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October 17, 2018 44 mins

Catherine and her team arrive in the Arkansas Ozarks and retrace Rebekah’s steps on the last day she was seen alive. They meet Rebekah’s sister Danielle, her father Larry, and local journalist George Jared. For more on the case, visit hellandgonepodcast.com

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
School of Humans. We can also drive black car range
if this one, it'll make it, make it. This is
my grandma's car. Every time I drive up the steep

(00:32):
and curvy Arkansas Road into the Ozark Mountains, I have
two simultaneous thoughts. See look, look at these houses. You know,
the woods are beautiful and they're also terrifying. Things are
kind of falling apart. And also there's a lot of
space between a lot of these vacant houses. I've been
coming up here with my family since I was a kid,

(00:52):
and I have a lot of happy memories here. But
let's face it, there's a reason why so many horror
movies are setting cabins in the woods. Sometimes bad things
happen when no one is around to hear you scream.
We have no cell phone reception. Yeah, that's all. It
was on this desolate stretch of Highway nine in the

(01:12):
Ozarks between Mountain View and Melbourne that on September twenty seventh,
two thousand and four, searchers found the body of twenty
two year old Rebecca Gould. Rebecca was beautiful, popular, and
full of life, and her killing shooken area where the
murder rate was pretty much zero It's been fourteen years

(01:33):
and Rebecca's killer has never been found. The murder has
become one of the most notorious cold cases in the region.
But for me, this case is personal. I have a
long history with this area. My dad and my little sister,

(01:53):
Caroline still live in Mountain View. She went to high
school with Rebecca's younger sister, Danielle, and they are still
close friends. Even after I became a writer and private
investigator and moved to New York City, Rebecca's murder continued
to haunt me. Every time I went home to visit
my family, I would hear more rumors about the case. Occasionally,

(02:14):
a news station would do an update on the case,
illustrated with Rebecca blonde, dazzling smile with her white fluffy
dog in her lap. But over the years the leads
were fewer and farther between. I couldn't figure it out.
If everyone in town thought they knew who killed Rebecca,
why hadn't her case been solved. A few months ago,

(02:40):
I came back to the Ozarks. I wanted to catch
Rebecca's killer. I was supposed to stay for two weeks,
but I never left, and at some point my investigation
crossed over into an obsession. I'm not stopping until I
get justice for Rebecca. I'm Catherine Townsend and this is

(03:01):
Helen Gone. The last time Rebecca was seen alive was

(03:37):
a week before her body was found on September twentieth,
two thousand and four. It was a Monday morning, just
after eight am. Rebecca had been staying at her boyfriend
Casey's house for the weekend. Rebecca gave Casey a ride
to work in her black nineteen ninety seven Chevy Cavalier.
Casey was a cook at the Sonic in Melbourne. Rebecca
had met him about a year earlier when she worked

(03:59):
there as a car hop. But Rebecca's days of delivering
burgers on roller skates were over. She had recently moved
into an apartment in Fayetteville with her sister Danielle, and
was starting college at Northwest Arkansas. After dropping Casey off,
she stopped at the Possum Trot gas station in Melbourne,
where she bought a breakfast, sandwich and coffee. Rebecca's plan
had been to drive back to Casey's, pack her stuff

(04:21):
and meet Danielle to drive back to school. When she
didn't show up that afternoon, Danielle and the rest of
her family became alarmed. The next day, police showed up
at Casey's house. They found Rebecca's car parked outside. Inside,
they found her cell phone, purse, all of her clothes,
and her dog Lady. There was no sign of Rebecca,

(04:46):
but there were ominous signs that something very bad had happened.
There a blood soaked mattress that had been flipped over,
her uneaten breakfast sandwich, a washing machine full of blood.
Over the years, I've heard a lot of rumors. I
heard there was a party over the weekend, a fight
with a girl, a jealous lover. Someone even told me

(05:09):
that Rebecca was kidnapped, chained up, and held hostage in
a horse trailer. So our first job will be separating
fact from fiction. Taylor and James, who are both working
on the podcast, have come to Arkansas to help me.
They started out working on sound and logistics, but quickly
got sucked down the internet rabbit hole of topics, boards

