Created: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 06:36:00 CST
Updated: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 08:30:10 CST
The employees at the Pilot Truck Stop in Elm Creek had plenty to say about Nancy Petersen's work ethic.
"She was probably one of the most loved people that have ever worked here," Linda Welch said.
But some of them say they knew her on a deeper level.
A former coworker says Petersen told her of an ugly history with her ex–husband Mike.
"It was my understanding that he just was very violent with her," Welch said. "Words. Physically. Mentally."
The Buffalo County Sheriff confirmed a harsh domestic past this morning at a press conference.
Mike and Nancy Petersen began a divorce process in 2002...
Property disputes are part of what dragged that separation on for three years.
But outside of the courtroom, law enforcement had to step in on several occasions.
"There had been some reports that had come in during that time frame of that divorce," Buffalo County Sheriff Neil Miller said. "I don't know those exact dates but law enforcement did have contact with them."
The history between the two made Michael Petersen the top suspect from the very start.
But there's more to the investigation than that.
"Everybody is a suspect until they're eliminated," Buffalo County attorney Shawn Eatherton said. "But you're certainly focused on people who've had problems in the past. There was other evidence but we just can't discuss it right now."
Nancy and Michael Petersen had a son together who is now an adult.
He was a minor when the divorce process started and was initially under the custody of his mother.
Buffalo County Officials say they're working together with other agencies to get to the bottom of this.
They say some important next steps are sharing notes and thorough communication throughout all the involved parties.