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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reward offered for information about Rebekah Gould murder

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the 2004 slaying of Rebekah Gould.

Norma Gibson, president of Because We Care, a nonprofit organization based in Mountain View, Ark., said her group has raised $1,100 to help find Gould's killer.

Gibson said she has become involved in the Gould murder probe even though she has never met the slain girl's parents, Dr. Larry Gould and Shirley Ballard, in person.

"These people didn't get a chance to say goodbye to their child -- she was murdered," Gibson said. "I would hope that if I was in their place somebody would help me."

Gould's partially clothed body was found Sept. 27, 2004, at the bottom of an embankment on State Highway 9, about five miles from Melbourne.

According to police, Gould died from blunt force trauma to her head.

A Mountain View native, Gould was attacked and forcibly removed from the house of a friend, Casey McCullough, after she dropped him off at work, one week before her body was found, said Lt. Bill Beach with the Arkansas State Police.

Investigators continue to pursue leads in the case, but no charges have been filed, Beach said.

"The investigation is ongoing and I'm very optimistic about the ultimate outcome of this case," Beach said. "I think we do have a good chance to bring forward charges at some point. We've done a tremendous amount of work on this case."

Over the last two months multiple search warrants have been executed and interviews have been conducted, he said.

A large amount of blood and other evidence including Gould's car, purse and other personal effects were found at McCullough's Guion residence days after she disappeared, according to police.

Gould was last seen alive at the Possum Trot convenience store in Melbourne just after she tool McCullough to work at about 8 a.m.

In a previous interview, McCullough said he was "shocked" by Gould's death. "She would never hurt anybody," McCullough said. "I don't know why anybody would want to hurt her. This is and will be, the biggest tragedy of my life."

McCullough said he and Gould, who was a college student in Bentonville, often spent weekends together prior to her death.

Beach has said previously that McCullough is a "person of interest" in the case but would not say whether McCullough is a suspect.

Larry Gould was unavailable for comment.

Norma Gibson said she understands the pain of losing a child. In 1999 her 35-year-old son Ronnie Gibson II died from cancer. "Losing a child is a terrible thing," Gibson said. "Sometimes I still think about my son and it makes me cry that he's gone."

The idea to set up a reward fund came to Gibson after she had a conversation with a spokesperson from "America's Most Wanted," a television show that profiles criminals and victims of crime. She said she called the producers at "America's Most Wanted" to see if they would be interested in doing a story about Gould.

"That's when they suggested offering a reward," she said.

Gibson said she hopes to continue collecting money to increase the size of the reward until Gould's killer is charged.

Once the reward money is paid, Gibson said two Stone County scholarships will be established through Because We Care for her son and Gould. The scholarships will be given to students who want to go to college but do not meet the grade-point average requirements for other scholarships.

Persons with information about the death of Rebekah Gould can call the Izard County Sheriff's Department at 870-368-4203 or the Stone County Sheriff's Department at 870-269-3825.

Donations for the reward fund can be sent to Because We Care, c/o Bank of Mountain View, P.O. Box 1228, Mountain View, AR 72560.

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