoes. They were the only clothes her husband notices missing.
Diane was 5-feet 5-inches tall and weighed 125 to 130 pounds. She had hazel eyes and dark brown shoulder-length hair. Her upper front gums and teeth were discolored charcoal grey. She had had some dental work done, and more was planned.
That was on March 25, 1977.
Diane Schulte has reportedly not been seen or heard from since.
But as police continue their investigation, little do they know what perplexing evidence they are about to uncover and the bizarre twist their case is about to take.
PART 2: An emotional phone call. A grisly death. And what police learn happened behind closed doors of the Schulte home.