The Murder of Denise Leuthold

Felicia Huffman
16 min readFeb 14, 2021

It’s Valentine’s Day, and as such, our story takes place on Valentine’s Day. I’m sure we are familiar with the infamous Valentine’s Day massacre that took place in 1929 when seven members of Chicago’s North Side Gang were killed at a Lincoln Park garage. The four unknown assailants lined them up against a wall and shot them. This led to a struggle to control the organized crime in the city between the Irish North Sides, headed by George “Bugs” Moran, and the Italian South Side Gang, headed by Al Capone. While nobody ever found out who perpetrated the act, everybody believes Capone was to blame.

We are also familiar with Oscar Pistorius and his Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, for which he is serving 13 years in prison. So I would like to present to you another Valentine’s Day murder. This murder also took place on February 14th, 2013, the same day Pistorius murdered his girlfriend.

A former missionary, Nathan Leuthold was often described to be a “good person,” but that persona was ripped to shreds when he decided to kill his wife. Nathan and his wife Denise were very active in their Lithuanian-oriented church, and before they had children, would often travel the world doing missionary work. They also brought Lithuanian women who had escaped abusive relationships to the US to help them live a better life.

The day began just like any other. They had their Valentine’s tradition. That morning, Nathan woke the kids up and got them bathed and ready while Denise made breakfast for the family. After they were ready, the kids were allowed to enjoy Valentine’s treat and Nathan surprised Denise with chocolate and flowers waiting on the table before they sat down for breakfast. After breakfast, the kids were taken to school and Nathan headed to church while Denise stayed home. But in 2013, things went awry.

Nathan didn’t go to the church. While it has never been shared what, exactly, Nathan did that day leading up the major events, here is what we have learned:

  • He drove Denise’s car to a park where, as he told the police, he often visited, and tossed the keys into a trashcan.
  • He returned home after he knew that everybody except his wife would be gone for the day and killed her.
  • He ransacked the house, even taking things out…
Felicia Huffman

Hello, I am F.A. Huffman. I am a writer and crafter at heart, but currently work FT to pay the bills. Find me at, FB, Insta, & Twitter.