Podcast: Investigating the Murder of Rebekah Gould – Episode 3
Editor’s Note: Start by listening to the first episode in this series.
What do the actions of a killer tell investigators about their personality, motive, and identity? In the third episode of this 5-part podcast series, AMU Criminal Justice professor Jennifer Bucholtz outlines a behavioral analysis profile of Rebekah Gould’s killer. Learn how the killer’s actions such as killing Rebekah while two dogs were likely in the house, cleaning up the murder scene, and removing her body from the primary crime scene, tells investigators about the type of person who committed this crime.
To join the effort to help solve Rebekah’s murder, join the Facebook group, Unsolved Murder of Rebekah Gould. If you have any information about Rebekah’s murder, send a confidential email to email@example.com. You can also read Jen’s 11-part article series with more details about the case.
Read the Transcript:
Leischen Stelter: Welcome back to In Public Safety Matters. I’m your host Leischen Stelter. This is the third episode of our series focusing on the unsolved murder of Rebekah Gould. If you haven’t listened to the first two episodes, please hit, pause and go back and listen to them. Once again, I’m joined today by Jennifer Bucholtz. She’s a faculty member of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science at American Military University. And Jen has been working tirelessly to analyze some of the forensic evidence of Rebekah’s murder, and really try to bring justice for Rebekah after nearly 16 years. So welcome back, Jen.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Hi Leischen. Thanks for having me back on the show and thanks again to AMU for hosting this podcast.
Leischen Stelter: Absolutely. We’re excited to have you be part of this. For this episode, we’re going to focus on analyzing the evidence and understanding what the evidence tells us about both the murder and the murderer. So we want to talk to you about what you think the killer’s potential motive may have been, how that person may be linked to Rebekah, and then really whether you think her murder was likely to have been planned or if it may have even been an accident. And I want to warn our listeners that this is a tough topic and there’s going to be some graphic information shared in this episode.
So Jen, can you start us out by explaining an important investigative technique that a lot of law enforcement use called behavioral analysis?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Absolutely. So behavioral analysis is basically synonymous with criminal profiling, which is a field started by the FBI in 1972. In cases like Rebekah’s where there may not be a lot of direct evidence pointing towards a particular suspect, it can be helpful for investigators to use the information about how the murder was committed in order to determine the type of person most likely to have perpetrated such a crime.
So behavioral analysis looks at the specific actions a person took during the commission of a murder and in the minutes, days, and even months afterwards. There’s always a reason, whether conscious or subconscious behind every action a killer takes during and after a murder.
We know that a person’s thinking dictates their decision making and behavior. And behavior in turn reflects our personality, modus operandi, which are the specific actions taken to commit a crime, and motives behind a crime. Analyzing behavior can provide clues to the mindset of a killer and the relationship with the victim. Behavioral analysis can be incredibly useful in narrowing down a pool of suspects.
Leischen Stelter: Let’s try to do that a little bit. Can you walk us through how the actions of this murderer, what that tells us about them and how those actions are important to understanding what happened to Rebekah?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. So what I’ll do for listeners is identify some of the key actions that we know her killer took during and after the commission of the crime. Now, obviously only the killer knows for sure every action that they took. So we can’t fill in every single gap, but I’m going to discuss some of the most important ones that I know about and then what I’ll do after identifying each of those is we can discuss the importance of those and how they can be used to narrow down that pool of suspects.
So we know, or we believe, that Rebekah’s killer likely picked her up off the floor and placed her on a bed in one of the bedrooms of Casey’s house. This action in itself indicates that the killer was concerned about blood getting on the flooring or the carpet where she fell. They may have also been concerned about the two dogs in the house interfering with the body and tracking blood throughout the house.
So we’ll talk about why that’s important in a few minutes. We also know that Rebekah’s killer removed her body from the primary crime scene and transported it to a secondary location. This tells us that Rebekah’s killer did not want her body found inside Casey’s house. Well, why would that be? That’s another thing that we’ll discuss in a few minutes.
Jennifer Bucholtz: We know that the responding officer who arrived to conduct a welfare check for Rebekah found what looked to be blood on the back porch. So there are two ways in which Rebekah’s body could have been removed from the home, the front door or the back door. Rebekah’s body was likely removed from the residence utilizing the back door and backyard based on blood evidence.
