CONWAY COUNTY, Ark. – Several questions and few answers out of Conway County after a young woman was found dead in a ditch Thursday morning.
A driver spotted the body of 23-year-old Savannah Oden on Grandview Road in a rural area of Birdtown. Deputies are currently investigating her death as a homicide until evidence suggests otherwise.
According to Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith, the last time Savannah Oden was seen alive was 11 p.m. Wednesday night on Saint Vincent Street in Morrilton. Investigators are trying to learn how she got 19 miles away to be found dead at 8 a.m. Thursday.
“Somebody either gave her a ride out to where she was, or we don’t know yet,” Smith said.
Going from Saint Vincent Street in Morrilton to Grandview Road is a half-hour drive and an almost six-hour walk. People are desperate to learn what happened to Savannah Oden.
“What would you do if it happened to your child? And I can’t imagine losing one of my daughters,” Tina Gulledge said.
Gulledge lives on Highway 9 between the last two places Savannah was last seen. She didn’t know Savannah personally, but they had both gone to Lonoke Baptist Church. Praying for the 23-year-old is one of the first things Tina said she did when she heard Savannah was found dead in a ditch.
“Since this did happen so close to my home, I would definitely like to find out more and find out what happened to her,” Gulledge said.
Arkansas State Police are assisting Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith in seeking those answers. Smith said Oden had been known to be out in the Birdtown area before. Oden’s body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab. Smith said an autopsy, which is expected by Wednesday, would provide a cause of death.
Oden’s family described Savannah as caring and great with kids.
“An amazing sister and always loved her family no matter the circumstances. She had a big heart for the people she loved,” her brother Brandon Oden described.
Hundreds of people have been pouring out support through social media for the young woman, saying she deserves answers for whatever happened.
“Right, wrong, or indifferent she deserved better than that, and her family deserved better than that,” Smith stated.
Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Conway County Sheriff’s Office at 501-354-2411. They can also reach out to Inv. Mitch Wilson at 501-652-6394, Inv. Randall Eoff at 501-208-1498 or Chief Deputy Jeremy Kissire at 501-208-7959. Tips can remain confidential.