VSOnnie Goodwin never imagined she would have to bury her son, Edward. After his murder, she knew she had to bury him as she had brought him into the world: whole.
But it wasn’t that simple. The Butler County Sheriff’s Office found just 40% of the remains of Edward Goodwin, 32, in a pond in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, in 2017 – two years after he died and his body was wrapped in wire barbed wire and concrete blocks to make sure it would sink.
Forty percent was not enough for Mrs. Goodwin, but it was enough to make a case against her killers. The sheriff’s office continued the investigation, promising Ms Goodwin, her husband Ed and Edward’s son Gage, who was 15 at the time, that they would eventually return to collect the rest of the body, said Mrs Goodwin. The Independent.
For two long years, Ms Goodwin and her family hoped for closure, but the version of justice law enforcement gave them fell short, she said. The two men who took his son’s life were arrested, prosecuted and convicted, yet 60% of Edward remained at the bottom of this partially drained pond.
“It was either the time was [too] hot or [too] cold, or there was no manpower, [or they were] waiting in the highway department to get caught up,” Ms. Goodwin said in an interview on Friday. Eventually, after five years of empty promises from the Butler County Sheriff, she decided to drain the pond to retrieve the rest of Edward’s remains.
“I had to, I wouldn’t go another winter without finding my son,” she said.
On September 17, Mrs. Goodwin, her husband and grandson drove to the pond near County Road 572 with pumping equipment they had rented the day before.
“We were there at 8am, hooked up the pump at 8:30am and at 10:30am we saw my son’s bones sticking out of the water. We kept pumping and then we saw the cinder blocks and the bobwire” , she said.
Ms Goodwin then called Butler County Coroner Jim Akers, who rushed to the scene and stepped into the mud to help Gage retrieve the bones. It only took five hours to find the rest, she said.
“When I messaged Akers on Saturday he was shocked and was on the scene within 10 minutes,” Ms Goodwin said.
Ms Goodwin said it was ‘a sad day and a day of relief too’. A day she had been waiting for seven long years of unanswered calls and phone calls to Butler County Sheriff’s Mark Dobbs.
The excuses why the department was unable to recover the remains were varied, Ms Goodwin said.
“We were told that there were no remains left in this pond because of the animals carrying them to fox dens,” she said. The Independent. “Last time I spoke to Mark Dobbs was August 29, 2021. I’ve called and called and he’s never in the office, they say.”
Ms Goodwin said that after several messages were sent to Mr Dobb’s Facebook account, she was blocked from sending any more. The Independents requests for comment to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office are still unanswered.
“Nothing happened, then a day before Veterans Day last year they went pumping for four hours and told us they’d be back in the morning and never showed up,” he said. said Ms. Goodwin.
The sheriff’s office said they did not return to drain the pond because they did not have the equipment to perform the recovery, People reported for the first time.
“The highway department has all the equipment it needs and uses [to recover remains.] I called the main guy there and he said he hadn’t spoken to Mark Dobbs. They said it all [the sheriff] has to do is get an order and it will be done,” Ms Goodwin said.
“I was promised then and during the so-called trial on August 9, 2021 that we will have the remains of our son in two weeks if we accept the plea bargain. [the killers took].”
Two people have been charged with Edward’s murder, his close friends Ricky Hurt and Eldred Smit. Their charges were downgraded to second-degree murder and they were sentenced to 18 and 12 years in prison, KWOC reported.
Determined to close a painful chapter in his life and bring peace to his son’s soul, Mrs Goodwin and her husband hired the pumping equipment they needed to empty the pond, which was much smaller after its first emptying in 2017 by the authorities.
“I couldn’t bury him until I had everything I could find. Forty percent was not enough. And I couldn’t live knowing where the rest was when I found out because of the findings in 2017,” Ms Goodwin said. The Independent.
Ms Goodwin said no one from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office contacted her to apologize for the delay in finding the rest of Edward’s remains.
“I haven’t heard from anyone except the coroner, who at the time was not the coroner.
On Friday, Ms Goodwin received all of Edward’s remains from the funeral home.
Although she is not yet ready to bury her son, Ms Goodwin said, she is relieved to be able to offer closure to her husband and grandson.