By DENNIS WOOTON
The Sentinel-Record 2-14-1977
JACK MOUNTAIN – Skeletal remains later identified as those of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards, 29, missing since August, were discovered scattered across the face of this Hot Spring County mountain by a band of wolf hunters late Saturday afternoon.
Along with the remains were several items of clothing, including a pair of shoes, and four rings. Dr. Stephen Marx of the State Medical Examiner’s Office made the identification through dental records and the personal items found with the body. Maj. W. A. Tudor, head of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police, said no identification was found with the body, however.
Marx delivered the remains to the medical examiner’s morgue in Little Rock Sunday afternoon and said Sunday night he would attempt to determine the cause of death through a more thorough examination today.
A posse formed of the wolf hunters, Garland County Sheriff Leon Barlow and Garland County deputies, Hot Spring County Chief Deputy Harold Thornton and other Hot Spring County deputies, and state police scoured the area in which the first remains were located Sunday. Tudor said the area over which the bones were scattered measured 100 feet by 1,000 feet.
Tudor theorized the bones were scattered by animals (“post-mortem animal activity”).
Jack Mountain is located about eight miles southeast of Hot Springs and Tudor said the remains were located just south of Files Ranch Road.
The disappearance of the young mother of two, who had left the children with a babysitter the weekend she disappeared, Aug. 21 – 22, caused a flurry of activity by local law enforcement officers – searches were mounted and the aid of citizens was enlisted. Her car was located on a lonely stretch of Carpenter Damn Road.
Throughout the ensuing months, interest was regenerated in the case several times, once when it was announced the missing deputy was pregnant, but little progress was made in the case. Ms. Edwards’ family contended a crime had been committed, but county officers, though they did not rule out the possibility, said they had no evidence of any crime.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office ruling on the death will hopefully decide that question.
Barlow declined Sunday to say if any charges were pending the ruling, but stated, “You should know something about that in the next couple of days,” apparently referring to the ruling.
State Criminal Investigator Mike Fletcher has been in charge of the case locally.