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November 7, 2018 42 mins

Catherine starts to check suspects off her list and turns her focus to a mysterious woman who may have been involved, as well as a possible motive, She speaks with Rebekah's mother, Shirley, Jame Gorniak, a forensic entomologist, and a convicted double-murderer, Brian Bangs, 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. Yeah, so I had a conversation with
dad last night and he is leaving. He and my
stepmom are leaving on this four day hunting trip, and
so he took me aside and told me, he said,
here's the thirty eight. He's got a loaded thirty eight

(00:31):
and another gun, and then he's got He's like in
Dirty Harry lives here. He's got his dirty Hairy gun.
There's three fully loaded weapons sitting there. And I had
a plan if anyone came to the house and came
up the stairs. They know where we live too, So yeah,
we just decided to stay together. We have a full

(00:51):
bar here and also some guns that are loaded, so
that was important. It's been about a week since our
conversation with Chris. My dad and stepmom have left for
a hunting trip and left us with my dad's guns
in case anyone comes by the house. On top of that,
James has had to leave town for another assignment. So
for now, it's just Taylor and me and out there somewhere.

(01:15):
Rebecca's killer. 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

(01:39):
Catherine Townsend and this is Helen Gone. After he retired,
my dad built a big country home that's a replica
of one of Thomas Jefferson's houses. The French colonial White

(02:01):
Column Plantation House sits on top of a mountain, overlooking
Mountain View. Architecturally it's beautiful, but because it overlooks the town,
everyone knows where we live. It's quiet here at night,
dead quiet, except for the sound of an old ticking
grandfather clock. After we locked the gate, we hunkered down

(02:24):
in my war room upstairs to take another look at
the murder board. In this whole region, I mean, we
saw my storm. There's a huge drug problem, and I
get why there's this big focus on drugs, but in
this case, and again, you know, everything has to be
taken case by case. In this case, it really wasn't
a factor, or doesn't seem to have been. I think

(02:46):
that they genuinely thought that Chris might have had something
to do with it, and also perhaps the thought was, well,
he's a bad guy. He deals drugs, he's on drugs.
It was just really easy to sort of slot him
into that and say, maybe he did it, And we
really don't even know why he got accused of it. Well,

(03:06):
I still don't understand why. I mean, and granted the
police aren't sharing evidence, so there could be evidence we
don't know about, but I mean, I really have no
idea why he was named as a suspect other than
I mean, I'm in my head. I'm always thinking like,
how could it have happened? The only thing that I
have found or that I can recall that would really

(03:26):
put him there is when Rebecca called Jesse saying that
she needed a new alternator, but he couldn't provide that,
so she called Chris. So if she did call Chris,
and if Chris was in her recent contact, that is
literally the only reason that I can think of that
made the cops even go towards him, right, And but
that's still not I still don't understand where they went

(03:47):
from there too. He did it because he has a
bad rep Yeah, I think so, unless there's some major
piece that we're missing, I think so, because if there's
no DNA evidence that implicates him. And again That's another thing.
Without going off on a tangent again, that really troubles
me about this case is that there is a ton
There was a ton of evidence in the house and

(04:08):
a lot of blood. So why was there no usable forensics?
Why was there no usable DNA evidence? You know, if
Chris did this, why is there no DNA? Is it
because it was messed up or because it wasn't there.
We've explored the police theory that Chris killed Rebecca in

(04:30):
a drug fueled rage and that his friend JB helped
him clean up. We've concluded that this doesn't make sense.
It seems like Chris and JB were in the frame
because a they were both involved in drugs and b
they had both talked to Rebecca recently. And since we
saw the autopsy report, it looks more and more like
Rebecca's murder was unplanned and a crime of passion, but

(04:53):
not a drug fueled rage. I don't buy the theory
that there is no DNA from Chris because he got lucky.
Chris's DNA is not there because Chris was never there.
But if they he didn't kill Rebecca, who did? Now
we need to go back to another rumor we've heard
about the murder that a female or a group of
people including a female, killed Rebecca, and that group's centers

