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Friday, May 6, 2016

Police have suspects in Gould murder probe

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A young woman in her early 20s walked into the Possum Trot convenience store in Melbourne Sept. 20, 2004, to pick up a few things after dropping off a friend at work.

It was the last time someone other than her killer saw her alive.

For eight months law enforcement officials have been pursuing leads in the murder of 22-year-old Rebekah Gould.

According to Lt. Bill Beach, of the Arkansas State Police, investigators are making progress.

"We are aggressively pursuing leads on all fronts in this case," Beach said. "To this point we have been able to develop good information, but are unable to release specific details because we do not want to compromise this case in any way."

Beach said his office has several suspects in the case.

He said investigators have followed leads across the state and into Florida, Missouri, Texas and Mississippi.

In May divers searched the White River near Sylamore for evidence, but found nothing.

Gould's partially clothed body was found Sept. 27 on a wooded embankment on Highway 9 five miles west of Melbourne.

Beach said he thinks Gould, a Mountain View native and student at a community college in Bentonville, was forcible removed from the home of a friend, Casey McCullough, after she dropped him off at work the morning Sept. 20.

Gould was supposed to pickup her sisters up later that day for a return trip to Fayetteville where they shared an apartment, but she never showed up.

The next day authorities searched McCullough's house near Guion and found evidence that Gould had been forcibly removed from the residence.

Gould's car, purse, personal effects and quantities of blood were found at McCullough's residence.

He said much of the evidence collected at the scene has not been processed yet by the crime lab in Little Rock.

McCullough said he didn't return home after work on Sept. 20 and assumed Gould had gone back to Fayetteville with her sisters.

"I went to a friend's house that night," McCullough said. "The next morning when I was at work I found out that she was missing."

McCullough said he left work to search for Gould but was taken into custody by Izard County sheriff's deputies.

"That's when it turned into a bunch of s...," McCullough said.

He said he was questioned repeatedly by criminal investigator Marc Hollingsworth of the Arkansas State Police.

McCullough said he and Gould had been friends for over a year when she was murdered.

"She would never hurt anybody," McCullough said, his voice cracking. "I don't know why anybody would want to hurt her. This is and will be the biggest tragedy of my life."

He said they met while she was a car-hop at Sonic in Melbourne.

"We spent almost every week together after we met," McCullough said.

He would not say whether he and Gould were romantically involved.

Beach said McCullough is a "person of interest" in the case. He would not say whether McCullough was a suspect.

"I don't want to say who is or who is not a suspect at this time," Beach said.

He said investigators have not spoken to McCullough in several months.

McCullough said he was shocked when Gould's body was found.

"I was numb all over. I just couldn't believe it," McCullough said. "I still can't believe it."

McCullough said he has spoken to Gould's family but has not contacted them in several months. He said talking to them is a painful reminder of what happened.

The house in which Gould was removed is now occupied by McCullough's father.

"I couldn't stay there," McCullough said. "My dad stays there but he is gone most of the time."

Beach said his office is determined to get a conviction in this case.

"There is a person or persons who are responsible for the homicide of Ms. Gould," Beach said. "Whoever perpetrated this crime will be brought to justice."

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