Abernathy is now re-charged

By NANCY BRITT
The Sentinel-Record 7-29-1977

A charge of first degree murder against Hot Springs police Lt. Thurman Abernathy was filed direct in Hot Spring County Circuit Court Thursday, bypassing Municipal Court and grand jury proceedings.

Abernathy was charged July 8 with the same charge in connection with the death of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards, who turned up missing last August. Mrs. Edwards’ remains were found by wolf hunters in February, scattered over Jack Mountain in Hot Spring County.

Municipal Court proceedings in Malvern had been stalled for want of a court date set, so the matter had never gotten as far as the grand jury there. The direct filing Thursday, in connection with which Abernathy’s bond was raised from $25,000 to $50,000, eliminates that procedure.

Prosecutor John Cole said, “We issued the Municipal Court warrant about three weeks ago. As occasionally happens, people come forward once they think the wheels are turning. Based on additional evidence, we decided to file direct today.”

Abernathy was formally arrested again at 4:45 p.m. in the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office by state police investigator Lt. Ken McFerren, who also made the arrest earlier this month.

McFerran said he contacted Abernathy in Hot Springs by telephone, after which further telephone contact with Abernathy’s bondsman (Bill Morris of H & H Bail Bond Co.) resulted in the decision to meet in Malvern.

Abernathy immediately made the bond Thursday, the same as he had done with the first bond three weeks ago. No arraignment date has yet been set, but Hot Spring County circuit clerk Ralph Barris said Thursday it would be “soon, I’m sure.”

Abernathy has been on suspension from the Hot Springs Police Department since the initial arrest.

Deputy Edwards turned up missing Aug. 22, 1976, a Sunday when she was supposed to have returned to a babysitter’s home to pick up her two children. Her locked car was found on Arkansas 290.

One item brought out during the period she was missing was that she was about four months pregnant when she disappeared.

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One Response to Abernathy is now re-charged

  1. I came across this when trying to find someone in hot springs from my past. I was once a sheriffs cadet there at the time Leon Barlow was the sheriff and remember this guy Abernathy… Didn’t care too much for him. After reading the long notes I agree that this is a big injustice… Way too much time has lapsed and you should be allowed to have the body resumed and DNA testing done to bring this all to an end so that you may get some closure. Too bad that Cold Case Files can not get back involved with it. I would truly love to know the final outcome also. May God bless you and your family, and remember God has ways of dealing with those who do you wrong. Unless Abernathy can come clean and confess to what he has done, I think he is going to have a hard time getting a pass through the pearly gates of heaven!