Another Yellowstone County Cold case file is reaching its 40th anniversary on September 21. This double homicide case is one of the most high-profile cases in Billings’s history.

On September 21, 1980, 42-year-old George Heinrich and 57-year-old Marlene Mazzola were both found deceased in George’s home on highway 312 in east Billings, near Shepherd. Their bodies were discovered by Heinrich’s adoptive daughter, who was 17 years old at the time. Mazzola and Heinrich had been dating for about one month before they were both murdered. 

George was a well-established businessman who bought and sold cattle. He also owned several real estates and, at one point, owned the Silver Dollar Bar. Mazzola was a representative for Avon products. She was the district manager for the company in the Billings area. According to the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Department, George and Marlene had gone out dancing at the Elk’s Club, staying until around 1:30 a.m. The two went to George’s house afterward and had dinner. 

At around four in the afternoon, George’s daughter, Peggy Heinrich-Wash, discovered the two were murdered in George’s master bedroom. Peggy recalls finding her father lying face down on the floor with a pillowcase over his head and his hands tied behind his back with electrical tape. Peggy did not step into the bedroom far enough to see Marlene’s condition. Reports say the two were both bound and believed to have been strangled.

Heinrich-Wash also mentions seeing nothing out of place throughout the house, except for hte master bedroom. The door was smashed in, and it looked like the door was trying to be held shut. The murderer or murderers took one of Heinrich’s diamond rings valued at 16,000 dollars at the time. The ring was never recovered.

It is believed that the killer(s) fled the home in Mazzola’s car, a 1979 Pontiac LeMans. It was abandoned at the East Parkway Husky Truckstop in the heights. The truck stop is no longer in business. The vehicle was found later in the evening, the day after the incident was reported. The killer or killers have never been found. 

If you have any information on the deaths of Marlene Mazzola and George Heinrich, call 406-866-3530 or 406-245-6660; calls can be anonymous.