MELBOURNE, Ark. – An Arkansas cold case quickly heated up as social media may have lured the cross-country killer out of silence nearly two decades later.
Rebekah Gould disappeared in 2004 while on a weekend trip home from college.
George Jared is a true crime podcaster and one of the first journalists on scene when Gould vanished.
“She stopped to get coffee and a couple of breakfast sandwiches and she headed back to her sort-of ex-boyfriend’s house,” Jared said.
Gould was last seen alive at a convenience store, formerly The Possum Trout.
About a week later and miles away, a search team found Gould’s body near Highway 9 outside Melbourne in Izard County.
For the last 18 years, Jared would reflect on his hand-written reporter notes from that day, wondering, who killed Gould.
He teamed up with his friend, Jen Bucholtz, who lives thousands of miles away and is a police investigator in Colorado.
“We used open-source information,” Bucholtz said. “We did not have a case file.”
The duo knew the mystery could be solved.
“Spent hours and hours working with different weapons and dummies and ourselves,” Bucholtz recalled.
The pair started the Unsolved Murder of Rebekah Gould Facebook page, which quickly took off with a global audience.
“We had a guy join our page from the Philippines,” Jared said.
“William Miller came onto our radar pretty early on,” Bucholtz recalled.
Everyone wondered why would William Miller, the man from the Philippines, be interested in an Arkansas cold case?
Word from Miller quickly appeared in Bucholtz’s inbox.
“He first messaged me a month or so later,” she said.
Miller, who just pleaded guilty in October of 2022 to Gould’s murder, sent Bucholtz a Facebook message with a newspaper clipping.
“We would have a post, and he would say something, and you know, people would be commenting,” Jared said.
Miller also left a comment on a post about the trails where Gould’s body was found.
“He kept saying things to us that were very, very suspicious,” Jared said.
Then, there was a private message from Miller to the team.
Another member of the page started to question Miller’s interest and used her experience to find a connection between Miller and Gould.
“She’s into genealogy and she quickly figured out that William was the first cousin of Rebekah’s sort of ex-boyfriend that she had been staying with the weekend prior to the murder,” Jared said.
Bucholtz said things started coming together after that discovery.
“We were coming to conclusions that had never been discovered before,” Bucholtz recalled.
The crime-fighting duo wondered if Miller could be the killer, so they played it safe.
“We took those communications and we gave them to the state police,” Jared said.
Troopers started to monitor Miller’s comments then took him into custody. Months later, investigators said he confessed to the killing.
Miller has been sentenced to 40 years in prison on earlier this month after his guilty plea to a charge of first-degree murder.
The podcasters believe Miller outed himself.
“Social media definitely lured him out — we know that because there was no trace of him, anywhere, really until some of these Facebook groups came to be,” Bucholtz said.
Jared said Miller told Gould’s family that he snapped at something Gould said.
The podcasters believe it is Miller’s guilt that led him to social media.
“It was the perfect crime until he allowed his mind to take control,” Jared said.