(05:17):
around Jennifer. Jennifer is the common thread of everyone in
the group, and at the time of Rebecca's murder, Jennifer
was dating Rebecca's ex boyfriend, Justin and she was pregnant
with his child at the time. Jennifer was also good
friends with Cindy, who was dating Chris. She knew JB
too because he lived in her rental house, and also

(05:39):
Jennifer knew Casey from working at Sonic. Several witnesses have
told us that Jennifer got into an argument with Rebecca
over Justin on at least one occasion. We've heard sometimes
the fights turned physical, and Rebecca was not the kind
of girl to back down from a fight. Several members
of Rebecca's family have mentioned feeling like Jennifer may have
been involved in some way. The police say that Jennifer

(06:02):
had an alibi for the day of the murder. They
claimed she was shopping and say there are credit card
receipts to back this up. But again, since they aren't
sharing any information with us, we can't rule her out
until we verify the information ourselves. Oh hey, it's it's
Catherine Townsend. Oh, I forgot sure. This is Shirley, Rebecca's mother.

(06:30):
The last time she talked to her daughter was on Sunday,
the day before Rebecca was murdered. Rebecca was in Harp's
grocery store with Casey, and as she chatted with her mother,
she told her that she was running out of minutes
and would call her back. It's a call that Shirley
never received. Were you reading a mont how Raymond's side there?

(06:50):
And I'm looking for Rebecca all day long duringut the day,
and we were stopping traffic on the road in front
of that where that trailer was and asking people if
they had seen Rebecca own the car, and people comment
and it's a small place. Yeah, there was a car
load of people that were stopped with her and we

(07:14):
were trying to find out who it was. And I
can't remember, but it was unifor in now, but it
was a car load of them. But I'm okay, it's
dangerous trying to get it from her. I've heard you know,
she may be responsible for the deaths of her parents,
maybe other people. Certainly, even if she didn't do any
of that. She's still a tough girl, you know. I
mean that's putting it really lightly. So you were there

(07:38):
that week you're looking for Rebecca, When did you When
did Jennifer's name first come up for you? Oh? Right up,
right away, right away? Because that was the car load
of people. This is the first I've heard of a
car load of people confronting Rebecca. We need to look
into this. As we keep talking, Shirley tells me a
story about some earrings she gave Rebecca. You could call it.

(08:00):
Google it on the internet, where they'd make them in Mexico,
your gold hearing. And then this guy that I knew,
he went to Mexico and he brought them back and
he gave them to me because he liked me. But
Rebecca asked me to borrow up hearing aid here and
it's the Lord's prayer. I think you have to have

(08:22):
a magnifying glass to see. But there's their goals and
the Lord's prayers written up. If you ever ran Jennifer,
look at her ears because I figured, you know, to gott.
I haven't seen or heard about any earrings in Rebecca's
belongings or that she was wearing any at the time
of her death. So was Shirley mistaken or could the

(08:43):
killer of taking the earrings as a souvenir. I know
who did it, I just want to foot behind bars.
Over the years, Rebecca's father, Larry, has gotten hundreds of
tips and conducted an exhaustive investigation, and one day he

(09:04):
got a letter from unlikely source. Brian Bangs. Brian is
Jennifer's x husband. He's also a convicted double murderer. He
killed Jennifer's parents. Brian was found guilty of two counts
of capital murder in the deaths of his mother in
law and father in law. He was also convicted of rape,

(09:25):
class B felony, kidnapping, and first degree felony battery of
his wife. Jennifer. Well, I didn't know the story behind Brian.
I had to research the story, and I know that
the first time he reached out to me, I think
he I believe he told me bits and pieces of it.
He was given two life sentences plus eighty five years.

