Discovery closes five-month search

The Sentinel-Record 2-14-1977

Garland County Coroner Steve Nawojczyk and deputy examine scene (Photo by Les Beale)
Garland County Coroner Steve Nawojczyk and deputy examine scene (Photo by Les Beale)

With the discovery of the remains of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards in a wooded area several miles south of the city Saturday, so ends a search that stymied local and state law enforcement officers for over five months.

Ms. Edwards, a pert blonde radio operator, disappeared Aug. 21 or 22 after leaving her two young children with a babysitter. The first organized search was of an area off Highway 290 near Carpenter Dam Road where the deputy’s automobile had been located. The search turned up nothing the first day.

On the second day of the search, Deputy Roy Smith was quoted as saying, “If there is foul play, and we have no evidence to indicate any foul play, it is a possibility that because she is a police officer someone was trying to get revenge, you never know.”

More than month after her disappearance, on Sept. 23, a reward fund of at least $1,000 to aid in the search for the missing deputy was announced by her brother, Roy Ockert Jr., who also is the managing editor of the Batesville Daily Guard and Weekly Record.

On Nov.5, Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigator Mike Fletcher sought the support of local hunters in the search for the missing deputies. It was wolf hunters who found the remains Saturday, over three months later.

By Nov. 24, local officials said they hadn’t been able to come up with anything concrete on her disappearance, even proof that any crime took place. Ockert was quoted Nov. 23 as saying “I don’t think anybody has much hope (of seeing Linda alive again).

Col. Doug Harp, director of the Arkansas State Police, confirmed Jan. 13 the investigation into the disappearance of the deputy, but that law enforcement authorities had come up against a “block wall” in their investigation.

In the last article published by the Sentinel-Record about the case, on Jan.15, Ms. Edwards’ mother, Mrs. Irene Browning stated. “I like to say that even though it has been said that a crime has not been committed, that there is a crime committed.

Perhaps one of the saddest chapters of the case involved Ms. Edwards’ pregnancy at the time of her disappearance. Had she lived, that baby was due to have been born just a few weeks ago.

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