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November 15, 2018 42 mins

Catherine turns to local radio and social media to spread the word about Rebekah's murder - and the tips start to come in. She also investigates an anonymous letter sent to Rebekah's father, Larry Gould, containing details about her possible killer(s). Catherine has a handwriting analyst, Diane Peterson, put together a profile of the person who wrote it and local journalist AK Barnes shares her theories on the murder. 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. Catherine Townshend, journalist, licensed investigator looking into
the death of Rebecca Google that occurred in September around
September twentieth, nineteen or twentieth, two thousand and four. I'm

(00:28):
on the air with Gary Bridgeman, or as everybody around
here calls him, Gary B. It's been about a month
and we're getting the word out in a small town
that means hitting local radio. Everybody listens to Gary B,
including hopefully someone who knows something anything new about Rebecca's murder.

(00:53):
In September of two thousand and four, twenty two year
old Rebecca Gould was brutally murdered in a remote area
of the Arkansas Ozarks. Fourteen years later, her killer is
still out there. I've come back to Mountain View with
one mission to get justice for Rebecca. I'm Catherine Townsend
and this is Helen Gone. We're one month into our

(01:21):
investigation and we've made a lot of headway. We've talked
to Chris and JB, the guys who we've heard are
the police's main suspects. But the physical evidence doesn't seem
to point to a frenzied meth murder or to a
sexual assault. The blunt forced trauma of the head indicates
that someone killed Rebecca in a rage. The lack of
defensive wound seems to indicate that there wasn't a fight beforehand,

(01:44):
but the decomposition of her body could have hidden them.
The one person we'd like to get in touch with, Jennifer,
has left town for Florida, so we're back to looking
for new potential leads. And that's why I'm sitting here
in front of Gary B. Because if we can get
the town talking, someone will say something that may give
us the break we need. Catherine Township, Hello, Katherine. Hello.

(02:07):
WRD Entertainment operates six radio stations covering everything from top
forty to country and heavy metal, and Gary B plays
on all of them, which means pretty soon everyone in
town will hear this interview looking into the death of
Rebecca Gould. Yes, Gary B has a silky, soothing voice
that's made for radio. It matches his personality. He has

(02:31):
a grandfatherly, caring and completely genuine manner that puts me
instantly at ease. Even though the case we're discussing is
disturbing as hell. I know things can get exasperating when
you're investigating what kind of gets on your nerves about
trying to follow up on a lead or something like that. Well, look,
I think it's important to take a step back and

(02:52):
remember that this is someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's family member,
and if it was your daughter's sister or someone in
your life, you'd want someone to come home. If someone
knew something, you would want them to come forth. I
think that's a good way to look at absolutely absolutely,
so that you know, the reluctance to come forward or
kind of rock the boat has been a little bit difficult.
And then also just the physicality just finding people, you know,

(03:15):
as I said, I mean finding where they are, getting
a hold of them. Also just getting them to understand
that I'm not from here. I'm a journalist, you know,
I'm a female. It's just letting everyone know they can
talk to me, and you know, I am here to help.
She's here to help. She wants to talk to you.
If you know something, or if you'd like to tell
her something. Hopefully someone can come through that one piece

(03:38):
of information that'll help solve it. And sometimes it only
takes one piece that's right, that's right, so and you
never know what that piece of information might be absolutely
When a beautiful and popular local college student was murdered,
it dominated the headlines, but as time passed with no
new leads, the media coverage became scant. Rebecca's father, Larry,

(04:01):
was determined to keep the case alive however he could.
In two thousand and six, he was interviewed for an
article written by George Jared and Ak Barnes that provided
new details on the case. Several days after the story
was published, an anonymous letter arrived at doctor Gould's house.
Her father received a letter. He really thought it was
the real deal. Yes, tell us a little bit about Dan.

(04:23):
I have not seen the letter. I've heard about it.
I know that someone claimed to have heard and in
the college parking lot claimed to have overheard some people
talking about murder. It's hard to say, you know, I'm
hoping to see a copy, but based on what I've
sort of seen and heard, it's really hard to say
whether it's someone who was involved, or possibly maybe someone
who was trying to stir something up, or you know,

(04:45):
it's really hard to say. I can't really say too
much because I haven't seen it. When I first showed
up in town and started asking questions. A lot of
people told me you're not the police, you have no power.
In a way, they are right, But making people talk
to you because you have a badge and making people
want to talk to you two totally different skill sets.