(05:30):
and web slues. I know this look. They've been sucked
into the case too. Let's start with what we know
based on newspaper reports and the murder board. Are brought
with me from Manhattan, police released almost no details on
this case, and what's out there publicly is hard to
find a lot of it's not available online. So we

(05:51):
head to the library to look up old editions of
the newspaper on microfiche backpacks of persons? Do you need
to be out here in lockers though? Okay? And there
are four I don't know a lot of factable ones
are online. You're just going to go ahead somewhere. What

(06:23):
days that can you guys? Do? The day in September sixteenth?
Or was it started with a one? Right? Yeah? So
she went missing the next day, which would be there,
so this may have been the first day that she
was reported missing. Was on Tuesday? Yeah, although again we

(06:45):
need to we got kind of confirm that because everyone
tells me different day. Some people say Monday, some people
say Tuesday. I'm sure the police would at least confirm that. Maybe,
Oh there's search for one woman can das? Yeah? What
day is that? Friday? That is Friday twenty fourth and
you can see a picture of the missing poster. Yeah,

(07:06):
Rebecca Gould, blonde hair, brown eyes, one hundred and three pounds,
So Friday the twenty fourth, it made the Baxter Bolton
According to authorities, she had visited a friend of Guy
on last weekend and failed to return to Fatball in
her car with her purse, keys and money, and it
was found at the friend's house. The friend is not
considered a suspect of the disappearance, according to Arkansas State

(07:28):
Police Lieutenant Bill Beach. Yeah, see, in the beginning, it
was confusing because there was a report that she had
been seen that afternoon it looks like, but that was
later found to be not true. So it just kind
of goes to show like when stories come out after
the fact, there's often a lot of facts wrong. Official

(07:55):
suspectfile play there. It is what day is that is
that the weekend? Yeah, Saturday and Sundays at this for
quite time, there are several people of interest, no particular suspect,
So it says here I searched the area Monday morning
and found the body thirty five feet down the embankment
of the highway. I think that the George Derrick guy

(08:16):
knows because he was one of the first people's see
the body. Since we have no forensics and so few
details have been revealed about this case, we have to
focus on victimology. We have to enter the mind of
the crime victim so that we can understand the relationship
with her killer or killers. To understand her death, we
have to go back to the last weekend of her life.

(08:37):
So we had to talk to the person who knew
her best, her sister, Danielle starting route to Mountain Home.
So it was your sister that got you interested in
this or put this case on your radar in the
first place. Yeah, I mean I'd read about it, but Carolyn,
because Carolyen was friends with Danielle, I would hear about
it more. You know, like over the years, I would

(08:59):
just kind of hear what was going on, and then
it was unsolved, and then when I met Danielle, it
just got really personal. Rebecca was only a year older
than Danielle. They were best friends. When Danielle talks about
the day her sister was murdered, it's obvious she's not
just relaying information about that horrific day. She's reliving it.

(09:20):
It's sensitive subject matter. She has to talk about her
sister maybe being sexually assaulted and everything like that. This
is as close as we're going to get to being
inside Rebecca's head. In that final forty eight hours on
the friday before Rebecca disappeared, she and Danielle drove from Fayetteville,
where they had recently moved into an apartment together, back
to Mountain View. Like a lot of us at that age,

(09:42):
Rebecca's life was in transition. Danielle is visibly emotional as
she remembers the last conversation that she ever had with
her sister. She remembers that Rebecca was looking forward to
starting college, into the future, she had her whole life
ahead of her. When they got to town, the sister
split up. Danielle stayed with her boyfriend Nick, while Rebecca

(10:05):
headed out to spend the weekend with Casey. After Rebecca's murder,
Danielle went on to Mary Nick. They had two daughters,
but have since separated. She's been through some tough times
and had health issues that have affected her memory. Despite
how physically and mentally hard this is for her, she's
determined to help find her sister's killer. Can you just