(09:49):
He's currently serving as sentence in the Cummins Unit of
the Arkansas Department of Corrections with no possibility of parole.
Brian has maintained his innocence over the years, but at trial,
the prosecutors presented a compelling case. They that Brian went
to Jennifer's parents' house and hid in the bathroom shower.
He waited until the family went to sleep at around

(10:12):
ten thirty pm, then crept through the house to the
bedroom and shot them in their bed. After shooting Jennifer's parents,
Jennifer testified that Brian yanked her up out of the bed,
hit her in the head with a gun, and dragged
her through the hallway by her foot, leaving bloodstains on
the carpet. He tied her up and eventually drove her

(10:35):
into the woods where he attacked her. As I got
talking to other people that were familiar with what had
taken place, I realized that some of the same players
were involved with Debs. In his letters to Larry, Brian
wrote that he believes Jennifer is a sociopathic killer who
was involved in Rebecca's death and in the death of

(10:55):
her parents. In one of his appeals, Brian claimed that
Jennifer's mother was sitting up in the bed when he
shot her, and then he merely clicked and began shooting. However,
the medical examiner testified that both of Jennifer's parents' injuries
were consistent with their lying asleep in bed when they
were shot. I think part of Brian's motive in wanting

(11:17):
to assist us with Rebecca's case is the fact that
he thinks helping find her killer might help him. And
obviously we have to take anything he says with a
massive grain of salt. But if him believing that his
case will turn into the next West Memphis three will
get him to talk about Rebecca, I'm all for doing
an interview. I gave Brian a little bit of the

(11:38):
benefit of the doubt to start with, and I felt
like maybe exploring it. So I had an individual go
down there and talk to him and determine what the
actual story was, and also to give me an opinion
of the veracity of what his statements were. And the
feeling was that he was being truthful. And then I

(12:00):
finally decided much later to try to go to see him.
And then you have to get all kinds of approof
and they ended up, according to him, they denied us
right to get together. Now I'm trying to get permission
to see him right now, and it'd be interesting to
see you know what he says now about all that
and if it's changed, And they, of course they said
we filled our forms out wrong. So now we're kind

(12:21):
of maybe going through a version of what you went through.
We'll see. I've been trying to organize a visit with Brian,
but I keep getting denied. As a licensed private investigator,
I was required to pass a fairly stringent background check,
so I find this refusal a bit strange, and no
one will tell me why I've been refused. It's things
like that that happened to you that make you go

(12:42):
why what? What are people trying to protect here? Finally,
after a week of back and forth, Taylor gets approved.
She logs on and can see Brian sitting in the
middle of a public area in the prison. Hey Brian,
so what's been going on? How's everything going? So one

(13:04):
day of the time. Video conferencing with the prisoner is
a bit surreal because you feel like you're right there
in the prison. You can see the other inmates behind
the person you're talking with, playing cards on cold metal
tables and walking around in their wife beaters. Brian is
in his fifties and he still sports a mustache. He
has thick, round framed glasses that are oddly fashionable. Brian

(13:26):
wears earbuds and mentions he likes listening to music. He
writes in one of his letters to Taylor to download
Princess of the Dawn by the group Except branches up
with Don. What exactly was the timeline of your relationship
with Jennifer? Brian's video feed starts to sputter. He freezes

(13:49):
up in digital static as he talks, Well, we doing
each other. That's where we're key is when she done
six things, she started working at Beta Hut, and one
of the guys that she went to school with around
with me all the time, and he kept telling me
when he's going out to the Jennifer. And finally we

(14:10):
went my Pizza Hut and got st to drink and
she started talking with me, and after she got off
work that night, she started chasing me around and pretty
much until she called me. And now that was from
May of ninety three until we started sticking together in

(14:35):
October ninety three, and our relationship just forgiving them then
and when he ended up getting married and having a
fun after my Bay the drivers got killed, we was
in a car wreck and he got killed and I
tied it well, you know, he got killed on a Thursday.
We buried him on a Sunday, and she just said

(14:57):
nothing to me, is Jack. Everything was fine. We wept
together right now, we dinner together right now, went to
bed the other got up. The next morning, she got
up and go to work and I got up to
go to work and she never come home. In late
nineteen ninety six, Brian got into a car wreck and

(15:20):
shortly after that Jennifer left him. Next Sunday is when
I got tolded you on Monday. I think they was
still on a Sunday, and I was charged on the
next day or the next day. Time, my dad, When
did you originally hear about Rebecca's case? Somebody sent me
news never quitting and they wrote in the bottom of