(05:07):
And I have always been good at getting people to
tell me their darkest secrets. The radio station plays my
interview three times in three days, and it doesn't take
long for my Facebook and text messages to start lighting up. Dude,
someone else anonymous text, gotta love it. What does it

(05:30):
say if it's me? The woman who was on the
radio today they replayed it again. Okay, I'm in love
with the guys at Katieboozy Radio. They have been amazing.
They got me on the radio, they made it a priority.
They've replayed it three times now, Like I got to
give them a big shout out. They're awesome. It's big
news around here, and everyone knows people involved in this case,

(05:51):
so it's like everyone's got a personal involvement. They've gone
above and beyond, and they also put it in a
slot that's like drive time when most people would hear it.
And it's working. And I'm continuing to tell them, Hey,
this is working. Because every single week we've gotten hits
on that radio show, because it's right here in the
community and everybody listens to it, and because it takes

(06:12):
an hour to get anywhere in this town. Yeah, everybody
in Melbourne Batesville area, like everyone in the morning is
going somewhere. They're taking their kids to school or going
to work. But the other fact that's been racing through
my brain since the interview is that anonymous letter that
has never been publicly released. It seems like a lead
we need to follow, especially since it mentions a group

(06:35):
of people who supposedly were talking about the murder of Rebecca.
Could this be members of Rebecca's friend group or the
female we've heard rumors about getting into fights with Rebecca.
As I told Gary, I haven't seen the letter, but
George Jarrett has. The letter came right after I had
written a series. Actually i've written some see kind of

(06:59):
the chronology was, you know, for the first little bit,
maybe a year after she died, there was lots of
media attention, even when I was in the backtor Bolton,
I wrote about it, but then it just kind of
went away, and then I was writing my book about
the West Memphis three case, and I didn't know if
I'd ever write more than one book, you know. And
so the first editor, you know, who edited it, I

(07:22):
was like, I included the Ford and he's like, this
is a really good story, but it doesn't really belong
with this this case that you're writing about. And I
told him I don't care. I said, if I'm only
going to write one book, I'm going to get this
out one way or the other, because somebody, besides people
who live in these three or four little counties in
the middle of nowhere Arkansas, are going to find out

(07:42):
about this case. And so I wrote the book and
universally the comments I would get people would always ask
me about that case. And then of course that led
to me reconnecting with her dad, you know. And actually
it happened right here in Hardy. I was at the

(08:03):
library here, Jess mac come on do a book signing
one Saturday. I was like, yeah, I'll come over there.
I mean, I enjoyed doing them, you know, meet people.
And this gentleman came up, you know. I pitched the
book and at the very end I always pitched her story.
And then I asked him, I said, did you want
to buy one? He said yes, and I said okay,
and he goes, well, I want to buy ten of them.

(08:24):
I was like ten. Whatever I said to him, I
need to say to everybody, you know. And as I
folded over the first page, he took out a little
ribbon with her face on it and he put it
on the book and I had I hadn't seen him.
I didn't recognize him. He was he had kind of

(08:45):
had like a scruffy beard before. He's wearing a hat,
you know, looking for his daughter. I mean, you understand,
And I said, I know exactly who you are, and
I got up. I shook his hand. Of course, we
started hugging and started crying, but we reconnected and then
we started really hitting hard. Doctor Glider received the letter.
I believe he got it in a office. It was

(09:06):
an anonymous letter. It had too it was either going
to go to him or the return address was the
FBI office in Little Rock. And in the letter, the
person who wrote it claimed that they overheard a conversation
at I believe it's ozarka college in Melbourne, between a
couple of people, a female male, two or four people
talking and you know, somebody said in quotes, we did

(09:28):
that bitch, you know, and they were talking about Rebecca
was pretty obvious. And then in the letter they gave,
you know, some descriptions of what the people look like,
and I didn't. I wrote about it, but I didn't
include it in my latest book, and I didn't include
it in the news stories. You know, the police are investigating,
and you know that didn't want to tie it together,

(09:49):
so I didn't want to impede their investigation in any way.
It's important in investigations to not release every piece of
information because you have to be able to compare and
verify a new source. But I did want to make
sure people knew that this letter was out there. And
I read it, and I understand that the police think
that it's it's a it's a false lead, But I
read it. There was some sincerity in it. It looked

