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October 31, 2018 43 mins

Catherine and team dig into the nature of the murder weapon, the autopsy report and state of the body to get a clear picture of the injuries that killed Rebekah. They meet with journalist George Jared, Neurologist Adam Webb, and Conservationist Keith Bildstein as the hunt continues for Chris. 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. This is like being a washer woman, right,
not my first favorite thing to do a little bit

(00:31):
of skill. You don't want to scratch anything. So how
many strokes did the guy did? The guy? The hip
the lady? With one or two? I hurt somebody pretty bad.
You can't get swim with one of those legs like
that I had. You could get a good swing with

(00:52):
one of those legs, he said, that was an understatement.
We know that it was a piano leg that is
suspected to be the murder weapon. According to my source,
that piano leg was never found. So we're in a
piano repair shop looking to learn anything we can that
might help solve the case that haunts us all. In

(01:20):
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 narrowing it down in my old age,

(01:52):
the piano repair shop feels a little bit like a junkyard,
but with fancy pianos. There's instruments everywhere. If we're gonna
find out what kind of piano leg killed Rebecca Gold,
this is the place. So I was wondering, if you know,
we just could take a look at some of the
you know, these piano legs here, just the different types
or something. Turn on the line over there. Rick Cooley

(02:15):
is the shop owner. He's been working with pianos for
forty five years, so he knows what he's doing. But
I think we're the first people to ask him so
many questions about piano legs. They just don't come off normally.
You know, they come off if you have to get
them off, but they're not ready to come off in
particularly ended up right. Nobody's going to certainly get the
leg off of bed. There's no way to get it off.
It screwed to the toe, yeah, so it has to

(02:38):
be a free leg. But most of them just have
a bolt down the middle and just screw in there.
And the French leg that's the one on the left
where it's more like curR it probably has a couple
of screws. It'd be hard to screw that one on.
It might something to do, but most of them just
have like a bolt that's glued into the leg and
just screws on. I can see because they kind of
stick out. So if something were to like hit it
on the bottom, it would probably that one's kind of

(03:00):
least it screws on. But I'm not going to take
it off unless you want to go back and a
six pag of meer or something. Well, I guess it
might get break one off, or sometimes they're falling off,
you know, sometimes the screws stripped out or something. Does
that happen a lot? Who does what my moves one
and beats one up, and they lived in a trailer,
it probably gets pretty beat up. No, I mean imagine this,
because there's a time somebody's ranch as living room. It

(03:22):
probably wouldn't be bet up, but in a trailer it
probably wouldn't be. Console and a spinet has a free leg.
Usually that's the consoles a little taller, that's the spin it.
So that's the pianos don't have a free leg once
they get to be bigger consoles and spin it's that's
a smaller one. But that's the only two. I said
that those kind of legs are common to spin its
and consoles that are verticals. They're all verticals, you know,

(03:46):
but all ones are big things like that. I see
they have more of like a top to them, right,
and they're more that's the old fashioned. Yeah. And how
much did you you think that a leg like that
weighs like two three pounds or gosh, like four pounds
or something like it? Would it could be heavy? A

(04:06):
baseball is ash, which is a harder word. Would the
most piano wood would be. I'm sure a baseball that
probably wait in a little bit longer base on it
probablyways a little more than a piano or piano leg
was gonna be met out of just something like birch
or maple or something probably had listen, I'd let you
have it, don't. I mean? Have you think somewhere after

(04:40):
visiting the shop, I feel like we have a clear
sense of the suspected murder weapon. The piano in Casey's
house was either a console or spin at piano, the
smaller kind that can fit up against a wall and
would fit in a tiny trailer. The legs for these
pianos are mostly straight and decorative, and in cheaper models
they just have one screw that connects the leg. Basically

(05:02):
the legs look like upside down baseball bats, thin and
they weigh around three to four pounds, light enough to
pick up and swing, heavy enough to kill someone. Right now,
we're looking for Chris, a former drug dealer who's been

(05:24):
in and out of jail his whole life. He's rumored
to be the cops number one suspect in the murder.
A police source told me that their working theory is
that Chris was allegedly high on drugs and he did
it because Rebecca rejected his sexual advances. I've met Chris before.
I visited him in jail several years ago. He was
very cooperative and kind to me back then, but everyone