Back in 2004, there was one neighboring house that had line of sight to Casey’s. That house was located to the east and if one of the neighbor residents was home, they would be able to view the front of Casey’s mobile home. So that’s probably another motive for using the back door.
We also know that her killer attempted to clean up evidence of the crime scene. And if you want, we can discuss the difference between crime scene staging versus crime scene masking.
Leischen Stelter: That would be a great idea. Can you tell us just briefly what the difference is between those?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. I can give a quick explanation. Crime scene staging occurs when someone alters a crime scene in the aftermath of that crime, usually a murder, to make it appear as if something else happened. For example, a husband kills his wife. He may then move the body from the original place where it fell and he may break items such as a window to insinuate that someone broke into the house. He might them remove some items of value from the house to make it look like a robbery or home invasion took place and that his wife was killed in the process of that crime. The purpose of staging is to mislead investigators and guide them away from the actual perpetrator.
But in the case of Rebekah, her killer actually engaged in crime scene masking, which is where they take actions to conceal evidence that would prove a crime took place at a particular location. Basically, her killer made attempts to remove evidence of Rebekah’s murder inside Casey’s home.
Leischen Stelter: And they did so by removing the sheets, washing the sheets, cleaning up blood off the floor?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Correct. It sounds like they wiped up blood off the floor, probably off of some baseboards and walls. Like you said, removed the bloody sheets from the bed and put those in the washing machine. They flipped the bloody mattress, stuffed the bloody pillows underneath there. Those are all attempts to mask that crime scene in an attempt to cover it up or divert law enforcement attention elsewhere.
With regards to the clean up, it’s apparent it was interrupted or incomplete. It simply just was not finished. Nobody with any common sense would think that the way that house was left was going to fool the homeowner or law enforcement. It appears to me that something prevented the killer from completing the cleanup, whether it be that they were interrupted, they got spooked or they planned to return at a later time to finish and we’re unable to.
Another action we know that the killer took was not only moving Rebekah’s body, but then selecting a place to leave her body and disposing of it. As I’ve stated before, the way in which her body was left out in the open, uncovered, with just a t-shirt and underwear, it is an anomaly in this case. It’s not indicative of someone who cared greatly for Rebekah but there are several possible explanations that we can discuss for why even someone who did care very much for her would have left her in that manner.
And then finally, we obviously know where Rebekah was found, the location of her disposal. So the location a killer chooses to dispose of a victim’s body can definitely provide clues about that killer. The location where Rebekah’s body was found was approximately 10 miles west of the house where she was killed and we’ll talk a little more about the significance of that.
Leischen Stelter: Great. Now that we’ve outlined the actions that the murderer took, can you kind of walk us through what that means in terms of building out a profile of the murderer?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. So when you’re trying to put together a profile of a criminal, one major thing we look at in the beginning is whether that crime and criminal was considered organized or disorganized. And I will say that most criminals fall into sort of a mixed category and exhibit behaviors from both of those. But, for the most part, a crime and killer will fall more heavily towards organized or disorganized. They don’t just fall right in the middle.
So with regards to Rebekah’s murder, I would classify it in the disorganized category. And this is because there’s an apparent lack of planning of the murder. It wasn’t premeditated and the killer likely reacted to an argument in a spontaneous manner and was unable to control their anger.
Being unable to control one’s emotions is a characteristic of the disorganized category. In addition, the cleanup was ineffective because law enforcement quickly discovered the crime scene. Now, if the cleanup had been effective or at least prompted officials to not realize immediately that she’d been killed inside Casey’s home, that would fall more towards the organized side.
But because the cleanup was ineffective and was not successful, we can place that under the disorganized category as well. And then on top of that, there was no apparent plan for the removal of Rebekah’s body or the disposal of it. Although it did take a week to find her body, it was in a very exposed location and actually could have been discovered much more quickly by chance.