(10:12):
like it had been written again. It looked like a
woman had written it. It was uh, the grammar was good,
you know, which you know, being a writer, you know,
you just you see certain words put put together a
certain way, and you and you can kind of tell
the identity of the person writing it if you if
you write every day, But it could be totally bogus.
That's possible. It could be totally real. You know. I

(10:34):
actually set him in the book. I said, if you
wrote this, please identify yourself and come to the police
and make a statement. I think that what happened was
is this person who wrote the letter, if it's real,
probably read a story somewhere that got out. I worked
really closely with A. K. Barnes, the reporter over at
Erowide Media. She's a really good friend of mine, really

(10:55):
great human being by the way, and you know, we
did stories together and we just hit it hard and
then it just kind of died down again and at
some point something it's just going to take one little crack.
As it was so frustrating. I remember reading because I've meant,
like a long time, I've done articles about it and stuff.

(11:15):
And then and then when in twenty sixteen, whenever this
your series of stories came out followed by the letter.
When I read about the letter, I was like, thank God, like,
maybe something will happen now, even if it's not real,
maybe it'll get someone to talk, you know. But then yeah,
and now nothing, and so now that no, we're here. Yeah,
we're back, I mean literally, we're back. To where we
were the day that they found our body. I mean,

(11:36):
that's where we're at right now. It's becoming clearer and
clearer to me that we need to find out who
wrote this synonymous letter, and to do that, we need
to see it for ourselves and mine it for any
new clues. So we go back to Larry. I'm hopeful
that now that we've gained his trust, he'll share it
with us. Over the years, I would get things. I'd

(11:57):
get phone calls here at my office. I would get
some notes that were taken by my secretary on somebody
that called about Rebecca's case, and then they'd scribbles some things.
In some cases there would be a phone number and
I could follow up. And in some cases I got
written materials. So I'd get letters, or i'd get things
sent to me. I can recall just offhand that I

(12:19):
did receive a phone call, and I believe I talked
to this girl and she was frightened. She wanted to
get some information to me, and bits and pieces of
that did get passed to me. Larry has several overflowing
manila folders filled with notes from years of collecting tips.

(12:40):
They are neatly laid out on the dining room table,
next to his own murder board, and I see pictures
of Rebecca with Justin Casey Chris, so much red string
linking the various parties, And in one of those Manila
folders we find the letter. Like George mentioned, it looks
like it was written by a female. We won't read

(13:00):
the entire letter in order to protect parts of the
police investigation, but we can share parts that have already
been made public. The writer claimed to have overheard a
conversation at ozarka college in Melbourne between at least four
people who were bragging about Rebecca's murder. The author said
two women and a man approached another man with dirty
blonde hair who was a student at the college. As

(13:23):
they walked toward the parking lot. The writer said they
overheard the mail student asking the other three did you
get it. The three people told him that they killed
her and dragged her through several rooms at the house.
The alleged mail killer said blood was everywhere, and she
put up a fight and screamed a lot. The letter
contained specific descriptions of all of the people involved in

(13:45):
the conversation. The letter writer apologized for not coming forward
sooner and said they could identify those people. But because
nobody has identified the writer, whatever knowledge they have remains
a secret. If you just took that letter and spent
some time on it, you'd probably be able to find
the person that wrote it. And the person that wrote

(14:06):
it definitely could have been able to and they even
said that they could identify the people that just look
at old pictures and probably put the faces to the
description that was on there. I love to see somehow
just get out to whoever wrote that one letter, if

(14:26):
they could hear about it, and I mean possibly come forward.
So what we've been doing is the Kat story got
shared a lot, and it's all being shared people in
that community, and then all these people are friending me.
So it is becoming more hard to escape, I guess,

(14:46):
you know, so I think so my point is, I mean,
if there is someone who's a student, A lot of
them were students at Ozarka too, So if there's if
there are people who in that friend group a friend
a friend, they're probably going to see it on Facebook.
I mean, it's well, I think there's probably quite a
few people that if they had access to that letter
and that the description that that whoever wrote the letter provided,

(15:07):
which was really well done. Yeah, that many people could
probably say, oh, I know who this would have been. Yeah,
and to come up with those individuals or maybe one
or two that fit that description that would narrow it down.
At one time, it's going to try to get into
the people at Ozarka that were higher ups and try