(05:46):
keeps warning me that he's a dangerous guy. Plus his
background and the unpredictability of drugs in general make this
a scary situation. Finding him won't be easy, but it's
what we have to do next. While we search for him,
we need to follow the evidence and see if it
supports this theory. Since we aren't going to be getting

(06:14):
the case file, we'll have to find it ourselves. Fortunately,
we were able to get the autopsy report from Rebecca's dad, Larry,
along with a lot of other independent medical analysis and
research he's commissioned over the years. We meet up with
George Jerry to discuss the autopsy. Because of his reporting
about Rebecca, George has become close to Rebecca's dad, Larry,

(06:34):
and he's turning out to be a valuable member of
our investigative team as well. You realize that every day
there's at least probably a person who walks through that
door who has flat out killed somebody in cold blood.
Nobody knows who they are, and they're smiling at you,
talking you, acting like nothing happened. It's just really surreal
that they're out and walking around. What's frustrating about this

(06:56):
case is if we could just get some basic information,
I mean, you know, like the police to verify the
piano leg theory. I mean, you know, we know it's
probably true. I mean they someone told doctor Gould, because
if you look at the autopsy report, she died from
one or two blows to the head. Doctor Gould told

(07:18):
me it was from a piano leg. Somebody was really
mad and they hit her with enough force to kill
her in one or two blows, which even with a
piano leg, it would take a lot of it would
take a lot of power. To do it, even for
a grown man, and you know, you can hit somebody
in the head with something and not kill them, and

(07:39):
so for to do it, it must have been very
anger fueled. Her actual death report, I guess it actually
says only one blow. Doctor Gould said there he thinks
there's two because there was like a like a a
rendering of her skull and there was like some damage
to another part of it, and he thought it was

(07:59):
another another hit. But you know, technically she was hitt
one time and that's that was the death blow. That
is what actually the autopsy reads. Is a cold document,
but it still gives me chills. It's almost like I'm
back in the morgue watching the details of Rebecca's murder
get poked and prodded by the medical examiner. Weighed out

(08:21):
with precision written out in terse prose, this twenty two
year old white female, Rebecca Gould died of blunt force
injuries of the head. According to investigation. She was last
independently known alive on Monday, September twenty seventh. By the way,
that's not right, it's the twentieth that's mistake. At the
time of her disappearance, she was staying at a friend's

(08:43):
residence near Melbourne, Arkansas. She was reported missing on September
twenty first. On September twenty seventh, her body was discovered
in a ravine along State Highway nine south of Melbourne.
Death was officially pronounced at ten fifty four am. Identification
of the decease was established through dental records. A relatively
high degree of decomposition change was noted. In general, this

(09:06):
was consistent with death having taken place at or around
the time of her disappearance. It was further noted that
the amount of decomposition involving the head was disproportionately advanced
compared to most of the rest of the body. Overall,
examination of the body did not reveal any evidence of
penetrating trauma. There was no evidence of significant blood force
injury involving the thorax. An assessment for the presence or

(09:29):
absence of trauma related to sexual assault could not be
performed due to the advanced degree of decomposition present. In
light of the suspicious nature of her disappearance, findings at
the scene, and the nature of her injuries, the manner
of death is homicide. So yeah, it was a really,
really really hard hit to the head. Geez, maybe twice.

(09:51):
It looks like the one super hard hit to the
temple was something like the piano leg because it cracked
her skull. That was the one that cracked her skull.
I noticed the name at the bottom of the autopsy,
Frank Peretti. He's the medical examiner for the Arkansas State Police,

(10:14):
and he's actually a bit of a controversial figure because
he also oversaw the medical examination of the infamous West
Memphis three case. Larry also paid to have an independent
review done. It confirms a lot of the details of
the autopsy, but also has some additional insights. Larry told
us that Dennis said Rebecca had been sexually assaulted, but

(10:34):
the autopsy specifically said that certain medical tests could not
be performed due to the length of time that the
body had been exposed to the elements. Also, Rebecca was
wearing her underwear and T shirt that, according to Danielle,
she often wore to bed. Would a rapist attack someone
and then put their underwear back on, but not bother
to redress them. According to friends and family, Rebecca was

(11:02):
a spitfire who would not back down from a fight.
In the autopsy, it looks like Rebecca did not have
defensive wounds. The autopsy mentions that material was taken from
under her fingernails. The evidence suggests that she was not
afraid of her killer. The date on the autopsy is wrong,
but that's most likely a typo. So we have a
murder weapon and an autopsy report that says Rebecca died

(11:25):
from one or two blows to the head. But to
make sure we're leaving no stone unturned, we call a
neurologist to get their take. Hey, yeah, that's me to
the left, and we can do one of a couple
of things. Let's see it. This should be good in here.