Leischen Stelter: And one thing we had talked about with George Jared was we don’t know what the weapon used here, but most likely it was not something that was brought with the killer. I think that’s also an important point. We don’t know for sure, but if it was the piano leg, that was not brought with them to the scene.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Absolutely. That’s a great point. So another clue that this was not premeditated is that it does not appear the killer brought a weapon with them to the scene. They likely snatched a weapon of opportunity in the heat of the moment and did not come to the house with any plan to assault or kill Rebekah.
Leischen Stelter: And I think another point that’s just been really of interest to me too is whether or not Rebekah’s killer was known to her. One thing that’s just always puzzled me and I have to remind myself regularly, is that there were dogs in this house. It’s not like it was just Rebekah by herself. There were likely two dogs. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Absolutely. And that is a big clue. So Rebekah had a small dog, a Pomeranian and a lot of people when they hear that say, “Why would you even think about a Pomeranian? It’s just a tiny dog. That dog can’t hurt a human being even if they try.” Well, here’s the thing, no matter the size of the dog, they are usually very protective of their owner. And at a minimum, if a stranger comes in and starts attacking their owner, they’re probably going to at least bark even if they can’t do damage to that person.
Now barking when you’re committing a murder is incredibly annoying and stressful because you don’t know if someone from outside of the home is going to be alerted. It’s also a major mental distraction. If that dog had been barking, as I would expect it to, if a stranger killed Rebekah, I would expect that that dog would have been badly injured or killed in order to silence it. And the same goes for the other dog.
Reportedly the second dog was a mixed breed pitbull, and for all of us who have ever owned a dog, or even if you haven’t, you know the reputation of a pitbull. They’re extremely loyal to their owner and other people that they are familiar with. Now, that dog definitely would have been familiar with Rebekah because she lived there for a while so the dog was probably quite friendly with her and the dog probably was protective of her.
So again, if a stranger came in this house, I would have expected that pitbull to start attacking and then the killer would have had to injure or kill that dog in order to avoid alerting a neighbor or anybody who might have come by outside the home. I think the dogs are a really important clue that Rebekah’s killer was familiar to the dogs.
Leischen Stelter: One other thing about the dog, I don’t remember the detail of this, but when the law enforcement officer came back with Casey, was it noted whether the dogs were inside where they were left or outside?
Jennifer Bucholtz: I don’t know for sure who grabbed the door handle and opened the front door that day, but he said that he and Casey were greeted at the door by the dogs, which indicates that the two dogs had been inside the house when they arrived.
There was no mention of them being tied up outside or in a pen outside or anything like that. All indications are that the two dogs were inside the house.
Leischen Stelter: Okay. Good detail there.
Jennifer Bucholtz: In addition, Rebekah’s manner of dress gives us a clue as well. Now we can’t be a hundred percent positive that she was in her t-shirt and underwear when the killer arrived at the house, but it’s pretty unusual for killers to take the time to redress or undress their victims. It does happen sometimes in those staged crime scenes that we spoke about, but Rebekah’s body was not left in a way where they were trying to stage a crime scene.
We can probably deduce that she was in her underwear and t-shirt when the killer arrived. I would expect that if a stranger showed up at the house or somebody that she didn’t trust, she would have at least scrambled to put on sweat pants or some kind of bottoms before answering the door or going out to confront or talk with the person. On top of that, there was no evidence of forced entry as far as we know, so it’s not like someone happened upon the house and decided to break in and stumbled upon Rebekah there. By all appearances, either she let her killer in the house, or it was somebody who would not be out of the ordinary coming to that house or a resident of the house because there is no sign of forced entry.
Leischen Stelter: What else can you tell us about the residence itself? I know Rebekah was familiar, she had been to this house many times. She had lived there for even a period of time, but what else about the residence that you find interesting?
Now, if you don’t live at the residence and have no connection to it, you’re not going to care if your victim bleeds on somebody else’s floor or their carpet, you’re not going to care if the dogs walk through the blood and track it around the house. You’re probably going to leave the victim exactly where they fell, keep the weapon in your hand and make a run for it.
So the fact that the person appears to have been concerned about blood getting on the floor tells us that it’s somebody who had a connection to that house. Maybe somebody who lived there or was going to have to spend time at that house in the future.
Leischen Stelter: And along the same vein, taking the time to do the laundry.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Correct.