(15:30):
to get access to records. But then you're into areas
where you're going to probably need some kind of permission
or well, I'm sure I have a yearbook or a
list of students. Yeah. Well, in the past, when certain
things have been done to try to draw people out,
a number of the people that I guess I would

(15:53):
call suspicious or possibly suspects in my mind. Whether they
are in law ENFORCEMNE, I don't know, but they would
befriend the person that was out there. Yes, that's another complication.
A lot of people will friend you for good reasons
and some people will friend you to watch you. But
either way it's good because then you can watch it's

(16:14):
two ways, so you can see what they're doing too,
and you can see who their friends are. So yeah,
I think that's good. I'm friending. I'm accepting all the
friend requests right now. I can really feel the frustration
in Larry's voice, and I can't say I blame him.
Every time he gets a tip he is forced to
go on an emotional roller coaster and reopen old wounds.

(16:36):
I've heard from both George and Larry that the police
think the letter is a red herring, but I can
tell neither of them wholeheartedly believe that, and I'm not
sure I do either. We'll be right back. It's the
next day, and we tracked down Ak Barnes, who wrote

(16:59):
the story that led to Larry getting a letter. I know,
I'm not now. She works as a media teacher at
the local high school. We meet in the hallway of
the church she attends, and her son heads off to
play in another room while we talk about Rebecca's murder.
Oh yeah, can you give me twenty minutes? Definitely? You

(17:25):
always gotten closer than me. Ak is excited to talk
to us. She believes in the power of media attention
and thinks that this is the best way to bring
Rebecca's killer to justice. Okay, so I started doing a
cold case series at the paper. I've always been interested
in in unsolved murders. I guess it's been watching Insolved

(17:46):
mysteries growing up, perhaps, and so I was just asking
around and I had done one on Sabrina Underwood in
Fulton County. And then there's another lady who was actually
Connie Townsend from I think israc County, Fulton County maybe
was burn alive and her trailer. And then one of
my coworkers had brought up George author George Jared, and

(18:10):
brought that he had worked this Rebecca Gooul case, and
they told me I should check it out, and so
that all they knew was that the dad was a
doctor in Mountain Home. So I just looked up Golden Out,
Baxter County, Mountain Home, and I found him and left
him a boy smiling, I kid you not like I
think that was in the fall, and he did not,
And I just wrote it off because I thought I'd

(18:32):
never hear from again. And then Easter Sunday, the weirdest
days ever for him to respond. He sent me this
long text from Bora Bora about how he wants to
work with me in this case and let me just
hit the ground running, Bora Bora. I remind myself to
ask Larry about that the next time we talk just

(18:52):
the way that he has overcome so much, and how
he's able to function. I don't know that I could
function if I lost a child, let alone a child
that was brutally murdered, and nobody will help me solve it.
I don't know how he functioned. And you got this
awesome story and then someone and then you know, then
someone did write a letter. Do you know what I mean?

(19:13):
Like he asked them to write a letter, and then
someone wrote a letter, and we feel like we made
such progress, Like that's the most progress we think we've made,
just because all of us just finally got together and said, Okay,
you know what, let's do this, let's solve this, and
we got so far, and we were so hopeful when
we got that letter. You can sense how hopeful she,

(19:33):
George and Larry were when they got the letter. I
still think someone it was a genuine letter. I don't know.
George goes back and forth, but I think for the
most part, we're pretty sure that was a genuine letter. Well,
if I mean, if the letter is genuine, so who
what do you think? I mean, do you have any
theories about who killed Rebecca? What's your thoughts now? I

(19:53):
think we all have our theories, and I think we
all kind of speculate who did it, and I think
the p I don't know. I do have my theories,
don't I want to like say names, but I think
I know who did it. AK like a lot of
the town seems to think that there were multiple people
involved in Rebecca's murder. She also seems sure that the

(20:16):
letter is genuine, but I'm not convinced. It's just so
hard because it's you just can't pinpoint one person because
I think there were so many people involved in this.
Especially in that letter really supports our theory that we
already had. That's why it was so bizarre, because it
was like totally backing the theory we already had. Obviously,