(10:28):
sort of take me through what happened from the time
that you guys got in the car to when you
dropped her off and the last time you talked to her.
We got in the car and we started to drive
back home. We had a flat tire, like twenty miles
thirty miles away. She changed it. She could change his higher. Yeah,

(10:52):
it surprised me. I can't remember if if I drove.
I probably drove to Nick's house and she, Yeah, she
probably dropped me off there, and she left to go
to Casey's and we were going to meet back up
Monday and go back to Fayebelle. Danielle remembers waiting for Rebecca,

(11:16):
the sinking feeling in her stomach when her sister never
showed up. Yeah, we were supposed to meet early that morning,
and I knew, I think I just knew something was wrong,
and we'd gotten phone calls, you know, she couldn't be
found driving out there, Like I mean, I was just

(11:37):
sick already just driving out there. She remembers driving up
to Casey's house and seeing the flurry of police activity there.
That was the moment when she figured out that her
sister's crash pad was a crime scene. Did you talk
to her that weekend at all? I don't think it did.
But that was not unusual, right like for her to

(11:57):
rise just had to start looking Over the next week,
police launched a massive man hunt for Rebecca. Friends and
family papered the town with wanted posters. Hundreds of volunteers
scoured the woods. It seemed like the whole town was

(12:19):
looking for Rebecca. Some of them screamed her name so
that if she was hurt and bleeding in a sinkhole
or a barn, she would hear them, And on September
twenty seventh, the search ended. She didn't deserve what happened
to her. If there was any other way to like

(12:41):
help get this out there without having to ask you
and prey through it, you know what, Like, Yeah, I
know she was a good person. I mean she loved,
you know, and cared for a lot of people. And sorry,

(13:01):
it's okay, it's fate, brain. I'm sorry, it's okay. I
guess I know that you guys were best friends and
really close, and I'm trying to understand what was going
on in her life before she died. We had just
moved to Fayetteville. We were living with Tiffany and my

(13:21):
other sister, and we were in college. She was trying
to make her lot better as far as getting into college,
moving on to Fayetteville, and becoming somebody. Which relationship been
like with the Isra County Police. I don't contact them.

(13:44):
I mean, I don't contact anybody other than you. I mean,
I want it solved, but there's just no point. I mean,
what would you like to see happen? Someone actually care
and help us solve it and get the correct people

(14:07):
that took her life. Is it okay with you? I mean,
would you be okay with us calling your dad? Yeah?
That's fun, Like, that's perfectly fun. Okay, And you can
do anything you want to help, you know, get it solved,

(14:32):
because it's not fair to no one to lose someone
and then just to you know, not have any you know, closure.
I was challenging to listen to. She holds it together

(14:54):
incredibly well. You can feel it's just the pain in
her eyes. M Rebecca's body was found down as steep

(15:14):
Embankment off Highway nine, five miles south of Melbourne, near
Devil's Knob Wildlife Management Area. Even though the body was
near the road and just a few miles from the
Izard County Sheriff's Department, her body was hidden by a
thick wall of trees. It's a day that local journalist
George Jared, who covered the case extensively, will never forget

(15:36):
he saw Rebecca still wearing the black griefs and T
shirt she wore to bed. George was a twenty four
year old CUB reporter when Rebecca was killed, and hers
was the first murder case he ever covered. It's really
strange to say this, but I never knew her. But
there's no she had as a profound impact on my

(15:58):
career as anything. What happened was actually the newspaper work.
It was a weekly newspaper. I would call all the
police agencies in my coverage area. One of them was
the Izzard County Sheriff's Department, so I called them. It
was probably a Monday or Tuesday. She disappeared that Monday,
September twentieth, two thousand and four, and so I called them.