Leischen Stelter: Who would care if you left bloody anything behind? The most important thing is to get out. So I think that’s interesting that most likely the person had some connection to that residence.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yes. I feel very strongly that they did. And I also brought up the blood drops on the back porch. Now we don’t know exactly what that blood evidence looked like in terms of the blood pattern. If the bloodstains on the back porch were determined to be blood drops rather than smears, this indicates that Rebekah was carried out of the house by somebody.
Now, for her blood to drop onto the back porch, she may have been actively bleeding when taken out, meaning her heart was still beating or her heart may have stopped by that point, but she was still leaking blood which occurs for quite a while after death because the blood takes time to coagulate.
Either way, if she was carried out of the house and only her killer was involved in the removal of the body, this indicates that a male carried her out of that home. It’s very unlikely like we discussed before that a female could pick up a dead body and carry it out by themselves.
Additionally, it’s likely that the killer decided to use that back door of the home instead of the front to reduce the risk of being seen by a neighbor or by somebody who happened to be driving by on the nearby road.
Leischen Stelter: So they got her out of the back door most likely. And then they put her in some kind of vehicle?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yes.
Leischen Stelter: What do we know about that transport?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Very little. My understanding is that there were tire marks through the overgrown grass or weeds that were in the backyard. To my understanding, I don’t think there was actual tire impressions that law enforcement could take that would determine what type of tire left the marks. I believe that they could only measure between the left and right tires to get a measurement of the width of the vehicle and then they could measure the width of the tire itself. But that would be the only clues that they have as far as I know to what vehicle was used.
And as far as we know, they never did discover the vehicle that was used to transport her body. I would expect if they had discovered that key piece of evidence, that the owner of that vehicle would have been arrested or the evidence in that vehicle would have led us to the perpetrator.
Leischen Stelter: So they put her in some kind of vehicle and this is kind of an interesting part of the story because when you were in Arkansas, you did some driving on these back roads. Can you tell us a little bit about what you learned?
Jennifer Bucholtz: We did. Like I spoke in one of our previous episodes about neither of the paved routes that would lead from Casey’s house to the disposal site made sense to me even from day one. One is very long and windy, it would probably take you 45 minutes to go all the way around, through another town, over bridges. If you’re looking for a quick place to dispose of a body, you’re not going to keep it in your vehicle for that long. And not to mention, there was plenty of places along that route including two river crossings where you could dispose of a body. So I pretty much ruled out that route.
The other route to the North would have taken the killer right down main street of Melbourne, Arkansas. And yeah, it’s a small town. And if you had a car with a trunk or hatchback, you could probably get away with it, but it’s just risky because what if you get in a car accident? What if you get pulled over? What if you stop at a light and someone peers in your vehicle? I mean, it’s just really risky.
We started consulting imagery to see if there was some other way that they could have traveled from the house to the disposal site without getting on the paved roads. And so what we discovered is that there is. There is actually several different ways that you can take along those back roads to get between the two spots, but they are for the most part, unmarked unmaintained roads. And when I say unmaintained, I just mean that it doesn’t appear the county comes in and grades them, but they’re perfectly passable roads, especially in dry conditions.
In September of that year, when it was really dry, any type of vehicle would have been able to travel along those roads. But you’d have to know where you were going. It’s complicated. You’re in the trees, there’s no GPS back then. There’s no Google maps. You really have to know where you are and where you’re going to navigate them.
Leischen Stelter: Can you tell how wide these roads are? Is it something like a one car can fit on? Is it two cars?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Two. I mean, for the most part, I believe all the roads that we investigated, you could easily have two vehicles, one in both directions.
Leischen Stelter: But they were dirt roads, right?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yep. All dirt roads. And I was just going to say we did pass one vehicle while we were out there. So the road was definitely wide enough for two cars.
Leischen Stelter: But not something that you see a lot of vehicles driving regularly?
Jennifer Bucholtz: No.
Leischen Stelter: It’s probably more of a cut-through for people who live there?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Right. There are a few homes in the area, limited numbers and it’s pretty remote. Like I said, I think we saw one other car. I’m pretty sure law enforcement doesn’t patrol any of those roads. So if you took them, you pretty much know that you’re safe from being discovered by law enforcement. The only risk might be coming across another motorist, but even the chance of that is quite low.
