Lori Hayes, Dale Lash: ‘Unusual Suspects’ Premieres With Baby Left In Hot Car, Springfield Cornfield Murder Case


Lori Kotzbauer Hayes was murdered by Dale Lash almost twenty years ago in the cornfield of Springfield, Illinois. Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent begins their 9th season premiere episode with her case. The Investigation Discovery crime show focuses on how detectives find the killer. Lori Hayes, 25, was abducted from a shopping center. Her infant was abandoned in the backseat of her car. First-person accounts will help tell the tragic story. Dale Lash is currently serving life in prison with no chance of parole.


Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent episode “Field of Nightmares”

A young mother vanishes from a shopping center, leaving her crying baby in a hot car. As the mystery of her disappearance deepens, a killer’s trail leads police to the cornfield on the edge of town.


The Lori Hayes Murder Case

Lori Kotzbauer Hayes (Lori Hayes) was last seen on August 1, 1999. The missing mother was shopping at Shoe Carnival when she suddenly vanished. Sangamon County Sheriff’s investigators found Lori Hayes’ white jeep abandoned in the parking lot of a shopping center. Her 10-month-old baby was found crying inside the hot car, according to Unusual Suspects‘ TV series.


Lori Hayes’ family searched frantically for her. It was completely unlike her to leave baby Alexis unattended. Once Lori’s baby was taken to a safe place, investigators processed the vehicle. By the looks of the car, it was obvious that a crime had occurred there. Blood and a shell casing were found inside.

The investigation spanned hundreds of miles across what detectives call “pure farm country.” They got a lucky break after seeing fresh tire marks in the cornfield, which led police to the body of Lori Hayes. Detectives found Lori with one arm stretched above her head, and some of the clothing was torn off. Photos helped them make a positive identification.


The cornfield was a peaceful place that looked like a scene from a horror film with Lori’s body there. And the tall bushes made it the perfect place to commit a murder. Lori Hayes was shot execution style, according to the medical examiner’s report.


Police had several leads, including a witness who identified Dale Lash, 36, as the man driving Lori Hayes’ vehicle on the day she disappeared. DNA evidence linked him to Lori Hayes’ murder and the assault of a real estate agent in Springfield.


With that information, a clear picture of what happened began to emerge. Authorities believe after Lori Hayes exited the store and got inside her vehicle, Dale Lash forced his way inside and drove to the remote location, where he killed her.


Lori Hayes was most likely terrified by the thought that her baby could be next. You’ll have to watch Unusual Suspects to find out what happened to¬†baby¬†Alexis. Unusual Suspects airs Wednesday, October 4, at 9/8 p.m. Central on ID.






[Main Image via Investigation Discovery/Illinois Dept. of Corrections/Permissions Granted]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.