30 YEARS LATER: Murder victims children look for answers, justice

By DON THOMASON
The Sentinel-Record 8-20-2006

WANTS MYSTERY SOLVED: Toby Edwards, holding a photo of his mother, Linda, still hopes to have his mother's murder solved. Linda Edwards, a former Garland County Sheriff's Department radio operator, was killed 30 years ago and her killer has never been brought to justice. The Sentinel•Record/Richard Rasmussen

Thirty years after her death, Linda Edwards’ children are still trying to solve the mystery of who killed their mother.

At the time of her death, the 29-year-old Edwards was the day radio operator for the Garland County Sheriff’s Department. She disappeared on Aug. 21, 1976, after leaving her children, Toby, 5 and Kim, 4, with a baby sitter around 10 a.m.

After her car was found on a dirt road just off Arkansas High- way 290 near Carpenter Dam Road on Aug. 23, authorities conducted an extensive search. Police combed a wooded area in the vicinity and divers searched nearby Lake Catherine but no trace of her body was found.

Six months later, her skeletal remains, along with some fingernails, a sweater and some hair, were found by a wolf hunter on Jack Mountain in Hot Spring County. It was also reported that she was four and a half months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

A suspect was arrested and charged with her murder but was not convicted. The children believe that modern investigative technology and DNA testing could point out their mother’s killer and are seeking to have the remains exhumed.

And, they may be getting some help from an unlikely source.

“A&E Cold Case Files contacted us last year and indicated they wanted to exhume the body and maybe do a segment on the whole issue,” Linda’s son, Toby, said Friday.

“The money to have the body exhumed is already there and we’re waiting on an OK from the (Hot Spring County) prosecutor and he’s waiting on all the paperwork to get back from the state police.”

Hot Spring County Prosecutor Eddie Easley was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon but Assistant Prosecutor Richard Garrett said, “I know they (Arkansas State Police) are working on it. Whether they have given anything to our office in the last few weeks or not, I don’t know.”

Edwards said he is not sure what the state police were doing nor would they tell him anything.

Referred to ASP Troop K investigator Shannon Shepherd by Garrett, Shepherd said, “I don’t know what paperwork they are waiting on or anything else. At this point in time, there’s not anything I can release to you or that we can put in the newspaper.”

Asked if there were some paperwork being prepared, Shepherd said, “I didn’t tell you that. I told you I couldn’t release anything at this time.”

After signing papers two years ago granting the state permission to exhume his mother’s body, Edwards said, “Exhuming the body shouldn’t take five years.

It shouldn’t take two years to decide something. Paperwork is paperwork and you can e-mail paperwork now if you want to get down to it. It doesn’t take two years to do that.

“It’s procrastination, people not doing their jobs. I don’t know what’s going on but it didn’t get processed and it still hasn’t been processed and whether A&E Cold Case Files does it or not, I’ll go pick up cans on the side of the road and I’ll make sure I have the money to get my mother’s body exhumed.”

Roy Ockert, editor of The Jonesboro Sunand brother of the murder victim, said Friday, “The only thing I can say is I’m for anything that would resolve the case. It’s been hanging over our family for a long time. We’re at a loss as to what else to do.”

Print Friendly
This entry was posted in 2006. Bookmark the permalink.