But again, this indicates that the person was a local resident, lives somewhere in that area because you would have to know how to navigate those various dirt roads. It’s not like it’s just a straight line from the house to the disposal site.
Leischen Stelter: And how long was it again from Casey’s house to the disposal site approximately on the back roads?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Mileage-wise depending on which route you take, it’s about seven to 10 miles. In dry conditions, I estimate that you could navigate between the two sites or drive between the two sites in about 12 to 15 minutes, one way. It’s not that far.
Leischen Stelter: And so can you talk a little bit about the chosen disposal site? Is it like an obvious pull over-type spot? Can you describe it?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. The spot where Rebekah was found, it’s sort of obvious and non-obvious in different ways. So it is a sanctioned pull-off off Highway 9, where even back in 2004, there was enough space on the shoulder where you could pull your car off and actually, several cars could fit off on that shoulder. And from reports of local residents, tourists would sometimes stop there to see the overlook of the valley. It is a beautiful view there.
But it’s also a place where appears that people would go to party and dump trash. Again, local residents have said, even back in 2004, people would go hunting and then they would dispose of the parts of the animal they didn’t want at this location. Other trash would be found there. When I went and visited in 2019, there was quite a bit of trash down that embarkment.
And in old imagery, you can see kind of trails or ATV trails that could have been used to go out in the wilderness and maybe have a bonfire. It has some interesting characteristics about the place that was selected, but it’s likely that Rebekah’s killer subconsciously picked the location for one reason, because they knew that they would not have to drive by that place in the course of their daily activities.
Jennifer Bucholtz: This is really common when the killer knows the victim. Driving by a disposal site will obviously trigger memories of the murder and the victim and most killers avoid anything that brings back these types of memories. So knowing that a killer doesn’t want to have to drive by a disposal site can provide clues to where the killer lived, worked, hung out and conducted the majority of their daily activities.
Leischen Stelter: Interesting. Just one more thing about the disposal site, you had mentioned earlier in an earlier episode that originally, you thought it was a really steep embankment. It is off the side of the road, but is it just a short hill? You said it was an overlook as well, but can you just describe what it looks like when you’re looking down from the road?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. So when you pull over on the shoulder to the overlook area, it’s flat and you can get out of your car and walk around a little bit, but as you start walking farther from the paved road, the embankment begins. And so it starts sloping downwards and she was found at the bottom of that embankment, but we were able to just walk down there. It’s not overly steep. I would say it’s definitely not steep enough to roll a body down, which was the original theory of how she ended up at the bottom of that embankment.
Another value of us going to Arkansas was discovering that one of the dirt roads that could have been used to transport her body literally comes out right at the bottom of that embankment before it intersects with Highway 9. So the killer very well may have driven right to the bottom of the embarkment and unloaded her body from the vehicle and then went on their way. But you would have to be a local resident to know that you could just drive to the bottom of the embankment. That’s not something you’re going to discover as a stranger to the area.
Leischen Stelter: Right. It almost seems like, well, this is total speculation on my part, but they were driving down this back road and this is kind of the last stop before you get on the main road, right? Maybe they were just like, “I didn’t pick a spot this whole time. Now is my last chance to get rid of this body before I get on a major road.” Is that a possibility?
Jennifer Bucholtz: That’s very much a possibility. It’s not uncommon for a killer when transporting the body of a victim to have these very mixed emotions. They know that they need to get rid of this critical piece of evidence of a murder, but at the same time, their subconscious doesn’t want to let the person go. And so it can be an internal battle, they don’t even realize is really going on with their emotions.
But, as you said, the killer may have started out on a dirt road without a plan of where to put her and just any spot that they notice for whatever reason didn’t seem suitable enough. And so finally, they get to the end and they’re about to hit paved road and they know that they need to get her out of the vehicle. That is definitely a possibility of how she ended up where she did.
It’s also possible the killer, picked it on purpose. I don’t really get that feeling, but I’m not inside the killer’s mind. So we can’t know for sure.
Leischen Stelter: Like maybe that’s kind of a crossroads type spot. And maybe they wanted her body to be found too. I mean, they put it down an embankment but it’s on a main road. So it’s just hard to know what they were thinking.