(15:41):
it strange but jimfers players to be involved in that.
And then after that, when did you reach out to Larry?
It probably took a while after that. Now Brian has

(16:02):
been writing Larry letters for years and offered to help
him with Rebecca's case, and a lot of what he
writes can only qualify as jailhouse rumors and unqualified leads.
He claims that his ex wife and other members of
her family were involved in Jennifer's parents murder. Some of
his claims in the letters are bizarre. He said that
he spoke to someone in prison who told him that
Rebecca was tortured and held hostage for several days on

(16:25):
a mattress, But it was in the first letter that
he pointed the finger at Jennifer. Different people come through
here that I spoke with and everything, and after that one,
I've got a hold of Hilary and from you know,
because I heard from more than one person that Jennifer
was connected with it, and I to trying to give
him some sort of closure, you know, days, you know,

(16:47):
Taylor asked Brian about what Jennifer's motive may have been
if she killed Rebecca. They would have been over. Just
from I understanding, Rebecca and Justin were a couple, and
then Jennifer started dating, and then Jennifer got pregnant, and uh,

(17:14):
she don't really been a new Rebecca, Wasn't it? A
number of times at the time of Rebecca's murder, Jennifer
was pregnant with Justin's baby, she was jealous of Rebecca,
and they were no longer friends. Brian has sent us
a bunch of witness statements, but none of them have
notary seals, so I'm not sure how legit they are.
I've got newspaper clippings that I've got out of three

(17:37):
different papers. I'm not a witness statement him and his wife.
They witnessed Jennifer and Rebecca of a fight and a
physical altercation at a place called Reno's and made port
the gas station. And then I've got another witness statement
that that I can't remember. I call this what I've got,

(17:58):
But anyway, he wrote down that he was at a
party in Leslie and Jim for injustins Or. We know
that people in town are scared of Jennifer, but is
she really capable of murder? And on that morning would
she have had a reason to target Rebecca? And Jennifer
got into an argument with some people and she pulled

(18:21):
out a pistol and waved it around and made some
threatening statements for the crowd. If like one day she
would be somebody else, and then maybe an hour later
she talking to somebody totally different and different person, and
and if she gets mad at you, she just hers

(18:41):
is kind of blackout, h that she just wants to fight.
I don't know. It's hard to explain. People just say
to die around her, you know. I don't know. If
you come up with any names that you know her

(19:01):
around her coming this play, let me know one. I'll
try to speak with them, all right, Hi, Brian, believe you?
Bye bye bye. Brian makes some pretty incredible claims, and
after talking with him, I don't feel comfortable accepting them
as fact. But his offer to be our man on
the inside if we need information from anyone else in

(19:24):
jail is one I'll keep in my back pocket like
everyone else. In this case, Rebecca had several different sides
to her personality. According to Danielle, she was a person
who would take the shirt off her back to help
a friend in trouble, but she also did not shy
away from conflict. Multiple witnesses, friends, and family all say

(19:44):
that Rebecca got into arguments with a few different women
before she died. In addition to Jennifer, we've also heard
that Rebecca had argued with Teresa. She's Jennifer's cousin and
also worked at Sonic with Casey Forgets six degrees of separation.
In this case, there seemed to be at most too
we talked to Teresa and she She says that Rebecca

(20:06):
had been living with her and they got into a
fight of her unpaid bills. After Rebecca left the house
without saying anything, Teresa told us they had another argument
at Sonic. Teresa also said that Rebecca's dog was shot
just a few weeks before her murder. Rebecca was crying
at Sonic and Teresa hugged her. She told us that

(20:26):
she was relieved that they had made up before she died.
We need to understand more about Rebecca's history with Jennifer,
and we have to be careful when we talk about
Rebecca's case in public, because you never know who will
be around. So we go back to Rebecca's sister, Danielle.
Jennifer's ex has been calling the cops and telling them

(20:47):
that she did it. Like also like he's been saying that, so,
I mean, who knows, he says. I know he's a
convicted criminal, but but she should have went down with
him then, And you know, Jennifer's just not a good person.
I think there's a lot of jealousy from Jennifer to Rebecca.