(11:47):
Any blunt trauma in the head can be dangerous. Typically
when we think about the sort of severe trauma to
the head that's that ends people's lives, we're thinking about
bad falls or car accidents or anything like that, and
usually those types of things cause some injury to the
whole brain at the same time, sort of diffuse injury

(12:09):
to the brain from deceleration and rocking around in the skull. However,
other blood force trauma can can certainly cause injury significant
enough to cause death. Trauma with a piano leg or
any sort of you know, blunt instrument could cause bleeding
on the outside of the brain, either what's called an

(12:29):
epidural hematoma or a subdural hematoma, and those can put
pressure on the brain and certainly could could could cause
death if not recognized in a short period of time.
So certainly, if it caused that much soft tissue damage
and caused a skull fracture or you know, a fracture
of any of the facial bones or anatomy, that certainly

(12:49):
could be enough to cause death. And are there certain
parts of the head that that may be more susceptible
than others, So like if she was maybe hit like
on the top of the head as opposed to like
down by the jaw. So in the temple region is
one area that is susceptible. There's an artery there called
the middleman ingeal artery that if ruptured, can cause severe

(13:12):
bleeding on the outside of the brain. And so that
is one area, especially in a younger person, where we're
damage that caused a skull fracture could could lead to death.
I mean that would be the quickest, easiest, like least
amount of force the two areas. I mean, that would
be one the other would be at the at the
base of the at the base of the skull where

(13:33):
you can do damage to breathing structures and the the
and the cervical spinal cord and the arteries that the
vertebral arteries that supply blood to the base of the brain.
And so that's another area that if if damaged, could
cause significant, you know, significant injury pretty quickly. So it
sounds like there was internal bleeding, But what about all

(13:56):
the blood at the crime scene. So usually when we
see blood on the outside of the body, that would
indicate that someone's bleed bleeding from an external source. And
so there are a number of number of arteries in
the face and neck area that that if someone was
bleeding outwardly, they could lose a significant amount of blood.

(14:16):
That brings up another possibility, which is that that that
it wasn't the brain injury at all. And that's you know,
if there was a significant amount of blood, someone could simply,
you know, lose enough blood volume to not be able
to circulate blood to their organs. Adam opens a nearby
textbook and rifles to images of brain injury. Is consistent

(14:38):
with Rebecca's. Yeah, so this is a skin of something
called an epidural hematoma. And what I'm looking at here
is this. You can see there's like a lend shaped
area that's that's not you don't see it on this side,
and so the sort of bulges out right there. And

(15:00):
so what happens is that's that's a hemorrhage that occurs
between the skull and one of the outer layers of
the outer coverings of the brain called the dura. And
that's one that's oftentimes if you have a fracture that
goes through the middle ninjea artery which runs sort of

(15:21):
in the temple, sort of in the temple region. That
that's something that you could see. After talking with Adam,
it's clear that it is possible to cause enough damage
to kill someone with one blow, and surprisingly it may

(15:42):
not have required a significant amount of force. But the
thing that really bugs me about the autopsy is the
decomposition of the body and how that relates to the
timeline of death. We head out to the spot on
Highway nine where Rebecca's body was found, hopefully that will
give us some context. There's a bomb, I mean, there's

(16:04):
a skeleton. See look, and once you get over there,
it gets really steep. So this area right here is
a really hilly, remote area. It's near actually a scenic
like beauty area overlook. It's near a lot of national
forest land. You look down over like this, So from
the road there's all this kind of brush and trees

(16:28):
and yeah, and then you go past that and there's
this huge rocky drop off and do you know, was
it on this first drop off or was it on
this much steeper lower I thought it was on the
first drop off because a lot of people said you
could see it from the road. But this would be
a perfect dump area. Actually, I still think it would

(16:49):
have been a much better plan actually to bury a
body in the woods rather than just like because you know,
it's going to get discovered if you throw it. I mean,
you know, yeah, it might take a while, but like
it's going to get discovered. That's what I wonder too,
if there was something that just like spooked them. They
were just kind of waiting, hoping to find a better spot,
and then eventually they were just like, we need to
get rid of this now, pulled up on the side
of the road, and then disposed of the body. I