Jennifer Bucholtz: To me, it’s clear that at least in the killer subconscious, that they wanted her found because there’s so many good hiding spots out there. There’s all kinds of salt mines and caves and the river. If they really never wanted her found, there was several ways to bury her or dispose of her that greatly lessen the chance of her being discovered.
At least in their subconscious, I do believe that they wanted her body found. The possibility that after her body had not been found by searchers for a week, that the killer went to a payphone and made an anonymous call to the sheriff and let him know where her body could be found.
If that was true, then that’s another indicator that this person had had these overwhelming emotions and was really struggling with being the only one to know where she was and knowing that the search party was way off base.
Leischen Stelter: Can you talk also a little bit about her injuries? I know we’re going to get into this in depth when we talk about her autopsy, but what do the basics of her injuries tell us about the murderer?
Jennifer Bucholtz: The basics are that she was hit two times with a blunt object. There’s no evidence of any other injuries except those two. So one of those hits shattered her nasal structure, which basically gave her a severely broken nose, which would have bled profusely. The other hit was to the left side of her head, which resulted in five fractures of her skull on that side. That injury likely produced very little external bleeding, but probably resulted in severe internal bleeding, which put an immense amount of pressure on her brain.
The force with which the two blows were delivered was extreme, which indicates that her killer was a strong male. A female likely would have had to hit her many more times to render her unconscious and subdue her. Indicator of a female perpetrator may also have been evidenced in terms of the amount and location of Rebekah’s blood. If a female had attacked her, I’d expect Rebekah to have been able to put up a fight for a while because her injuries would not have been as debilitating. This which would have resulted in her blood being splattered in various areas of the house and her possibly injuring her attacker and getting the attacker’s DNA under her fingernails.
As everyone knows, we don’t have crime scene photos or the case file, but based on what we’ve heard, it doesn’t sound like there was a great amount of blood splatter in various areas of the house and it doesn’t sound like they found foreign DNA under her nails.
Leischen Stelter: So now that we’ve talked a little bit about some of the evidence in this case, can you talk a little bit about how your original profile of this murderer has changed over time?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. So listeners probably remember the last episode of this podcast, George Jared and I discussed how initially we both felt that a female was responsible for Rebekah’s murder. But, as we touched on in that episode, the analysis of the known details of the crime and the severity of Rebekah’s injuries lead us to believe now that her killer was a male.
So a current profile of Rebekah’s killer would include some of the following, which I’ll outline. But like I said, a male and a male who was well known to Rebekah and had likely been in a close relationship with her at some point. Because of the nature of her injuries, it’s logical to deduce that she and her killer argued prior to her being bludgeoned.
From that, we can infer that Rebekah and her killer knew each other well enough to engage in a heated verbal argument that escalated to murder. That type of thing really happens between strangers.
Additionally, we can be pretty sure that her killer was a local resident of the area who knew the back roads and lived and worked at locations that would never result in them having to drive by the disposal site they picked on Highway 9. The killer also had to be familiar with the location of Casey’s residence and have knowledge that Rebekah would be there alone on Monday morning.
In addition, they had to know that there was no threat of Casey or his father returning to the home during those morning hours. Now, I don’t know how many people knew where Casey lived, knew Rebekah would be there Monday morning and knew Casey and his father’s schedule. But I feel like that number has to be pretty small.
Leischen Stelter: It’s important to remember that Rebekah was just in town visiting. She had resided for a little bit of time anyway, at Casey’s residence, but she was in college. She was only really back for the weekend. Someone would have to know that and maybe she would let friends know or Casey’s friends would know and her parents would know, but it probably wasn’t widely known that she was back.
Jennifer Bucholtz: And that’s absolutely correct. We can add that to the list as well. They had to know that she was back in town from college, because as you said, she wasn’t living at Casey’s full-time anymore. So there’s a lot of elements that this person really had to be aware of and be sure of on that Monday morning.
So we already talked about the dogs, but again, the killer was probably familiar to both Rebekah and Casey’s dogs and felt no threat from those dogs or necessity to injure or kill the dogs in order to avoid detection.