(16:21):
And I know I called him on Monday. I probably
called them on Tuesday. But you know, when you're dealing
with small agencies like that, they don't have murders, I
mean not very rarely. So i'd call them. They didn't
say anything, you know, it was, you know, well, nothing
going on here. George is right. I've covered a lot
of true crime cases, and I know that police often

(16:41):
hold back information that only the killer would know from
the public, but in this case, they won't even verify
basic information. Sometime Tuesday, they went to Casey McCullough's house.
The story is, you know, she went and dropped him
off at work, and then she went to the Possum
Trot convenience store, got a couple of things, and then
left went back to his house, and then somewhere sometime

(17:03):
during that morning she died. And so during this process
I actually met Danielle and surely her mother and Larry.
They were down at the sheriff's apartment when I went
down there, and I started talking to them. Literally the
next day, the Thursday, they were out around guy In
near where Casey McCullough's house is, and they were looking,

(17:24):
you know, searching, And I literally watched Larry taking posters
of his daughter and taping them to you know what
Those guide wires are arrows, I mean that go around
like a curve. And he was he I mean, obviously
you can't do that. Number one and number two, nobody
driving in eaty speed. We'd even be able to see
or make out what it was. But when I saw

(17:44):
him doing that, it just crushed me. And so so
I was out there searching with them, you know, looking.
The next Monday, I got to work really really early,
like five o'clock in the morning. I just went in.
I just had this feeling I need to go back
to Melbourne, and so I drove down there, went to

(18:05):
the courthouse. Now in the morning, a lot of you know,
these elderly women would walk around the courthouse and they
were talking. There were several of them down there, and
so I parked my vehicle and I got out and
I walked up to him. A couple leads I heard.
I overheard a couple of ladies talking that there were
searchers behind or out near this woman's property somewhere. So

(18:26):
I said, could you tell me where you live? And
she told me, and it was out It was down
Arkansas nine, you know, connecting Mountain View with Melbourne, and
so she said, oh, yeah, they're out there, and she
had said something about a smell. I went out there,
and you know, I saw a bunch of cars like

(18:47):
lined up on the side of the road, and so
I knew something was there. Well, I ran into a
searcher that I had. He I'd met him through the searching,
you know, I'd seen him, and I said Hey, I
heard you guys are out here looking for Rebaca out here,
and he was pointing, goes, she's right there, and i'sare
I mean, she was right off the road. She looked

(19:08):
like she was asleep. You know. One side of her
face was you know, seemed okay, and then the other
side was, you know, very badly damaged and decomposing. Was
she whining down or sitting up or she was slumped.
It was like it was like she was in some

(19:29):
I want to say, like some There was like tree limbs.
It was really grassy. It almost looked like maybe she
had been where she had been tossed, like maybe she
had landed on a branch or something. I mean, but
when you see something like that for the first time
ever in your life, you're almost like you're not there.

(19:49):
At that moment, I was like just trying to get away,
Like I literally started walking back away from it. And
I had a camera with me, and I remember somebody
asked me, They said, you're gonna take a picture of that,
are you? And I said no, I said, I'm gonna
try to forget about this. Probably spend the rest of
my life trying to forget about this. We'll be right
back a little just where she walked out. Okay, thank you.

(20:28):
Rebecca's father, Larry Gold, is a prominent dentist in nearby
Mountain Home. We meet with Larry in the back room
of his dental office, a converted house right in the
middle of towns. Taylor was so into the gate she
drove from Atlanta. How long have you been here? So

(20:48):
I've been here almost week on Saturday. As we talked
to him, his dental hygienis work around us. He has
the same tan skin and dazzling smile as his daughter's.
Larry went to usc before marrying Rebecca's mom, Sharlot and
moving here, and his accent is still more Southern California

(21:09):
than northern Arkansas. People in this neck of the woods
fall into one of two categories. You're either from around
here or you're from off So even though Larry has
lived in the area for over four decades, run a business,
and raise a family, to many locals, he still falls
into the latter category. Rebecca had a hard life. I

(21:33):
attempted to get custody of Rebecca and her sisters and
was pretty much raised by her mother in different areas
of Arkansas. They eventually settled in the Mountain View area,
and then as Rebecca grew a little bit older, I

(21:54):
would have to say that my opinion of Rebecca began
to really develop further. I had a little bit more
time around her. I saw that she was beginning to
turn her life around. But there was a lot of
outside influences that were really pulling Rebecca in the right direction.