(21:08):
I mean, I could see why, but I could Seecauseurecca
was gorgeous and what was justin Rebecca's relationship, Like, they
were together for over seven years, they lived together, they
were they were normal. I mean, they may have fought

(21:29):
a few times, but they were together and then they
split up. And do you think he was still in
love with her? Oh? Yeah, I do. Were they still
involved in any way at the time that she died,

(21:50):
Not that I know of, and he was involved with Jennifer.
I mean, I'm just wondering if Jennifer would have gotten
mad enough, if you know, like, if it's like, how
well do you know Jennifer, you think she could get
mad enough to do it? Yeah, I just don't know why.

(22:10):
The costs are so like ruled Jennifer out so fast
based on some shopping receipts, you know, like when I
have heard more than one person that she it seems
very honest. So we got it, We got life. Nick
always said, because Nick was related to Jennifer, we always
said it had something to do with the previous with

(22:30):
her parents. That's how she got out of that, and
something with her lawyer. Then there was something there and
that's why she got out of the prior thing with
Okay parents, So you know, maybe that's long or not
going after her. I don't say to you understand, yes

(22:51):
I do. After talking with Danielle, it seems clear that
there are definitely some tangled relationships between Jennifer, Rebecca, and
Justin that we need to sort out and just our luck.
Jennifer skipped town and she's staying in Florida. Jennifer ended
up marrying Justin and they had a daughter together, but
they eventually divorced and Justin's remarried. Now, Justin was the

(23:13):
love of Rebecca's life for years, but Jennifer was pregnant
with his child at the time Rebecca was murdered. Could
this have been a motive for him to cover for her?
Like so many people in this case, people's opinion of
Justin depends on who you're talking to. Some say he's
a sweetheart, Others claim he's an abusive monster. Jennifer and

(23:35):
Justin are finally a part. They were back and forth
three years that the people who cared about Rebecca like
they want to talk about this. You can almost like
feel it in the air around here. People want to
talk about this shit. You know something's going to happen.
People have told me Justin's you know, really cares about
this case. Jennifer didn't like Rebecca, so I find it vvery.

(23:56):
She'll probably shut the door in our face no matter what,
you know, and I mean even if she was here.
So I don't think we're gonna get that much from her.
Since we can't get to Jennifer, Justin is who need
to find next. I write him a letter explaining who
we are and what we're doing and put it into
a sealed envelope. All right, so we're going to find Justin.

(24:17):
He now works at a boat place. Yeah, we got
he was working construction and I think that project finished,
and we got a message, we got a tip. So
we're gonna go to his work, and I think this
is our best shot at getting him by himself, and
worst case, he's not there, and we leave the letter

(24:38):
and then he calls us back. One three miles, take
a sea turn on to Mabel Drive either way either way,
it's better to do it this way rather than walk
up to his house. He and his wife could get
in a confrontation, or she could just get involved. And
a lot of times the new wife will get protective,
and you know, she doesn't really need to be involved.

(24:59):
We need to get him by himself. I'm kind of scared.
I don't know why. I'm just nervous. I'm I'd be
lying if I said I wasn't nervous. All right, here
it is turn wow, it really is right by the
court complex. Arrived, should work here, We should be heard here.
We walk in and ask for Justin and we're pointed

(25:21):
around back to the break area. But you can go
around the building here. Oh god, outside the break room,
there's gonna be some people like smoking. Got you? Okay,
thank you, thank you? Definitely Hey, which my find Justin?
A guy comes up to help us. Oh, we're on

(25:43):
lockdright mouth, she said. He pokes his head into a
door and comes back. Now there can we can we
leave a letter for him? Which all mind? Will you
give it to home? All right? Thank you, thank you,
thank you. Taylor and I head back to the car

(26:03):
on all. I wish we'd gotten him, but like, considering
we didn't, we found he's definitely here. We could have
driven around and not found him. Yeah, we found him.
He's gonna also know we know where he works. Yeah,
Like so it's almost like not you can't hide in
a sinister way, but you kind of can't hide. Later
that day, my phone rings, It's Justin. We'll be right back.