(17:09):
think so, I mean, I think there's a very I
think there's a really good chance that it was not
here for a week, that it was somewhere else. It's
funny though, like when I first heard about this, like
before I first came here, they did make it seem
They're like, oh, it was, you know, visible from the road,
and as you can see, like not necessarily there's a
lot of really wild growth and trees, and you know,

(17:35):
I can see where it would stay hidden. Rebecca's body
was found close to the road, beside a scenic overlook.
It's one of the only places on the curvy steep
road with a shoulder where people can actually pull over
to check out the views or to dump trash. I'm
torn about that because I feel like, on the one hand,
I can totally see how a body could stay hidden
down there for a week, you know, with my limited

(17:56):
On the other hand, there were hundreds of people looking,
and like you said, if it's an obvious garbage drop area,
wouldn't this be like one of the very first places
they searched. But some lingering questions remained for me. Was
Rebecca dumped here immediately after she died, or was she
kept somewhere else and then moved. I remember hearing from

(18:24):
several first responders that they saw buzzards circling the site
where Rebecca's body was found. Maybe that's a clue as
a woman, Rebecca's body was actually dumped at the Highway
nine site. So we contact Keith Bildstein, a conservation scientist
who knows a ton about vultures. I have been into
the northern part of Arkansas, but I have been into
the southern part of Missouri, and that's gorgeous hill country.

(18:48):
Two vultures that occur in that part of the country.
One is a black vulture, which hunts entirely by sight
and not by smell, and the other is the turkey vulture,
which uses both old faction and vision to look carcass.
Vultures can be pretty persnickety when a new kind of

(19:10):
carcass occurs in a new area. If it's an If
it's a typical kind of carcass like the deer, they
might be more The vultures would be more likely to
go to something that they're familiar with. It doesn't look
out of place, that doesn't look strange, that looks more normal.
If the carcass was unopened, the human carcass, it might

(19:34):
take a little bit longer for the vultures to locate it.
The question that you have to ask yourself is not
the carcass you're thinking of, but how carcasses might have
been around for the vultures to feed on, because they
don't like really old meat unless there's no alternative. Over

(20:09):
the last few days, as we've been investigating the facts
of the autopsy report, I've been pulling out all the
stops to try to find Chris. But in a town
where everyone seems to be afraid of him, that's not
always easy. I've made inroads with a local source who's
scared of us even using their voice, and they've just
given me a lead. During the weekends, Chris has been

(20:29):
visiting his girlfriend, Cindy, but during the week he's a
rehab facility in b Branch, Arkansas. And if that's where
he is, then that's where we're headed. Heads south of
Blachern Avenue, we're literally driving into the middle of meth
Storm territory right now. We're driving straight through the heart

(20:51):
of the part of Arkansas where the documentary meth Storm
was filmed. This part of Arkansas has been decimated by
poverty and myth. This is some creepy shit right here.
Not Oh god, do you think somebody's list there left
to see? This is? This is Midland, dude. I'm telling you, Wow,
look at that. Look in there there's like a tree.

(21:14):
It's like look to the right, look look this is
this is a broken down nine miles turn left onto
Highway sixty five. I know we're getting the hell out
of here. The deeper we get, the scarier it gets,
and the more I hope my grandmother's twenty year old
durango does not break down. Okay, if he is at
this rehab facility, I feel like we have a better chance.

(21:37):
And wait, he might an area, he might not recognize me.
But once I say, oh hey, I'm carelessis remember I
came and saw you in jail, He'll know. I mean,
how many people who visited right in jail? He'll know
who I am. Once I say that I did read
the contract with this one rehabits and b ranch, and
it sort of said that they were expected to get
jobs in the community and to you know, work, and

(22:00):
it had it had this list of kind of like
rules you fall, But it didn't sound like it was
in pace, you know what I mean. It sounded more
like maybe something that you could leave on the weekends. Okay,
so that was my you answer my question then, like
could we be at the right place? But he is
at work, but at this point we don't really know.
We're not sure of his exact address. We have this

(22:21):
piece of information, so it's either we have really two
options now because we don't know any of his friends.
It's like either we try to go here and get
him by himself and have a shot at that, or
we have to try and get to him through Cindy.
And I feel like that's really hit or miss. So
I think this is unfortunately, like this is probably the
best option to try this because if it worked, it