And then finally the killer probably had a publicly known connection to both Rebekah and to Casey’s home. I’m pretty sure they felt that they would be declared the top suspect if Rebekah’s body was found in the home. But since we already know that her murder took place there, police should be focusing on that person or persons who would naturally have been the most logical suspect in this case.
Leischen Stelter: What about the fact that the killer took no steps to try and save Rebekah’s life? What do you think that indicates?
Jennifer Bucholtz: The fact that her killer did not call 911 or try and seek medical attention for her, knowing she was still alive, tells us the killer was only concerned about their own self-preservation. The term “self-preservation” in a situation like this, refers to the killer only being concerned with not being arrested or detected as the perpetrator and that shows a personality trait of self-centeredness and a lack of compassion for others. I would expect this type of selfishness to be evidenced in other aspects of the killer’s life. For example, if they’re married, I wouldn’t be surprised if they drive a nicer, newer vehicle than their spouse.
I’d also like to point out that, based on everything we know about Rebekah’s murder, her killer was an unsophisticated criminal. Someone who had never killed before and probably has not killed since. In fact, they’ve probably made great strides to avoid any interaction with law enforcement, including not even having any speeding tickets or other traffic violations.
In reflecting about the murder later on, they probably felt alarmed by their own extreme emotional reaction and strength, which they exhibited during the murder of Rebekah. I expect this person would avoid confrontations, particularly verbal confrontations, in the years since Rebekah’s murder and, if they found themselves involved in one, would likely walk away or find a way to avoid participating in that argument. They’ve realized they lost control one time and have to keep themselves in check so that they don’t find themselves in a similar situation again. It’s likely that people close to the killer would describe them as law-abiding, mellow, and non-confrontational. And, that’s exactly how the killer wants people to view them in order to reduce the suspicions of others.
Leischen Stelter: I mean, I feel like from this case, we have a pretty good profile of who a likely killer would be. Those details are really important. It’s a male who knew her, who was a resident who knew she would be in town. There’s not going to be a lot of people. This is not like you said earlier, a random stranger from out-of-town who happened to drive by and see the lights on or something. So I feel like that profile is a really strong profile for a case. Isn’t it?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Well, believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty limited profile and that’s because I don’t have the case file. But if the Arkansas State Police would invite the assistance of criminal profilers from the FBI, the FBI would probably come up with a multi-page extremely detailed criminal profile.
Sometimes they can even tell you the color and make and model of vehicle that the killer most likely drives or what type of upbringing the killer had. And they’re able to deduce tiny details like that out of all the clues that are exhibited by the killer during the commission of the crime and in the aftermath.
So although we have a great start on a criminal profile, I can’t complete it without seeing that case file and I don’t expect to see it, but I do want listeners to know that there’s actually probably a lot more detail that can be deduced about the killer.
Leischen Stelter: That’s interesting. And like you said, if the FBI or other professional criminal profilers were given the case file, they could really narrow down with greater detail the likely murderer in this case.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yes, definitely.
Leischen Stelter: So that’s really comprehensive. Thank you so much for going through that and helping narrow down how the evidence ties to a potential suspect.
In the next episode, we’ll really dive into the autopsy report, we’ll talk about Rebekah’s injuries and some of the physical evidence left at the scene. But can you tell our listeners a little more about how they can get involved in helping to potentially solve this case?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. If anybody listening even thinks they have one tiny piece of information that could be relevant to Rebekah’s murder, I ask you to please reach out to Mike McNeil of the Arkansas State Police. He is the newly assigned investigator on the case and is very receptive to information. He can be reached at area code (501) 322-3365.
I also have a confidential tip email set up for those who aren’t comfortable contacting law enforcement directly. I’m happy to relay information and remove the name of anybody who’s reporting it. And that email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to follow the progress of George Jared and me listeners can join our Facebook group, which is titled Unsolved Murder of Rebekah Gould. And we welcome anybody to join and brainstorm with us and analyze and contribute to the discussions that we lead on that group.
Leischen Stelter: Excellent. Well, thank you Jen so much for your expertise and for really helping us better understand this case. We really appreciate your time here.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Definitely. And thank you for having me on again. I appreciate the opportunity.
Leischen Stelter: This is Leischen Stelter signing off from In Public Safety Matters.
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