(22:15):
And nothing could have made me happier than to see that.
So I come back to the one memory in particular
that it makes me cry. Excuse me. The last time

(22:36):
that I saw her and I talked to her was
probably every father's dream. She came to my home and
she said, Dad, I want to talk to you, and
so we went out on our back porch and we
had some privacy, and she proceeded to tell me that

(23:01):
she was wanting to fulfill some dreams of hers in college,
and so she was heading heading towards getting into the
University of Arkansas. M m hm. So she was at
that point in my life in our relationship, I'm doing

(23:24):
absolutely everything right. She had dreams, she had hopes, she
had ambition. But the one thing is she said to
me that will m h m hm. Always be remembered.

(23:46):
I don't know if I can get this advocate this out. No,
I mean, I'll take it. But hm, as I said,
it was really every father's dream here hear from your child.
But she said said to me that, Dad, I've watched
you in law life and you've always done well, and

(24:09):
I want to I would it be like you so
m so those that's my last memory of our time together.

(24:31):
Mm hmm. So with that said, obviously I knew I
knew nothing about what was going to happen next. And
for some reason, I'm thinking it was only a few
weeks before this happened. After that, it could have been
a month, could have been a couple of months. But
when it happened, that that disbelief. I don't know. You're

(24:56):
you're you're in You're in a state of shock, and
you've never been through something like this before, and you
don't know the next step. So you obviously beg and
to turn to law enforcement and people you trust to
answer your questions and to kind of help point you
in the right direction. In the years since Rebecca's murder,

(25:19):
Larry has done his own investigation. He's written countless letters
to the police and to the prosecutors. He's hired pi's
and gone to the press. At some point, he even
talked to a clairvoyant. At first, he was cooperative, patient,
He was a law abiding citizen who raised his kids
to respect God, the American flag, and the police. But

(25:42):
after several years passed with no arrests, Larry grew frustrated.
He felt like the police were stonewalling, and so he
went to the media and he hasn't spoken to the
Arkansas State Police since. The investigators in charge of the
case believe that by going to the press, Larry hurt
the investigation. If you ever murdered, it's unsolved. The longer

(26:04):
you go, the harder it is to to come up
with with the facts and to get any kind of
a conviction. So there needs to be some parameters built
into the law enforcement to where any at a certain
given point. And I'll just use as a reference five years,
say five years, you give law enforcement everything they can

(26:25):
possibly do. At the end of five years, the family,
as long as they're not considered to be a possible suspect,
they should have the right to come in and maybe
at that point not look at the file, but they
certainly have a right to look at certain things and
then to bring in qualified people representing them at some

(26:45):
point in time. You need have you need to be
able to access the entire file. It is a cold case.
They want to let me have her any of her forensics.
They wouldn't let me have any of her of the
medical uh, the the anatomical findings cause well cause death.
It was on a death certificate. But you know sometimes

(27:08):
that gets put on a death certificate and that's an error,
and you just want other people to be able to
look at this. According to Rebecca's autopsy report, the cause
of death was blunt force trauma to the head, probably

(27:32):
with just one or two blows. Nobody's been able to
confirm this for me yet, but I've heard over the
years that the murder weapon may have been a piano
leg Was this, as some people have speculated, a pre
planned crime, or did her killer hit her as hard
as they could and then panic when she started bleeding.

(27:53):
By the time Rebecca's body was found, it had been
out in the elements for a week. Her body was
badly decomposed, which makes determining an exact time of death difficult,
and the media report state that Rebecca dropped Casey off
at work on Monday morning. There's another rumor going around
that she was actually killed over the weekend. Rebecca's car

(28:14):
had dark tinted windows. Is it possible that someone else
was driving her car that morning? To understand Rebecca's death,
we need to take the same ride she took on
the last day she was alive. We head to the
Possum Trot, the local gas station. Back in the day,
Rebecca was a regular. These days, it's pretty deserted. It

(28:38):
is super hot out there. Yeah, it feels like asana.
I headed behind the counter. There's a black and white
TV playing an old western and watching it and me
is an old man, the cashier, so he knows who
I am and talks to me about the case. Oh,

