On Valentine’s Day 2013, Denise Leuthold, wife of missionary Nathan Leuthold, mother of three young children, was found shot to death in Peoria, Illinois. She was 39. Days before her murder, Nathan called the police and told them he’d seen a strange car in the neighborhood. One night, “They pulled into our driveway without the headlights on,” he said. Although Nathan said his world was shattered by Denise’s death (they knew each other since the third grade), prosecutors argued Nathan killed Denise in order to be with his alleged mistress, 21-year-old Aina Dobilaite, a Lithuanian student the family had sponsored. Nathan met Aina in Lithuanian when she was 6 and brought her to the US so she could go to school.
Prosecutors argued that Nathan Leuthold staged the murder to appear like a burglary gone bad. A computer, camera, and two guns (including the one used to shoot Denise execution-style) were missing. In September 2014, Nathan Leuthold was found guilty of his wife’s murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison. The judge who sentenced Leuthold said the emails from Nathan expressing “glee” about Dobilaite serving as a surrogate mother for his children were “about as over-the-top gut-wrenching as it gets.” Nathan Leuthold and Aina Dobilaite deny having a romantic relationship. The murder of Denise Leuthold will be featured on Dateline NBC which airs Saturdays at 8pm.