IZARD COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A man arrested in connection with the 2004 murder of Rebekah Gould is battling extradition from Oregon to Arkansas, according to a report from content partner KARK. However, investigators are hoping the governor can change that.
KARK reported that William Miller, 44, appeared before an Oregon judge Thursday, Nov. 12, as Izard County authorities attempted to bring him back to the Natural State. But he’s fighting extradition.
Investigators said Friday, Nov. 20, prosecutors have submitted paperwork requesting a governor’s warrant. If Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs the warrant, it will be sent to Oregon’s governor for review.
Officials said that they had arrested Miller in connection to the murder of Rebekah Gould.
The Izard County Sheriff’s Office announced the latest developments in the case on a Facebook post around noon Monday, Nov. 9.
William Alama Miller, 44, of Oregon faces a first-degree murder charge in connection to Gould’s death.
Miller was visiting Izard County from Texas at the time of Gould’s disappearance in 2004.
Her body was discovered 16 years ago on a hillside off Highway 9, south of Melbourne.
According to the sheriff’s office, a special agent with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division arrested Miller at his current home in Cottage Grove, Ore.
“The arrest occurred in Lane County Oregon after the state police special agent assigned to the case learned Miller had returned to his home following an extended stay in the Philippines,” the release said.
Sheriff Jack Yancey shed light on how Miller got behind bars.
“He was developed as a suspect three or four months ago. At that time, he was actually living in the Philippine’s. Just very, very recently came back to the states in Oregon where he lived up there. Having gotten information to that effect, an agent with the State Police flew up there and interviewed him. Of course in that interview, developed enough information that we could file charges," he said.
Yancey said it took multiple agencies to get Miller behind bars.
“In this particular case, it was an ongoing investigation for 15 years. Really it was never a cold case because there was always someone assigned to it, always someone working on it. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of work to bring one of these to fruition," he said.
Miller will remain in the Lane County Jail in Eugene, Ore. until his extradition hearing.
Region 8 News has covered the Rebekah Gould case extensively. She was 22 years old when she was murdered.
Her body was discovered on Sept. 27, 2004, after a large-scale community-based search across Izard County.
Arkansas State Police led the investigation and say the case was never classified as a “cold case."
Upon learning of the arrest, ASP Director Colonel Bill Bryant stated, “The special agents assigned to this case never abandoned any hope of finding the necessary evidence and facts to lead them to a suspect and an arrest. This case is a testament to the Criminal Investigation Division and the devotion the special agents assigned to the division possess in helping police and sheriff’s department across Arkansas with their toughest cases.”
For 16 years, as family and friends waiting for answers, rewards were offered in hopes of bringing closure to the family.
“Of course, we’re thankful that something’s happened about it but I couldn’t imagine. Everybody thinks that it’s not going to happen to you but in today’s world, we’ve always got to watch our own back. Just knowing someone’s been held accountable for this, it really puts some hearts to rest," Morgan Wood said.
The case also sparked interest from private investigators. Catherine Townsend took a new look at Rebekah Gould’s case in her podcast “Hell and Gone.”
And, most recently, the podcast “The Murder Squad” focused on the case. The second part of that podcast debuted Monday morning.