(28:59):
that's a when you were in here? Last time I
was in here, I can't remember. I've been working on
this Rebecca Gold cold case, so I've come by a
few times before. How are you dealing with that? You know,
we've actually made a lot of progress. We got a
bunch of kIPS and I'm going pretty well. H thank you. Yeah,

(29:25):
I know wish I better conditioning. I know, I wish
my car had air conditioning m. Hello. Hi, my name

(29:57):
is James Morrison, and I'm trying to get in touch
with Steve Wortham Taylor and James on their reporter hats
and try to find the last person to see Rebecca alive. Yeah,
I want to convenue stories and stopped. Got the breakfast
biscuit in that morning. Jessica, work on this one and

(30:19):
team Conservative. I see, And is that a relation? Is
that your daughter no belief? Were you involved in the
search or anything? And why I talked to her mother
a lot of times, her mother come back several times
long thoughfully knew where she might be or something, But yeah,
I didn't. Well, they got to know who did it

(30:43):
because it's been a too much hush. Yeah, you're talking
about the police have to know who did it. Yeah,
it was a bad deal I made, Yeah, because I
need told me it was a bad deal inside the
trailer chasing and you know bleating, you know everywhere ill people.
If you did meet gomagain or go mad, I'll meet

(31:05):
you when you come out. Let's see if we can
find his niece. Hi, my name is James Morrison and
trying to get in touch with Jessica Shrabel Ah she here,

(31:28):
she ad another location. I don't know how you would
her phone number. Yeah, I'm Sorr. I was just talking
with her uncle Steve. Yeah, and he'd given me this number.
He must have given me the wrong one. Yeah, I
don't know. I don't know how you get a hold

(31:48):
of Roald on her phone memory? All right, Well, thank you.
I found her by looking at Shrabel as a friend
of Casey's, and then her sister. Oh, I clicked on
her in the mountain and Jessica strable, but also oh
and then also where she worked. I can give them
a call. I hate to bother you at work. This

(32:18):
is the only number that I had. I had just
spoken to your uncle Steve, and he told me that
I should talk to you, and I was wondering, you know,
if there may be a better time to call you,
if you would be interested in talking with me. Yeah,
that's fine. This is Jessica s Trabel. She was working
as a cashier at the Possum Trot on the morning
that Rebecca went missing. Really the last person to see

(32:42):
her alive. I hardly ever worked on Monday and Men day.
I was working on Monday. You don't remember something till
you know something significant. Happens, and then you're like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
So Harry and Casey came in several several times, you know,
and I remember kevichin, I'll be in a big day,
and so that's what she positive. That's what she called
that day. Do you remember if she bought a bread
of the sandwich? Yeah? Yeah, that was like the kep

(33:04):
chine on the breakfast sandwich, is what you know? Can
you just talks about morn? Sure? Okay. So I was
at work and paused and tried at the quick stop
and she actually came in. I cannot remember what time
it was, and I'm gonna say, like it wasn't busy,
so I'm gonna say probably after people had went to
work eight thirty to ten o'clock that morning and came in.

(33:28):
She was someone that like if I seen her, you know,
we're like, oh, that's you know, Casey's friend or whatever.
So anyway, so then like when she left, I walked
outside behind her, bought a newspaper, picked up the newspaper
and was kind of you know, like when you pick
up something, you stop and you look. And she got
in her car and she left, and I remember looking
at her car and she was going like towards I say, home,

(33:50):
guy rode you know, right out of there. And so
then that's that's really the only thing I knew until
probably Wednesday Thursday, when her mom came in and said,
you know, mama was very friendic, which she gave me.
She had like a big poster and she was like
this like screaming when she came in. She was like,
is anybody seeing her? And so I was like, oh, probably,

(34:11):
you know, she was in here, my name moved in
and that's it. And she just like like kind of
like you know, like starts yelling at me like you've
got to call the police. You've got to call the police.
And I'm like, you know, that would kind of like
scare anybody. So it kind of like freaked me out.
I was like, oh, I mean, I said, I don't
I don't know anything. I said. I just remember I
said she was in here, and she's like, no, you've
got a call. I think maybe I gave her my