(26:31):
After getting our letter, Justin calls us, and he and
his wife agree to meet us at a local pizza shops.
So you're Caroline's sister. Yeah, I've seen Larry's photos of
Justin and Rebecca from high school when they were together.
Back then, he looked like a sweet kid, skinny tan
with shiny black hair, all dressed up for the prom

(26:52):
and a tucks with Rebecca on his arm. I've also
seen his mugshot. He's older, harder looking, his hair has
lost that shine, and his eyes are sunken in. He's unrecognizable.
He just tell us little bit about Rebecca. Uh, yeah,
she was. She was my girlfriend in like tenth grade

(27:13):
in high school until just probably a week before that
happened to her. I mean she she meant everything to me.
I mean, you know, we was, uh it was like that,
you know, it was like best friends and and uh,
I don't know, it was just the worst thing that

(27:34):
ever happened to me a week. That's surprising. According to Danielle,
Rebecca and Justin had been broken up for a year. Yeah,
I mean she was just a na suspers she ever made,
and I don't know, she had the biggest start in
the world failure how much all over the Baker. I
mean I named my daughter the Baker. I mean I

(27:57):
just like you said, And I know it's hard on everybody,
like but it's tell people. Yeah, yeah, so that's what
I said, you know what I mean. Yeah, that is
hard on worthy, you know, for be done. Justin's wife

(28:20):
seems shy and a bit nervous at first, but she's
very helpful and seems sincere and it's clear that she
wants to help her husband get closure. Yeah that's something
that's like, wait on him for I know the whole
time we've been together, and would help and help him
so much. No, that's what I'm saying. I laugh to forget.

(28:41):
I remember I was in the car with her, and
I remember we wrote up down by the ballpark. She's
his name with us. She gotta go over to her.
It's like, I don't When he talks about the last
time he saw Rebecca, Justin stares out the window and
for a second I can tell he's right back in
that ball field. I can't imagine, like what, yeah, what

(29:06):
that effect could have on you. She's moving forward not
knowing what you know, what's happened. Yeah, it's you know,
I mean it bought him every day. I got real
bad on drugs after it happened and just kind of
went downhill and just kept digging. So yeah, it has

(29:26):
a tough it has the on me. Do you remember
when you heard that she was missing. Yeah, I was
in uh, turning to Mississippi with my dad at casino.
The phone started ringing there and it was her shyestery Danielle.

(29:46):
They was hoping she was with me, you know, and
what she was and and uh, I told him, you
know that I would come to look for right end,
you know, and I did so. He also remembers the
investigation because he became a suspect along with and it

(30:06):
was like six months down the line. I mean, I'm
sitting here thinking that they're getting closer to soul in
this case, you know. And was I wrong? Because then
they get me up there and then my eggs and
I mean intergurated is bad. I mean together their hands separately.

(30:27):
They was telling me how I done it, things like that,
you know, almost like those want me to just tell them.
I doney Justin says he helped the family with the search,
but six months later, he and Jennifer both got called
in for questioning did you and did you ever talk
about the murder? Yeah? I mean I really can't remember

(30:51):
how much about talking about it. I mean she came
over there, she was there with me helping look for it.
As we're talking, I keep watching Justin's new wife. She
looks down like she wants to say something, just because
I've like experienced her since being with him. But that
was with her for twelve years, you know, and God

(31:11):
helped me if I went to sleep with her there.
If she's that type of person, you know what I'm saying. Yeah, well,
I think got heard from the things she's said to me,
like she's she's crazy. This girl she does a lot
of thread and stuff like that. And yeah, in the
years they've been together, Justin's wife has experienced Jennifer's explosive tendency.