(20:41):
the person is still anonymous. Do you have any theory
about who wrote it or where they are? No? And
we wish that they would come forward because it's not
like we're gonna blast them to the press or blast
them in the paper, like we just we just want
to talk. I have so many people that it will
tell me little hints or tell me something, and then
I'm like, can you just meet with me and Larry
and George for just a minute, and we don't even

(21:02):
want to publish anything, and they're scared they won't do it. People,
it's very hard, and you know, to get people to
talk about this, and we just wish whoever wrote this
would come forward. If anyone understands how hard getting people
to talk about this case is, it's me. In many cases,
we've had to just show up because if we call
and ask, it's so much harder for people, or either

(21:24):
we show up or we'll have to be introduced through
a friend of theirs, because it's so hard when you
call someone and just say you're from the press and
you want to talk. It's like it's really hard, and
people are scared. There's some scary people involved in this case,
so especially since you don't know who it is, you
don't really know who to trust and who not to
trust because it could literally be anyone. And I'm sure

(21:45):
we've seen them at this point and absolutely, and you
know they're following your stuff, they're reading your stories, and
they get spoofed out and then it's like a nope,
contact order. They all just zip it. And I think
we put some pressure on people, and I think people
were starting to get scared because I would go through
Sonic and people would make little comments be like you

(22:05):
better be careful writing this article. I think the people
who have done this are around or have ties here still,
and they are still on their toes. I think they
think it's died down, but it hasn't because now you
guys are gonna bring it back up. Yeah, so now
you're trying to fit some pressure on this story is

(22:25):
like still my baby at the favor. So actually I
could do an article on y'all. We totally you done
to do it. We did some new stuff. We did
a radio thing, I think because I feel like you
guys made so much progress in breaking this and like
and it's kind of everyone working together at this point
because the more pressure we can put on these people, like,
the better chance we're gonna have. I mean, I've had

(22:45):
people who will give us enough information to kind of
help us along. But I think a lot of people
just want to be protected, and I think they don't
want their name out there. I think they've tried to
move on, which if somebody knows what happened, I don't care.
If you are trying to move on, I don't care
if you have recreated yourself this is your moral duty

(23:06):
to come forward. But I mean at the same time
I do. I stand by my word and I protect
people when they want anonymity. There's a lot of people
who know who did it, and that's what's just so
crazy to me. I don't understand why this case can't
get solved. I do not understand they spent twelve hours

(23:27):
inside that trailer well, and in talking to these guys,
it seems like we've heard a lot of stories. There
are stories that make sense right, they fit together, and
I don't understand they weren't able to piece this together
when they have these people voluntarily talking to them. That's
what I can't get. There's just so many also, that's
been a big part of the challenge too, It's figuring
out what's rumor and what's not. I think this little
circle that did this, they have like this death pack

(23:52):
and I've never seen anything like it. It's like the
the bro Code or something. Nobody's breaking through this because
they will not talk. Either they don't really know or
they are just taking it to their grave. And I
don't know. I'm just not built like that. I couldn't
live with myself. This isn't the first time, I've heard

(24:13):
rumors of an inner circle involved in Rebecca's death, a
secret party, and a death pact. And if this group
of killers does in fact exist, we're on their radar now.
They're on my Facebook, they have my cell phone number,
and they definitely know where I live. I know that
I might be in danger, but I don't care. Am

(24:36):
I crazy or just obsessed? It's probably a little bit
of both. Do you get freaked out? Because when I
was knee deep in these articles, like my imagination told
me once, I was doing this on the Sabrina Underwood
and I know who killed her in my mind, and
I'm like, he's watching you right this through your window.
He's gonna come kill you tonight. In my mind, I'm like,

(24:57):
he's the murderer. Is onto me because I was putting
all these articles out. You're looking at me like I'm crazy,
Like you think they're following you or something they thought,
And you know what, it's not entirely true. They all
know where you live. I mean it's a small place.
But what George saw me, he goes AKA, They're not
gonna take you out, because if you're right in the
middle of this case, they're done for and you're about

(25:20):
to set you back in with you It's okay, I'm sorry.
We can all talk it out together. Yeah, if I
can tell, like when you get into this one, I
don't know what it is about this case. Ak is right,
This case sucks you in. It's haunting that everyone thinks
they know what happened, but they've reconciled themselves to just
living near the killer. If we can find out who