(34:34):
number or and then said you know, you can, somebody
can call me if they need to or something like that.
And then like probably two or three days later, then
that's when I was contacted by I think that the
Marky Mark colleens Worth. When I was talking to him,
I didn't even realize, you know, I was like, oh,
she's missing, you know, she's spread away something like that.
At some point he said something during our conversation and

(34:56):
I said, you know, do you do you think she's dead?
And he's like, it looks that way, and I was like,
oh my gosh, you know, like I didn't, you know,
until that point I realize that it was like anything
like that. You know, I just thought though she's missing
or really worried about her, you know, but of course
that the details had came out at that point, you know,
and Inzard County, you don't think anything like that. I mean,

(35:17):
that's like the farthest thing that you would ever think is,
you know, had happened to her after Rebecca left the
Possum Trot, she would have turned right down the road
toward Casey's house. And Guy on, so we do the
same thing. We drive out to Casey's house. Of course
it doesn't show up on a map or on GPS. Yeah,
we'll look at that. Okay, So guy in population eighty six, right,

(35:39):
I mean this is Milla nowhere, Like, oh yeah, this
is way more remote than Mount View. Let's see what's hope.
So that's it. This is where Rebecca stayed the last
weekend of her life. We finally find it. It's a
blue gray double wide trailer in the middle of nowhere,
at the end of a dirt road. Whatever bad thing

(36:02):
happened to Rebecca get started here, she probably crawled into bed,
maybe hoping to catch a few minutes of her favorite
nine AM show, Live with Regis and Kathy, or maybe
to take a quick nap before meeting her sister. This
is the other view about this area that's weird is that,
like you're back in the woods, right there's like literally

(36:24):
so many little like rat trails and weird little rat
runs and backways and you know, male out of here.
We'll be right back. Let's start with the obvious true crime.

(36:51):
Fans know the police usually look hard at the boyfriend,
but Casey was publicly cleared very early in the investigation.
According to the Arkansas State Police, he was at work
all day on Monday and out that night with multiple witnesses.
Since he thought Rebecca had left for school. He stayed
overnight with a group of friends and did not return
to the house. Until the police called him at work

(37:13):
on Tuesday. Casey had an airtight alibi, So who else
could have known that Rebecca would be out here in
the middle of nowhere alone. Another thing that bugs me
about this case is that Monday morning is a weird
time for a murder. I've tried reaching out to the
police before, but I've had very little luck. But now
that we're here doing the podcast, I want to let

(37:35):
law enforcement know that we're here to help and we'll
share any information that we're given. Wait, so who is
the lead investigator on the case. There was Mark and
then Dennis. So Dennis is in charge of the investigation.
Mark is the head of the Arkansas State Police Division,
so he has to give permission for any you know,
official interviews or anything like that. And I talked to
Mark before. Mark was the original detective on the case.

(37:56):
Mark is the one who told me a few years
ago when I've talked first talked to him and ambushed
him in his office like that. He thought that we
were going to have to He thought there were have
to think outside the box, you know, get some outside
help on the case. Benett got assigned to Dennis because
Mark got a promotion right, so he's like in charge
of the whole thing. Rebecca's case involved law enforcement from
several different jurisdictions. The Izard County Sheriff's Department responded to

(38:19):
the initial crime scene, but the sheriff very quickly handed
the case over to the Arkansas State Police. A few
months later, the case was given to Dennis Simons of
the Arkansas State Police. It's been Dennis's case ever since.
His satellite office is a room at the back of
the Stone County Sheriff's Department A few walks past the
town square. I leave James and Taylor in the car

(38:40):
and head in alone. I hope Catherine gets some good
stuff from Dennis Simons and make it on his good
side for sure. Yeah, because if he can help us out,
then we can help him out. I mean, we have
the same goals, so it seems like we would be
advantageous for him to help us out. Yeah. No, because
I think now it's just going to be playing the
waiting game for a while. But I mean, I guess

(39:01):
the longer we wait, the better. Yeah, exactly, because that
means he's talking to her and hasn't say in the
Dorner face. I'm pretty nervous going in to meet Dennis
because I've heard that he's a former military drill sergeant
who does things by the book. Normally, you'd wait to
be called into an officer's office, but since there's no receptionist,
I decide to take a shot. I summon every ounce

(39:25):
of what I hope looks like sweet southern charm, walk
straight in and sit down. Oh the shit is coming
out Uh her face. Oh she's smiling. It looks like
I don't know, it's hard to tell. Let's see what
she says. So that's about twenty minutes. Actually, all right.