(31:35):
Is firsthand. I know that when domestic violence has involved
in relationships, people can have two sides to their personality.
I asked Justin about Jennifer's alibi. Where was she supposedly
on that one day she was supposedly in Conway. She
kept all of hevery keet. We lived in Perryville at

(31:58):
the time, me and her in that apartment. Perryville is
thirty five minutes from Conway outside of Little Rock. That's
about two hours from Melbourne in Mountain View. And she
was supposedly on camera and had received from doing shopping
and Conway. That's that's like all I can remember about it.
But would Jennifer known where Casey lived? Do you think

(32:22):
sting On he was gone? She used to be his
manager at Melbournsonia don't know that, so yeah, she probably did.
Do you know if Jennifer and Casey were like friends
or just they weren't. I'm terrified of her, yeah, I
mean I hate she is too. I mean, but she
has a reason to be outfore we feel luck and
then just the stuff she says and stuff. I think

(32:46):
Rebecca could have held her own letter, Yeah, I really did.
Rebecca was a scrapper. Yeah. I thank God for y'all.
I mean, God bless you for that. Yeah. Yeah, I mean,
I'm just so glad that somebody's doing that, and Rebecca
deserves to have somebody for yeah, especially like you you know,
somebody tell me like he really needs to be in

(33:07):
her corner. Who cares and knew what was going on.
I am, I promise your thank you. Justin and his
wife leave, and Taylor and I look at each other.
We're both thinking the same thing. That torment about Bez
is genuine. You can see her like you can see it.

(33:30):
Also totally didn't have to help her come forward. It
sounds like they were together a lot closer to the time.
She's the first person that we can actually put like
she knew where to go. Yeah, so Justin just told
us that he and Rebecca were dating until just a

(33:50):
week before she was murdered. Could Jennifer have found out
that Justin was still seeing Rebecca and gotten into a
confrontation with her over the weekend that she decided to
finish on Monday morning, after we leave the pizza place
and get back in the car, Taylor and I regroup
after our conversation with Justin. We have a lot to unpack.

(34:12):
Several times during this investigation, we've heard that Rebecca's murder
involved more than one person, and that those people were
at a party over the weekend. We called George Jarrett
and tell us to meet us back at dad's house
to go over the murder board. There's a couple of
details that just and you know, being a private investigator
in addition to being a journalist, that just stood out
to me from the beginning. The folded clothes, sheets in

(34:36):
the washer, the fact that there was an attempt to
clean the house up right, I don't think a guy
and I've covered probably over a dozen capital murder cases,
you know. The first case in that that in that
Creekside Bones book that I wrote it, The first case
in there is about, you know, a father and son

(34:58):
who are convicted of ruthlessly slaughtering this family for they
didn't clean up the crime scene. I mean when they
went in that one of the murder weapons was still
laying in the little girl stuffed animals. I mean, so
they left, they left a lot of evidence. And so
it seems to me like it would be something more
like a female will do. Now, is it possible. I'm

(35:19):
a pretty cleanly guy. I cleaned my house all the time.
I'm very nipiggy. So is it possible? Yes, But if
I was an investigator, I would think that would be
the first place I would go. Well, I guess that's
also what I've been told. I've been told Jennifer and
Cindy were the girls that they that the family suspects,
you know, and I guess I asked myself, you know,

(35:40):
what's the motive if there was if they were at
a party and there was a fight at the party,
then it's a no brainer, you know. So then we
then we would then we have a direct line leading
to who the suspects in this case should be. The
way things were left in that place, with the kind
of ghetto not real cleanup, it brings me back to
somebody went there looking for a fight, not necessarily to

(36:01):
kill anyone, because the didn't bring a night for a gun,
right or we don't know for sure, but she died
from blunt forced trump according to the medical examiner. Okay,
so if in fact they did it with something that
was in there, happened to be in there, you know,
then that even more points to a crime of passion.
Crime passion. I mean, it really could have been a
fight that went too far. She might have been murdered

(36:23):
for the simple fact that they knew she'd be alone
at that time there, so they knew she'd be there,
But how they would know even if you knew Casey
and you knew he was going to leave his house,
there's no way you would know that she was there
unless you just, and I hate to use this term,
you just lucked out by her being there. George has
a point. If this was a crime of passion, a

(36:44):
fight that got out of hand, it would have to
be someone who knew where Rebecca was. And if there
was a fight, there has to be some evidence that
indicates that. Are there clues in the autopsy report that
could help us piece together what happened? We'll be right back.