(25:42):
wrote this letter, we can get some insights about the
leads it contains. We don't have many clues to go on.
It's postmarked Little Rock. The return address was the FBI
office in Little Rock, which seems like a pretty sophisticated move.
As George pointed out, the letter had good grammar. It
seems like the biggest clue as to the writer's identity

(26:03):
is the handwriting itself. Reach out to a handwriting analyst,
let me get your case. Okay. That's Nam Peterson. She
specializes in graphology, which is identifying personality, traits, and other
characteristics of a letter writer's personality through the strokes and
patterns revealed by their handwriting. She looks over the letter

(26:25):
to see if she can provide any details about who
wrote it. I'm looking at where something you know, initial strokes,
terminal strokes, placement on the page of word combinations, letter combinations,
how they connect, spacing zone differences. You know, like this

(26:48):
person they have a large mid zone. And what that
means is like on the line paper, the lower case
letters almost fill up. They're almost as large as the
entire line, you know, between each line, there's not a

(27:10):
lot of space between. I mean, it is true that
when you're young, you have immaturity showing up in your handwriting.
As you get older, you have graphic maturity, and then
you decline. So with that being said, I see graphic
maturity with this letter, with you know, this writing. But

(27:34):
as to say age line, I just it's an adult
as far as personality traits. To me, this is a
person that is more immature than mature. They live in
the moment. And that's because that mid zone is it

(27:55):
is bubbly. Like you look at a teenager's handwriting, they're
usually big and bubbly. And because they don't care about
a year from now, they're looking at now Friday night.
And so people that have this big, bubbly writing usually
have money problems because they're never looking into the future
because they're never planning for it. There's also the lower

(28:19):
stem of the Y. See ow they're just straight, there's
not a loop that goes back. That's usually a person
that is very socially. They like to be by themselves.
They don't really prefer a lot of company. They would
prefer to be They're probably more introverted and large loops

(28:42):
like in the D and the O. Like the OS
are people are willing to take on more responsibility. So
you know, I didn't see any efforts that the person
did to disguise their writing. An adult but with the
slightly immature personality more reminiscent of a team. Sounds like
the letter writer could have been a student and money

(29:03):
troubles in this part of the Ozarks that's nearly everybody.
The handwriting tells us the writer wasn't trying to disguise
their writing, which lends credence to the idea that the
letter is genuine. But there are a few things about
the letter that don't ring true. First of all, there's
the timing. The letter was postmarked only a few days

(29:25):
after the story came out, asking for help. This is
really suspicious. July twenty first. That was the first article
that came out, the one we just read where it said,
you know, hey, please write me a letter at my office. Okay, Now,
then a story comes out on August third saying they
got a letter, right, I mean that's and I don't

(29:50):
know what their deadline is either. It might even be
like some of these papers are weekly. So you got
to wonder if the story came out on August third,
like when their deadline was. I mean that's literally like
a couple days later they got a letter, you know,
and the post office around here in exactly quick. So
the two to three days it would take to get
the letter, plus like the I don't know, it could

(30:12):
be totally legit. Someone could have read that and been moved.
But also what was the letter? July twenty first was
the first and this is the story about the letter
comes out on August the third. I wonder what day
it actually. Let's find out, you know what, right while
we're sitting here, let's find out when their deadlines are,
so area wide media is published. It was a Thursday,

(30:35):
all right. The story came out on August third, which
was which was about two weeks later. In the story
it says on Friday, which I guess will be the
twenty ninth. George Jared, like Mark Hollingsworth, confirmed with George
Jared that there was interest in the letter, so it

(30:56):
had to be before. It had to be sometime that week,
sometime between the twenty first and the following Friday at least,
which is a pretty short period of time, literally right
after the story came out that they sent it a
day or two after. Secondly, the identification. The letter writer

(31:16):
says that they recognized one of the people talking as
a student at OZARKA. Now, if the author was organized
enough to get this much detail and smart enough to
figure out how to address a letter to the Arkansas FBI,
it seems to me that on such a small campus
they could have figured out that supposedly unknown student's name.