(22:42):
would be much better than having to try and figure
out what day is going to be in Mountain View maybe,
or try to get him through Cindy. Absolutely, this guy
nobody seems to know where he is, even his people
are supposed to be his friends. Right. I brought along
a letter I wrote to Chris, so if we can't
ambush him, we've still communicated with him and let him
know we're not a threat. Like if we leave this

(23:02):
letter for him, but we don't want to leave it.
If this is the next coming up is up here? Shit, man,
this is on your right. This place as scary as now. God,
oh god, damn it, that's him. I'm gonna pull, I'm
gonna go. Beys fine, Hello, Hey, how's it going? The
phone rings? It's my source. We're actually in b Branch

(23:23):
right now. It's looking for Chris. Oh my god, Oh
my god, are you Mountain View? He's back in Mountain View. No,
like he's at Sindy's right now working on a truck.
If he's outside right, Oh my god, this is killing me.
How long do we How long do we rack to
Mountain View? Two fifteen? I just really want to get him.

(23:45):
We can. This might be our only shot. He says.
He's sitting outside a house where Chris's car is right now.
The GPS says, we're a half hour away. I can
drive it him fifteen. We'll be right back. When people say, oh,

(24:11):
find this person, it's not just like oh, you put it,
put something in a database and it spits out an address.
It's really hard. It involves and you don't have it
confirmed until you physically are staking them out and seeing
them at that place, and even then you know it
could be different the next day, like and of course
it's fucking so slow getting closer. We realize that this

(24:34):
is about the spot where they lost Cindy on the
stakeout how we passed it a million times. Then you know, nuts,
I knew it. I knew she had to be right
off of the road somehow, because there's no way. She's
just weird. She just literally vanished. I got all the
way back to like the one light in town, and
I was like, shit, gone in a quarter mile. Your

(24:55):
destination will be on the right. There's there. It is
with their right. There's a white car. That's it. That's it.
I'm superst that's a that's your destination. Unless that's it,
because that also need it. That's him. That's him. The
source has given us the road, but there's two houses
it could be, and if we mess this up, we've

(25:16):
just tipped the neighbors off that we're looking for him.
We need to be one hundred percent sure before we
pull into this driveway. It's the second one is the
one with the people out fronts right in front of me.
There's two guys out there. You ready, Yeah, take a
deep breath, dude, get my ready. Yep. Chris. Hey, Chris

(25:44):
is not that tall, but he's strong in stature. This
is clearly a guy who has been through a lot
in his life. His hands are coated in oil from
working on his car. But the thing that strikes me
most or his eyes. They're very light blue, almost glass like.
He has a look of concern, like a friend asking
for help. He looks surprised to see me, but he

(26:06):
knew exactly who I was. He tells us he'll talk,
but he invites us inside his house. My strategy when
talking to anyone is to keep an open mind and
not to judge. I think that they can sense that
I'm straight with them, and that's why so many people
are comfortable telling me their darkest secrets. It's clear that
this case isn't just about the good guys and the

(26:27):
bad guys. There's several shades of gray. Chris knows why
I'm here and what I want to know. I've already
asked him straight out if he killed Rebecca. Now that
he's not being recorded by the cops, I want to
know if he'll tell me why he doesn't trust them. Well, so, yeah,
like I said, we've been working on this for a
long time. And we've always been convined that the cops

(26:50):
are just totally inconfident and they there's such a big
word for me of confident or adopted him. And I
think that since the beginning, I've never thought that you
had even here with it, and Nick and I talked
to lie never I thought you need to deal with it,
and the police just seems super focused on that. So yeah,
we're just we're just really trying to find out. Like,
first of all, there's all these weird rumors, like that weekend.

