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Episode 74

Who Killed Rebekah Gould, Part 1

November 2, 2020   Tags: ,
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Paul and Billy look into the unsolved murder of Rebekah Gould from September 2004 in Melbourne, Arkansas. The case has left her family and community in a swirl of rumors with no justice. In this episode, the guys look into the facts that were originally reported on the case. They are joined by journalist and author George Jared and Rebekah's father Dr. Larry Gould.  

The Disappearance:
On the weekend of September 18th, Rebekah Gould travelled from Fayetteville, Arkansas, with her sister Danielle to visit their boyfriends in Mountain View, Arkansas. Rebekah had planned to break up with her boyfriend Casey McCullough. 

It’s unknown what Rebekah and Casey did during that weekend. But on Monday, September 20th, Casey said Rebekah drove him to work at 8 AM at the Sonic located on Main Street. There are two reasons for this according to reports--one was he was sharing a vehicle with his dad; the other is he had left his truck at work.

Then Rebekah stopped at the local Possum Trot between Guion and Melbourne to buy a breakfast sandwich and coffee. It’s the last time anyone reportedly saw Rebekah. She never made it to pick up Danielle.

Casey spent the rest of the day at work and went out with friends that night. He didn’t make it home until Tuesday morning. All the while, Rebekah’s family had begun looking for her. 

When Casey got back to his house, Rebekah’s car and belongings were still there. An Izard County Sheriff officer visited Casey at work and asked to do welfare check on Rebekah at his home. 

Once there the officer didn’t notice anything really out of place. However, the washing machine was running. Inside was a set of bloody sheets. The welfare check immediately changed to a crime scene investigation. 

A search was conducted, and the sheets weren’t the only bloody things in the trailer. Two bloody pillows had been shoved under the bed. The bare mattress had been flipped over to hide the blood. The bedroom, when looking closer, appeared to have been cleaned, albeit haphazardly. The baseboard still had some blood present. No trail of blood led through the house, but the back porch had some blood spots as well.


The Discovery:
The blood clearly tells a story of someone being seriously hurt. But in the search for Rebekah, it wasn’t the only troubling item in the house. Rebekah’s Chevy Cavalier was parked in Casey’s driveway. Inside the house, unharmed, was her Pomerian Lady. Also inside? Almost everything Rebekah had brought with her from Fayetteville: her purse, car keys, cell phone and clothes. The only item missing was her rollaway suitcase. And Rebekah herself.

The family, community and law enforcement began their search in the warm September. Her father Dr. Larry Gould immediately drove down from his dentistry practice and started looking for his daughter.

Each day was in the mid-80’s. Journalist and author of Witches in West Memphis and Whispers in the Willows George Jared went out almost everyday to join in the search when he began covering Rebekah’s disappearance on Tuesday the 21st. He was with the search crew the following Monday.

It was reported Rebekah had been beaten to death. Blunt force trauma to the head. But the autopsy report was not being released to the public. She was located down an embankment off of Route 9 just a few miles from the house she had been staying. The placement of her body led most people to report that she’d rolled down the embankment, which meant the only way to get from Ester Fisher Road to the location was driving through town. Now this will be important later on. 

The state of her remains were heavily decomposed, like George said. Law enforcement said Rebekah wasn’t sexually assaulted because she had clothes on. But she was in a t-shirt and underwear.

Attention Brought Back to the Case:
Law enforcement looked into to all those who knew Rebekah. Because originally the time of death was thought to have been Monday, September 20th, Casey McCullough was ruled out. Other people in her life couldn't be tied to the crime scene, so the trail went cold. That is until 2016.

Dr. Larry Gould received an anonymous letter from someone claiming to have information. The letter claimed to be from an Ozark College student. The writer said they overheard a strange conversation a small group of people were having. They described the people as “a blonde woman, a dark haired man, and a dark haired woman approached a blonde Ozark college student who was male about 5 feet in front of me.” She said they all looked about 18-25 years old and possible drug addicts.

The note has been analyzed. Next week we are going to take a hard look into what was originally thought about this case and what we think we know now with a Squaderino, and Faculty member of Forensics and Criminal Justice at American Military University Jen Bucholtz. But right now I want to talk about the analysis of this note she had conducted by FBI agent Jim Fitzgerald, who helped catch the Unabomber.

Jim agreed with us that the writer is female. He says the writer has above average writing ability. Her age is unknown. Based on the writer’s timeline she would have been between 30-34 years old, but Jim said they could be older. He actually thinks being a student at Ozark College could be a ruse by the writer.  

According to Fitzgerald the whole letter probably is a ruse. He says it’s highly improbable the writer would have overheard two conversations by the people in question. He also calls into question whether the letter writer ever went to the police. 

He surmises the letter was written for one of two reasons. The first: It is a Post-Offense Manipulation of Investigation Communication.  This is “designed to manipulate an official investigation in some way and to some degree. POMICs are always anonymous, received after a crime or incident and usually received by the media, the criminal justice system, and/or someone known to be involved in/related to the so-referenced investigation.Their purpose is simple: misinformation.”

The second could be “it was written and sent by someone who simply wants to inject herself into the investigation, for whatever reason, but is not necessarily complicit in the crime itself. While not a ‘a false confession’ per se by the author herself, it nonetheless relates the alleged admissions/confessions of 4-5 others, in two very convenient and separate overhear situations.

It can’t be completely ruled out that the author believes she has psychic abilities yet chooses to report her findings in an anonymous narrative…”

But in 2018, more attention would focus on Rebekah’s case. Journalist Catherine Townsend started a podcast Hell and Gone. On it she dug deep into the case. During the podcast she spoke with several people close to the cast of players in Rebekah’s murder. Dr. Gould spoke with Catherine and gives her credit for shining more light on the case.

During the time of the podcast a man came forward claiming Casey McCullough had confessed to killing Rebekah multiple times to him. The man signed a sworn affidavit. The most telling part of it was he said the police had "the timeline mixed up."

Also thanks to the podcast Jen Bucholtz became interested in the case. Jen has done extensive work on this case. Her work pokes holes in many of the current theories in town. We will be discussing all of those next week--including this “mixed up timeline” and how it could bring a closer look at Casey McCullough.
ASSIGNMENT:
Next week we are going to be looking at the science in this case. Jen is going to talk us through much of her investigation. 

While her investigation changes some items of the case, certain parts remain the same. The first and most important is that Rebekah still hasn’t received justice. The second is the cast of characters in this case. All of them knew Rebekah and the area. If you have any information about the murder of Rebekah Gould, please contact us.   

CODE OF CONDUCT: 

1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police. 
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members. 
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.

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