Arrest made in connection to deadly 2004 Ark. cold case

Crime

MELBOURNE, Ark. – A major breakthrough in a murder investigation that spans nearly 2 decades. An arrest has been made in the case of Rebekah Gould, who was killed in 2004. Gould was murdered just outside of Melbourne and 16 years later, her suspected killer was arrested in Oregon. 

Tiffany Ballard Moore will never forget her last interaction with her sister, Rebekah Gould, who was last seen alive September 2004. “They left, ended up heading back to, you know, the Mountain View area or Melbourne,” Moore remembered when talking about her sister, “and yeah, that was the last time I saw her.”

The 22-year-old’s body was found a few days later off of Highway 9, just outside of Melbourne. “This has been something that has plagued everybody here for a long period of time,” said Sheriff Jack Yancey with the Izard County Sheriff’s Office, who has been working on this case for years. 

Gould’s murder investigation has attracted national attention, with people anxiously awaiting a break in the case after nearly two decades. Monday morning, that break finally came in the form of an arrest. “We’ve gone through every single emotion that we possibly can,” Moore said after learning her sister’s killer has possibly been found. 44-year-old William Alama Miller was arrested in Oregon, after living in the Philippines for years.

Arkansas State Police had identified Miller as a suspect months before, and were waiting for his stateside return.

Yancey says the difficulty with this case was how briefly Miller was in Melbourne, only visiting from Texas for less than a week when the murder occurred. “[He] probably had only been in Izard county, we think, probably only four, five days,” Yancey said. 

The arrest was just what Gould’s family was waiting for, a welcome update after more than 15 years of questioning. “This is it,” Moore said. “I think this is going to move pretty fast, we already have everything back that we need.” Rebekah’s murder has sometimes been referred to as a “cold” case, but for law enforcement that have been working this investigation for years, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“There was somebody working it all the time, [we] never did quit,” Yancey said. As her family waits for justice to be served, they can finally begin the long path forward to healing. “I’m ready to see that person behind bars,” said Moore. 

Miller is being charged with 1st-degree murder in Izard county. He will remain in the Lane County jail in Eugene, Oregon awaiting an extradition hearing. It is still unclear what led police to initially suspect Miller or his connection to the victim. 

UPDATE:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Izard County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday an arrest has been made in connection to the 2004 death of Rebekah Gould.

According to the Izard County Sheriff’s Department, William Miller, 44 of Cottage Grove, Oregon, was arrested Saturday.

Arkansas State Police say a special agent with their Criminal Investigation Division made the arrest in Lane County, Oregon.

State police say the special agent assigned on the case learned Miller returned to his home after an extended stay in the Philippines.

Deputies say Miller was arrested on a first-degree murder charge.

ASP says at the time of Gould’s death, Miller was living in Texas and visited Izard County.

Gould, who was 22 at the time of her death, was last seen alive on the morning of Monday, September 20, 2004.

Gould’s body was found down a steep embankment along Highway 9 outside of Melbourne in Izard County on September 27, 2004.

ASP officials say Miller will stay in the Lane County Jail in Eugene, Oregon pending an extradition hearing.

Upon learning of the arrest, Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police stated, “The special agents assigned to this case never abandoned any hope of finding the necessary evidence and facts to lead them to a suspect and an arrest.  This case is a testament to the Criminal Investigation Division and the devotion the special agents assigned to the division possess in helping police and sheriff’s department across Arkansas with their toughest cases.”

This is a developing story.

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