(27:12):
Do you have any idea like why they thought you
were involved. Yeah, at the time, like my opinion at
the time, like I was at a friend's house and
he lived on a herple. Well, Rebecca had stopped by
the that night. Well he had said something all the sidelines,
like he was supposed to go fix your car the
next morning. Well that's the morning she come up. She

(27:35):
come up missing or whatever. And then like I told
the copstead or whatever, and then it turned around, so
they started trying to well, you know, her whereabouts or whatever.
Real you know what I mean. I'm like, well, you know, uh,
Daniel and Nick, Rebecca, me all of us went to
together and I was really really friends with him. I mean,
so like I felt like and Tim Mary kind of

(27:56):
adopted me cause I had a bad influence environment that
I lived in when I was a kid. And that
asked me, you know, and I said, yeah, Mom, like
you know, re Becca stopped at Jeb's house and uh
thatnot or whatever, and he's supposed to go fix your
car the next morning, and jab come up out of
town for like two or three days, was gone, he said,
either some kind of appointment or something. But I felt
like when he looked at me, he looked at me

(28:16):
like just empty empty eyes, you know. And I mean,
of course we was all under in front of drugs
and stuff back then, like really heavy. But in my heart,
my opinion, I always thoughted had he knew something more
than what he was saying or he had done, And
so I always he was supposed to go to fix
your car nex state, you know, like did you fix
your car? And he wouldn't answer me, you know what

(28:36):
I mean, Like, and so I always thought that, you know,
he either brought some people down from Habit that did it,
or he knew more about it than what he explained.
And I like the more I kind of you know,
tried to help solve the case. The more he got
pushed on me that I had done it after that
case with the kind of learnt me the hard way

(28:56):
is never to you know, I put myself in it
as a suspect basically, you know what I mean. And
the only reason I even carried because we Becca we
always raised in school together and like Rebecca and Daniell
would always say Nick Danielle's I mean Nick was dating
Danielle right, so we was always were closed and even
like Rebecca Danielle's played the gas station with Kevin, Mary
owned it up there and like we was always were

(29:17):
close together, you know, And so in my opinion, I
was lostuff. Like the last person is seeing that person
with JB in my heart. I know that for a fact.
So why don't you go to him to ask him? Well,
what night was this? It's been a long time ago.
It was a that night Rebecca stopped by there and
got some weeding or whatever from JB. And then JB said, yeah,

(29:39):
I'll come over to pitt your car the next day
over there. Well he come up missing two three days
after that. Well, why don't you go ask him, you know,
instead of pushing them, my thought. But I went to
cop squad ask him, I mean, had you ever been
to that house at that point in time? I didn't
know that, and I had never been to that house before.
So that's why I told end Simon. I said, there's
no way, Henes, I mean, you can keep me in
a lot of tips questions. I've never been over there, yeah,

(30:00):
you know ever, and I didn't. I met Casey one
time and he he was at the gas station and
I knew that something about Sun. That's all I knowed
about Casey at that point in John right, So I've
never been over there. Did they ever ask where you
were on Sunday and Monday? That not or whatever. I
went to Tim Marria's house, and that next morning when

(30:21):
I woke up, she asked me, she said, have you
seen Rebecca right? And I said, well, you know I
heard it she stopped by JB's house last night, and
that's what threw the cops over on me. But I said,
I'll go over there to JB's house today and ask,
you know, JB's been gone, you know, all day and
haven't seen him. And then I come back by there,
you know what I mean, And still know JB and
still know JB. And it was like two days JB

(30:42):
was gone, but he had an alibi because he went
to some appointments, so I don't know what. Maybe he
did have it, you know, he I don't know that
wasn't you know, I didn't with him or nothing, but
that's all I knew about it. But I was like, man,
you know in my heart, you know, and you said
it out of your mouth that you was gonna go
to figure cards, you know what I mean? And this
time he felt like I was trying to pinge him
for you know what I mean. I was like, well,

(31:03):
you know, in my heart, I think he has to
do it, JAV. And I mean if I found out that,
I mean, I you know, I'd hurt you, you know.
And I was like, you know because I was like
my sister, and I mean, nobody deserves something like that,
you know. So you guys are close, I mean you
and Rebecca, yeah, and Danielle, like we we went just
like all the way from I think first grade all
the way until like she passed away, like and we

(31:26):
was all pretty close, you know what I mean. And
you know how it is in school, you know, when
we could pack ground and stuff like that. So they
would also come to Tim and Mary's house a lot,
and they'd also go to church with us. All tim
America had adopted like all of us as a family,
you know. So yeah, I was really close to all
that whole family. Tim and Mary were Chris's adopted parents.
They were also Danielle's ex husband Nick's biological parents, so

(31:47):
there really was a close connection between Chris, Danielle and Rebecca.
She was like a sister to him at one point
in time. Like, I didn't have no place to stay
when I first met Rebecca and Danielle and Joan, and
they had a van sitting down in front yard, and
like she would leave the van un locked and let
me sleep in it because I had no place to sleep,
somebody all opening the doors for me. It was just
a van, but to me it was a home, you know.