(37:07):
According to the autopsy report, it didn't appear that there
were obvious defensive wounds. It got me wondering if Rebecca
got into a fight, she would have had defensive wounds, right,
But after a week of her body being out in
the elements, would you be able to even tell if
she had any defensive wounds. Decomposition there's real eyes on elements, right,

(37:27):
So the hotter it is, the faster body decomposes. This
is Jane Gorniac, a medical examiner in Atlanta. Some injuries
are they yet they have different colors to them, So
an acute or close to or around the time of
death if someone has an abrasion or laceration pro with
some body reaction to it, so it might be more red,

(37:49):
it might be a little inflamed. But when you have
an abrasion or elaceration after death, the tissue their body
didn't react to it, so there's not that red color,
so you'll probably see it as more of a yellow
or drying looking. But once a by they starts decomposing.
There's a lot of body changes that go along that

(38:09):
we could even tell if it's pre or post mortem,
so just depending on the tissue that's left. Also, so
the tissue can get dried, depending if there's things someone's
out in, you know, really hot, so the tissue can
dry or we call it. The other is puture faction,
where it's the bacteria that for black. I say they
start having a party, so your body starts really breaking down,

(38:32):
and it's more we call a wet decomp so that's
when people get blistery and bloated and there's fluid under
the skin, so that can change their appearance. So the
body gets a green black discoloration to it, so that
can mask any color of new abrasion or an old abrasion.

(38:53):
So even though there were no apparent defensive wounds indicated
on the autopsy report. It's possible that the decomposition of
Rebecca's body could have masked those wounds, but normally a
trained medical examiner would touch that. And then there's the
fact that we know Rebecca was a fighter. We've heard
it time and time again, so I don't think we
can rule out that she would have fought with her

(39:14):
killer that day. In fact, it's highly possible. The question
is was this a fight that escalated into murder or
was Rebecca surprised by her killer having to fight back
in the heat of the moment as her killer swung
at her. Some of the people involved in this case
may have been doing drugs, but despite what the police
may think, it's looking more and more unlikely that drugs

(39:35):
were the motive for this murder. Several times during this investigation,
we've heard that Rebecca's murder involved more than one person,
and that those people were at a party over the weekend,
but as far as we can tell, there was no party.
In fact, Rebecca kind of kept her two groups of
friends separate. Chris had never met Casey. We have heard

(39:56):
that Jennifer and Rebecca got into it at a party,
but it was a while back. To me, all the
stories are matching up. JB's story, Chris's story. Timelines are
a little uncertain because they were partying a lot at
the time, but yeah, I mean all of their stories
match up. Rebecca was the girl that men wanted and

(40:17):
women wanted to be, whether they loved her or hated her.
The person who killed Rebecca was obsessed with her, and
now we can add a new element to our murder board,
a love triangle. Jennifer is the only person so far
that we know knew where Casey's house was and potentially
knew Casey's work schedule and that Rebecca would be alone,
and if Justin was still involved with Rebecca a week

(40:38):
before she was killed, and when Jennifer was hormonal and
pregnant with Justin's baby, jealousy starts to look like a
real potential motive, But we know she had an alibi
with shopping receipts as proof, and the lack of defensive
wounds still gives me pause. This just doesn't seem like
a girl fight that got out of hand. We still

(40:58):
haven't found Jennifer to talk to her directly, but with
what we know right now, I don't think she's the
one where ultimately looking for. I'm Katherine Townsend and this
is Helen Gone. Helen Gone is a joint production between

(41:29):
How Stuff Works and School of Humans. It is written
and recorded by me, Katherine 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 Tounewelders.
Executive producers Brandon Barr and Else Crowley for School of

(41:49):
Humans and Conell 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 hellgoonepodcast

(42:11):
dot com or follow us on social media School of
Humans

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Catherine Townsend

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