Investigator hopes to solve cold case through new podcast

Updated: Apr. 20, 2018 at 6:18 PM CDT
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Rebekah's body was found near Highway 9, south of Melbourne. (Source: KAIT)
Rebekah's body was found near Highway 9, south of Melbourne. (Source: KAIT)
The Possum Trot gas station was the last place Rebekah was seen alive. (Source: KAIT)
The Possum Trot gas station was the last place Rebekah was seen alive. (Source: KAIT)
Catherine Townsend is a journalist and private investigator. (Source: KAIT)
Catherine Townsend is a journalist and private investigator. (Source: KAIT)

IZARD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A private investigator is taking a new look at a cold case that has left Izard and Stone County residents shocked and confused for 14 years now.

"This was a beautiful girl, she had her life ahead of her," journalist and private investigator Catherine Townsend said about Rebekah Gould. "She had a lot of friends and family who loved her. And somebody needs to be brought to justice for this. It's been 14 years and it's time."

The 22-year-old woman from Mountain View was killed on September 20, 2004, but no arrest has ever been made in the death investigation.

Now, Townsend is scouring the Ozarks for just the right information that will help close this case.

She going to detail that journey in a new podcast that will premiere this summer.

"Because I haven't had access to the police files, I've treated this just like any other investigation where I'm coming in as an investigator, it's day one," Townsend said. "Every single piece of information I get or we get I am confirming and, you know, not taking anything for granted."

Rebekah was a University of Arkansas student, along with her younger sister Danielle, and often came back to Mountain View or Melbourne to spend the weekends with friends.

On that particular weekend, Rebekah had stayed at her boyfriend's house in Guion. She reportedly dropped him off for work in Melbourne Monday morning.

"And then she came to the Possum Trot, right here, and she bought a breakfast sandwich and some coffee," Townsend said. "We know that she then apparently went home to the place where they were staying and then sometime after that she was killed so for that morning and that day, that's what we know."

A search for Rebekah began on Tuesday when she didn't pick up her sister to head back to Fayetteville.

Her wallet, purse, and car were still at the house in Guion.

Her body was found along Highway 9, a few miles south of Melbourne, on September 27.

"As you can see there is like a…you can pull up here," Townsend describes the embankment where her partially-clothed body was found. "A lot of people throw trash around here."

Townsend's sister went to high school with Rebekah's sister, so she heard about the case when it happened and couldn't let it go.

"It was actually one of the things that really inspired me to become a private investigator and do more investigative journalism," she said. "I was always fascinated and obsessed with the case from a true crime perspective and then when I met Rebekah's sister and started finding out more about the story I got really involved on an emotional level and then I would say it crossed over into kind of an obsession."

About two years ago, Townsend began pitching the case to several different crime channels.

"But it was difficult because no one had been arrested or charged and there are so many challenges and everyone's kind of telling me it's so hard and it's in a remote area and no one's been arrested or charged and the legal issues," Townsend said. "And I don't care about any of that, I just want to get this solved."

Now, the podcast Hell and Gone from the How Stuff Works Network will premiere in August and focus solely on Rebekah's murder as Townsend and her team of fellow investigators look at the case.

"We're able to actually look at this in depth," she said. "We're going to do a lot of episodes. We're going to look at every angle of the case and really spend a lot of time on the ground investigating all these rumors, threads, finding out which ones are true, which ones are not true, which ones are kind of true."

Townsend does need help from anyone who might know even a small piece of information about the weekend Rebekah was killed.

"So that's from Friday all the way Monday morning," Townsend said. "Everyone talks about it, you hear rumors parties or people she may have talked to and I would just encourage anyone that no piece of information is too small."

She also wants to assure people that they can remain anonymous and that she isn't concerned with getting anyone in trouble for things other than this murder.

"We do not care about anything that may have been going on," Townsend said. "If they were partying or if drugs were involved. I don't care about any of that, we just want to get justice for this family and found out who did this, who killed Rebekah."

You can contact Townsend by phone call or text at (213) 453-2165.

She believes the person who has that crucial piece of information may not even know that the thing they saw or heard is important.

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