(32:07):
I mean, And I'd always go there after school and stuff.
I'm especially in ball games, and I sliped that van,
you know, and sometimes she let become in the house
take showers, and I kept my clothing that van and
stuff for like years. She was a good person and
she had a good heart, you know, and like I
just didn't, and that's how I always kind of cooperated,
you know what I mean, because like anything that I
might held my mind, I wanted to let it out,

(32:28):
you know what I mean, because I mean unforgiveness, you know,
and like, uh, I didn't want to and guilt and
shame you know about you know, if I would have actually,
you know, done something, you know, if I'd known that
was gonna happen and stuff like that. You know, it
was way heavy on me for a long time. But
I mean I finally just you know, took the Lord,
like you know, please take his burden for me, you know,
and like, you know, just let me be able to

(32:49):
accept it what to happen, you know, just going with
my life because you know, I'm getting older and I'll
have family and kids and stuff. But like I'd always
walk ready with dinners, Simon and anybody that always come
and ask me, you know. But you know that's what
I told you in Simon. I was like, well, you know,
you could do whatever to me, but I've never been
over there, so you can't in the way you stick
me for you, you you know what I mean. I was like,
I mean, I tell you whatever I know, and the
one told him more. I feel like I was a suspect,

(33:09):
so I just he wanted to DNA sample and stuff,
and I was like, look, dude, I'll give you an example,
but I'm not giving it to you. I haven't got
on a lot of texture tests one time, and like
I flunked every question, and I felt like he was
trying to manipulate me into saying something that I didn't,
and I'm like, dude, you know, I'm just done. This
went on, you know, like I don't you know, I
think I even fund my own name. I'm like, you
know whatever, you know what I mean, Like I flunked

(33:31):
every question, like I was just lying about everything, and
I'm like, you know, I told you everything. So they
don't even like me at all, period, you know. And
I pray every day to actually catch the person did it,
but my heart, I feel like there already another person
did it, and they're never actually gonna you know, h

(33:59):
see his eyes, he had tears in his eyes. This
is the guy that everybody's been saying is like the
you know, this evil whatever. His eyes were all tearing up.
He was I thought I was gonna cry. I mean
it honestly sounded like he genuinely wanted the thing solved,
and like one letter was why the fuck would he
talk to us. He took us in there and like

(34:19):
answered questions and was like, you know what we've heard
from everybody is that at the time he had he
was you know, he even said, I said, well, what
day was this? You can't quite you know, you can't
quite remember the days. I just feel strongly, maybe you know,
everybody's fudging a little. JB might even be fudging about
how close. Although no, he said it was a couple

(34:39):
of nights. It was that weekend. Chris and JB's stories
fit together, do you know what I mean? They do?
They fit perfect. And he even said, you know, I
thought it was him, I said, And JB's like he
thought it was me, And that's Pistoph wanted to kick
his ass. We get back to the car and Taylor
and I are still shaking. We either just met with
a murderer or someone who has been wrongly accused of murder.

(35:07):
We'll be right back. After speaking with Chris, we head

(35:28):
back to the house and meet George Jared to go
over the murder board and unpack what Chris told us.
So let's say this theory is correct, that Chris killed
Rebecca while he was on some crazy drug rage and
upset about Rebecca denying his sexual advances. Was there anything
in the autopsy report to indicate that this could have
been a meth murder? Doctor Gould, and I've actually gone

(35:50):
back and forth on this particular detail. There is no
indication she was sexually assaulted. Do you remember it's two
thousand and four. It's you know, like DNA testing stuff
like that. The techniques for collecting DNA not as advanced
as they are obviously today. The decomposition factor, it was
late September, and I can and I remember vividly it
was very hot during that time period, so that the

(36:12):
decomposition would have been more rapid. Now doctor Gold seems
to think it's still a possibility that she may have
been sexually assaulted, and ed she may have been. I mean,
he obviously knows more about the human body than I do.
But I just got you know, this is kind of
the way I operate. Let's just operate from facts, and
as of right now, there is no evidence of it,

(36:34):
so I can't assume that it happened. And it also
just I think for the simple fact that if you
are on math, I mean it can make you. The
crimes I've seen that have been committed while people on
eth are just like something out of a horror movie.
You know, it takes it to another level. The story
you're about to hear is horrific. If you're easily disturbed,
I recommend you skip ahead a minute and a half.

