Commonwealth Journal

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July 8, 2014

Case of murdered woman, child still haunts investigators

Somerset —

A cold case that has lingered unsolved for two decades still frustrates the coroner who investigated the murder of a young woman and her 4-year-old half brother. 
“People still ask me about it,” said Alan Stringer, owner of Somerset Undertaking Company and Pulaski County coroner when the murders occurred.
The decaying bodies of Linda Gibson, 21, and her 4-year-old half brother, Cody Garrett, both of 324 High Street, were found July 7, 1994, in a fencerow about 10 feet east of the corporate limits of Somerset and about 1,000 yards east of Village Green subdivision off Rush Branch Road.
The woman and child had been murdered somewhere else and their bodies dumped about 20 feet apart in what then was a remote area despite its proximity to the city limits. If officers found where the murders took place, the information was never made public.
Gibson and her half brother had been seen the previous Sunday, walking along Bourne Avenue toward a convenience store at the corner of Bourne and South Central avenues. That’s the last time anyone saw them alive. Their family reported the pair missing the following day.
The weather was hot and blackened imprints of the victims were visible on the grass when members of the media were allowed to view the site a few hours after the bodies were removed. The spot where the bodies were discovered was shaded by large cedar trees 25-30 feet tall. The area was entangled with smaller wild cherry bushes.
“I think the case can still be solved,” said Stringer. “I don’t believe any case is not solvable. Facts never change. Evidence never changes,” said the former coroner who made no secret at the time his displeasure with the way the case was handled.
Most law enforcement personnel involved in the case are out of office. Sam Catron, sheriff at the time of the murders, was assassinated about six years later. Stringer’s last term as coroner ended in 2003. Many of the officers who walked shoulder to shoulder looking for clues in fields surrounding the murder scene are retired. 

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