IZARD COUNTY, Ark. – It’s a story with as many twists and turns as the road that leads to a scenic spot along Highway 9 in Izard County.
Fourteen years ago, the body of missing 22-year-old Rebekah Gould was discovered along the side of the road outside of Melbourne.
“She wasn’t found where she was murdered. She had been transported somewhere else and literally dumped,” explains Gould’s father Dr. Larry Gould.
Dr. Larry Gould remembers a conversation just weeks prior to her death, when Gould told him she was leaving her boyfriend and Izard County to follow her dream of becoming an Arkansas Razorback.
“That was probably the best news I could have heard. Because I didn’t expect her to say that.”
Then came one of his proudest moments, not knowing it would be his last.
“Her comment was, ‘I always admired you, I love what you’ve done with your life and I would like to be like you.'”
“That was it. And I had no idea,” he said.
Dr. Gould hopes a fresh perspective will lead to the killer.
“Everyone in town has a theory about who killed Rebekah. And everybody thinks they know what happened,” says private investigator Catherine Townsend
The New York-based writer is an Arkansas native.
“My sister went to high school with Rebekah’s sister.”
Her connection to the case is personal.
“Really, it’s what inspired me to become a licensed private investigator,” says Townsend.
This summer she moved back to the Ozarks to piece together a timeline.
“I was only supposed to be there for two weeks but I got completely obsessed with the case.”
On the weekend of September 20, 2004, Gould came home from college in Northwest Arkansas to visit her boyfriend.
Monday morning she drove him to work at the Melbourne Sonic before stopping by the Possum Trot Convenience Store.
“She was supposed to take a nap, get up later, go pick her sister up and they were going to drive back to school.”
Rebekah never showed up.
“You think about how your heart would be breaking and how desperately we want her back,” says Gould’s older sister in a 2004 interview.
That next day, police found all of her belongings at her boyfriend’s house where she had been staying in nearby Guion.
“Then we heard her car was there, her purse was there and then later I heard there was a lot of blood in the trailer,” says Dr. Gould.
“It looked like there had been a crime scene, something bad had happened,” says Townsend.
The whole town came out to look for Gould.
“That adrenaline just absolutely pours into you,” recalls Gould.
One week after she was last seen, a search party discovered Rebekah Gould’s body down a steep embankment along highway 9.
Arkansas State Police took over the investigation.
“Yes you ask questions, but you also believe everything you’re told,” he tells KARK.
Police ruled out Gould’s boyfriend as a suspect shortly after. No one has been arrested or charged.
“It’s like a horror movie. You’re out in the middle of the woods knocking on someone’s door who may or may not be the killer or may or may not be involved with the killers,” says Townsend.
Townsend and her team are now taking the unsolved case to millions.
The true crime podcast Hell and Gone from How Stuff Works and School of Humans premiered in October and brings listeners along as they interview new witnesses and follow the evidence through the Ozarks.
“Does it point to a person?” asks Ashley Ketz.
“Yes. Yes, I think people are going to be utterly shocked who the killer is,” says Townsend.
“For me in this point in my life, I want some resolution. I want to know the truth,” says Dr. Gould.
Dr. Gould hopes the new attention will help give peace to their family, who’s gone through hell.
“For me, the day that an arrest is made. That’s it. That’s when it will start.”
As the podcast climbs the charts on iTunes, Towsend tells us the tips keep flooding in. Any credible information she receives is turned over to police. If you have any information about Rebekah Gould’s murder call 213-453-2165 or email Townsend at email@example.com.
You can listen to the podcast here on iHeart Radio.