(31:37):
It was said in the letter they were bragging about
how they killed her and what she put up a fight,
So she put up a fight, then that people would
have marks on their faces on somewhere. Finally, and most crucially,
the letter doesn't match the physical evidence found at the
crime scene. The letter mentioned a knock down, drag out fight, which,

(31:59):
from the limited knowledge we have so far, of the
case does not seem to have occurred, so references to
getting the stuff don't ring true. A small amount of
marijuana and some money were left behind. Most importantly, we
know from Danielle and Rebecca's friends that she was a
spitfire who never backed down from a conflict. Now, I've

(32:21):
replayed the morning of September twentieth, two thousand and four
thousands of times in my mind, and in every scenario,
no matter how afraid she may have been, if she
saw people coming for her, Rebecca Gould would have gone
down fighting. Trying to figure out what's real and what's
not real is like a whole nother layer. It's really hard.

(32:42):
It is really hard. Yeah, there's a lot that's hard
about this. I mean one of the things that I
was thinking about last night is the fact that you know,
and I'm not a lawyer, but it's been very difficult
because you're not allowed to say. There's never been a
suspect named by the police. The police are giving out
no information. They won't even really tell you who the
people of interest are. I think they said a little
bit about it at the time they named They said

(33:02):
Casey was a person of interest at one point, but
then it was very quickly reported that he was not
a suspect, and then after that no official suspects were named.
So it's difficult to even talk about the case because
you don't want to get in trouble legally. And it
really creates this just wall of silence. You can't talk.
Everyone's whispering the names, everyone's texting me these names. You

(33:26):
can't say they're a suspect, you can't say they're a
person of interest. And it not only is bad for
the investigation, it's also bad for these people because they
never get charged, but they never get cleared either. And
I feel like the investigation feels like it's at a
real impasse. I feel like, you know, for whatever reason,
the police have a very definite idea about who it is.
Other people have a different idea. It just feels like

(33:49):
it's at a place where it really might not get
solved unless some radical new approach comes in. We've learned
from the autopsy that there were no obvious defensive wounds
on the body and no signs that she had been restrained.
So who wrote this letter and why were they trying
to help or to throw off the police? Could it
have been written in an attempt to get media attention

(34:10):
to support one of the other theories surrounding Rebecca's death,
Or could it have been the killer stoking the town's
rumor mill to continue to hide in plain sight. We'll
be right back. Even after being on the case for

(34:32):
a short period of time, I do sympathize with the
police because just a week after being on the air,
we're weeding through hundreds of texts, tips and false rumors.
This is the one, the guy I talked to. I've
recently heard some information you may be interested in Rebecca's
Gould's boyfriend was my best friend since grade school. So
this is the guy who was friends with Casey and

(34:54):
called and said he again, I think he mentioned Chris
and JB. And he said he knew someone at work
who'd known them. Literally was one line, and it said
it said look for a foot in a freezer in
Israd County. That's all it said. It said, if you're
looking into the Rebecca Gould case, look into a foot

(35:16):
that's in a freezer in Israd County. And we pretty
quickly discounted that because of course we'd seen the autopsy
report and she was not missing. A foot. Yeah. There
was also one of the things that Brian Bangs said,
Brian kind of became my guy on the inside, and
he kind of started interviewing people inside prison and was

(35:39):
like asking people, Hey, have you heard about this murder?
What do you know? And everybody seemed to have their
own story, and Brian did mention, this is jail house gossip,
and it clearly sounds like jail heu's gossip, because there
was one that was like, yeah, somebody threatened to beat
this guy up if he didn't keep his mouth shut

(35:59):
because he found a toe and it was Rebecca's toe
and again had all her toes. People told Brian that
she had been held at a different location and like chained,
chained up and held hostage on a mattress and all that. Anna,
I really think that came from the very beginning of

(36:21):
the investigation, because look, an expert looking from the outside
reading an autopsy report, it's very obvious that whoever he
hit Rebecca on the head and from the blood they
found the scene, she was dead pretty quickly. She wasn't
taken to a secondary location. None of the autopsy bears
that out. But police said at the time that the

(36:41):
mechanism of injury was created from the scene she had
been forcibly removed from the residents. Of course, it wasn't
her that was forcibly removed. It was her body that
was forcibly removed. But with them saying that, I think
people got ideas in their head that she might have
been kidnapped. Tips are one of the things that make
investigations so challenging. Some can contain a grain of truth

(37:01):
while others are red herrings. But like I told Gary b,
no piece of information is too small. Oh all right,
just heard you on KWOZ with Gary and I just
wanted to let you know that on that Saturday, on
the weekend, Rebecca was killed. And not sure what time
it was, but it was in the afternoon. There was
a little dark blue car with a guy and a