(39:45):
So he's clearly very he's got you know, I could
see the case files with recaus picture on him taking
up several shelves up there in his office. He's clearly
very passionate about the case. He really wants to solve it.
But he's also like, look like I've got a couple
years to retirement, Like I want to make it there.
I'd love to prosecute this case before retirement. But you know,
I'm not allowed to talk about this case. So he said,
there's been a lot of heartbreaking the case. There's been

(40:06):
a lot of missed opportunities, there's been, you know, a
lot of He's just said, it's been a lot of twist.
He used the exact phrase. He said, there's been a
lot of twists and turns in this case. That it
made it difficult. He said, what he needs now is
something from the crime scene. One of them is the
murder weapon. He confirmed that, but he said that's already
been out in the media. He said he does not
want to say what the other items are because he's like,

(40:28):
I'll get fired. Did he say anything about Casey? I
asked him about that, and he said he's absolutely certain
that Casey was at work at the time. Oh. He
also said that there have been a lot of people
who have come in and given statements, but he said
they're all like meth heads, druggies, unreliable witnesses, you know.
He said, it's going to be a very hard case
to prosecute based on what those people said. But I

(40:51):
don't look is he right? I don't know? But is
that is that it's very helpful to know that that
is what the cops think. I've heard from multiple sources
throughout the years that one police theory is that drugs

(41:13):
may have been involved in Rebecca's murder, and two names
keep getting mentioned as persons of interest with those theories.
There's Chris, who has a criminal record and has been
in and out of prison on drug charges, and his
friend JB. Taylor. James and I go back to the
murder board, looking at the web of facts we need
to untangle to get to the truth. So what is

(41:35):
like because it sounds like you have like a like
a process that you go through or like a method like,
so what is going to be like your approach to
We look at the pictures of Chris and JB. I
know these guys have been arrested a lot for drugs,
but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'd commit murder. You
have to tell everyone, like in a sense, what they
want to hear. For example, since the police won't share

(41:56):
their evidence with us, we've got a long road ahead
as we try to solve this case. But I also
know that because we're not the police, we have a
shot having someone talk to us that hasn't before, or
finding something new that will break the case wide open.
Someone in this town knows something, and I'm not leaving
until we find out who killed Rebecca. Goal I think

(42:18):
to be really good at this job. You have to
be able to stand back and look at it like
a chess game, otherwise you're not going to be any
good at the job. See, you have to kind of
go okay. Like Rebecca's family, they love her and obviously
that's your priority and you want to help them. But
if you get too emotionally involved and you're not doing
your job properly. Right, think about the torture that Rebecca's

(42:39):
family has gone through all these years, the torture of
like knowing they live in the same town, knowing what
kind of know what happened. Not really. The weird thing
to me is that life went on for all these people,
so you know, but they're still living with it, and
you can like feel it because people still talk about
it in the town all the time. It's a tough case.

(43:01):
I don't know why I think we can do it,
but I kind of think we can. I'm Katherine Townsend
and this is Helen Gone. Helen Gone is a joint

(43:28):
production between How Stuff Works and School of Humans. It
is written and recorded by me Catherine Townsend. Taylor Church
is our producer and story editor. Audio editing and designed
by Jonathan Sleeve. Mix engineer Glenn Mattulo audio Mixing and
Love by Tunewelders. Executive producers Brandon Barr and Else Crowley

(43:49):
for School of Humans and Conell Byrne and Chuck Bryant
for How Stuff Works. Our field producer is James Morrison,
Our researcher is Sandy Klosterman. Them and original score by
Ben Solee available wherever you get your music. To dig
into the investigation, please visit helegoonepodcast dot com or follow

(44:12):
us on social media. School of Humans

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