(37:02):
I'm back in nineteen ninety eight. There was a family
of foreign Dalton. A friend is having car trouble. The
father gets up. He's a pretty good mechanic. He goes
with his friend down to the river. Within a few minutes,
he's shot in the head twice, thrown in the river.
The killer comes back to the house. The little boy
comes running up to the door. The killer has a

(37:23):
tire tool in his hand. He crushes that kid's head
like an eggshell. The mom comes running in to try
to stop him, and he hits her twenty seven times
with the tire tool. Twenty seven times. Then he goes
into the room where the little girl's hiding under her bed.
He drops the tire tool in her stuffed animals. He

(37:47):
pulls her out from under the bed, wraps around a blanket,
and throws her in the back of a car. As
the killer is getting ready to leave, he notices something
moving through the yard in the dark. It's the mom.
She woke up and she climbed out the kitchen window
and her parents lived next door. She was trying to
get to their house and when she did, she got
all the way to their front door on their porch.

(38:09):
There's a bloody handprint on the door. Her killer came
up behind her, slashed her throat from end to end.
And the guy that did that, and I go through
that whole theory high a meth. Yeah, it makes people insane.
Her murder is not it's it shot. Any murder shocking,

(38:30):
But it's not like the story I just told you
about what happened to the Eliat family. That is grotesque.
I mean, you hear a story like that and you're like,
oh my god, and you won't stop thinking about it.
What happened to her is she got hitting ahead a
couple of times and everybody was dumped on the side
of the road. It's not it's not a profoundly heinous crime,

(38:51):
I guess, is what I'm trying to She wasn't to
as far as she wasn't brutally sexually assaulted. So to me,
it's one of these crimes. Okay, it's not. There's not
a lot of complicated moving parts here like that case.
There's a lot of moving parts. There's a lot of
dead people and missing people, and this is a whole thing.
So in her case, it's not like that. Right now,

(39:13):
I believe Chris, which means we have to go back
and get everyone's stories on our own, explore all the
possible suspects until we find the theory that sticks and
we can bring Rebecca's killer to justice. So you've talked
to JB already, I mean, do you think he had
anything to do with it? No, I've ruled him out.

(39:34):
I mean, I again, I'm following the evidence. I really,
in my mind, he's been ruled out because for several reasons.
I mean, number one, he was in cab at that weekend.
His story makes sense. And also I do give him
credit for the fact that he voluntarily he didn't have
to respond to any of the social media stuff. He
was calling me and tracking me down and being very

(39:56):
available to meet with me and trying to get me
to meet with him, And that says a lot because
I feel like, if he was involved, why the hell
would he do that. That's what I expect for somebody
who is more or less being accused. You know, if
people are saying, hey, you know JB had something to
do it, that's how I I mean, that's how I
would act too. I'd be like, hey, let me tell
you what went down for real. You want it out

(40:18):
there that you didn't do that. And this murder just
nothing indicates that it was drug related in the sense
that it was about drugs. It was a crime of
passion one way or the other. It was a crime
of passion. I think 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

(40:41):
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, 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

(41:04):
a suspect. It's even possible that when the police were
doing their initial interviews, they heard the same rumors. Well,
we're all here in you know, but it really is
It's terrible that their names are still getting texted. When
I say, does anybody have any names, some of the
same names get texted to me. If it's proven they
had nothing to do with it. Think about that living
in a community where everybody thinks you killed somebody or

(41:28):
you had something to do with it, and your name
was kind of getting brought up as being connected to
this and you had nothing to do with it. I mean,
even if you did do drugs or something, that's a
whole different thing than murdering someone. I feel like it
would be a huge weight lifted off. This town shoulders
to have this thing finally put to rest. So we
have the murder weapon, a piano leg and we know

(41:51):
it took just a single blow to the head to
kill Rebecca. We've tracked down the prime suspects and don't
think they did it. Now we just have to find
out who did. I'm Catherine Townsend and this Helen Gone.

(42:25):
Helen Gone is a joint 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

(42:46):
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. Theme and
original score by Ben Solee, available wherever you get your music.
To dig into the investigation, please visit hellgoonpodcast dot com

(43:10):
or follow us on social media. School of Humans

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Catherine Townsend

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