(37:22):
woman that came by and went up to the barn,
right past the trailer. The guy got out, and I
thought he was going to use the bathroom, but he
went to the back of the car, put on like
jogging pants and got a weedied her out and weeded
it a little bit. Rebecca came out on the porch
when they drove back by and stopped and she went
to the end of the porch and said did you
get it done? And he said yes, and they drove off.
They had Texas tags on the car. Then a little

(37:44):
while later, Rebecca came out to her car, opened the
door and got something out and went back inside the trailer.
She was wearing a gray tank top and a pair
of gray sweatpants. We did tell the Arkansas State Police,
and not sure it has anything to do with anything.
It was just really strange because he only weedied for
maybe about fifteen minutes or so, not long at all,
and it was where the old barn is. Just thought
it was strange. Never seen the guy before. He yet
black hair and was young looking, couldn't really see the woman.

(38:06):
So is this person lying? Is this the is this
the killer? Or like what is trying to deter us?
Like what is this? You know, it sounds the tip
itself if you don't think about that part sounds kind
of credible because it's why would you say, I mean,
if you were trying to make something up, you'd say,
you know, you got out of the back of the car,
got a knife or whatever, but or you'd say you
recognize somebody. But to say someone got out of the car,

(38:29):
put on jogging pants and started weed eating. Seems like
something random to make up. I did look into the
Texas connection, and there are a couple cars with Texas
plates owned by different members of Casey's family because some
of them live there. So that's not necessarily weird. I
mean it might be, you know, I get that it's Melbourne, Arkansas,
and there's not that many out of state plates, but
in his particular case, it doesn't seem that strange. And

(38:52):
they said not sure I could pick him out. But
his hair was short, black, and he was tan skin,
not black or his span. It just looked tan. The
lady was white, and she never got out. We had
never seen that vehicle, and I just thought it was weird.
And they had Texas tags. When Rebecca came out and
asked if he finished whatever I think she means. When
Rebecca came out of the house and asked if it
was done, she acted like she knew him and seemed fine.

(39:16):
You know what's weird about that, though, Taylor, do you
remember the letter? So in the letter, remember how whoever
wrote the letters said it was made a point of
several times saying tan skin, which I thought was odd.
A lot of people seemed absolutely sure it was Jennifer
and possibly Justin. Probably just as many seemed absolutely sure
it was Chris and JV. To sift through these tips

(39:38):
and figure out our next steps, Taylor and I take
another look at the murder board. There's an odd similarity
between the person who wrote the letter and this tip.
Could this tip be from the author of the letter,
or is there a new person we need to be
looking for with black hair and tan skin. As I said,
the flood of tips is both extremely helpful and extremely frustrating.

(40:01):
At this point, I think the letter is most likely bogus.
The timing is it's just too convenient, and the description
doesn't match what we know about the crime scene. I
still want to talk to Jennifer, but the group theory
is looking less and less likely, and according to Justin
and the police, she had an alibi the day of
the murder. According to what we've heard from several police sources,

(40:25):
whoever killed Rebecca most likely knew her, someone she knew
well enough to be comfortable hanging around in her underwear
and pajama top. That's not likely in a group setting.
It seems like it would be someone she trusted someone
who was able to get close enough to her so
that she never saw the first blow coming, someone who
knew about the loose piano leg. We look over the

(40:48):
murder board. The names on post its Rebecca, Chris, jb Justin, Jennifer,
and Casey. I look at Casey's photo on the wall.
He's the only person who has been officially ruled out
as a suspect by the police. But at this point

(41:10):
I can't eliminate anyone. We need to find Casey and
figure out if his alibi for September twentieth, two thousand
and four is really as errortight as the police say
it is. I'm Catherine Townsend and this is Helen Gone.

(41:50):
Helen Gone is a joint production between How Stuff Works
in 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 and Glenn Mattulo.
Audio mixing and love by Tunewelders. Executive producers Brandon Barr

(42:12):
and Else Crowley for School of Humans and Connell Byrne
and Chuck Bryant for How Stuff Works. Our field producer
is James Morrison. Our researcher is Sandy Klosterman. Themon original
score by Ben Solee available wherever you get your music.
To dig into the investigation, please visit helengonepodcast dot com

(42:35):
or follow us on social media. School of Humans

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