PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Twenty-three-year old Maranda Goldman was a bubbly, energetic young lady with a contagious personality. But on Oct. 9, 2015 she was reported missing.
Thirty-three days later her body was found in a field…not far from a Pine Bluff parking lot where she was last seen.
Two years have passed since Goldman was killed. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, but has yet to give any details as to the cause.
In a special Unsolved Spotlight report, Fox 16’s Kevin Kelly, talks with investigators and family members. For the first time, both are providing new information as to who might have killed her.
When the wind blows…the angels at Maranda Goldman’s headstone – come to life. It’s a refreshing sound that provides her mother, Sandy Goldman and her two daughters, Ashton and Marissa… with a bit of comfort.
“I know she’s in heaven. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about her,” says Ashton. “I just want justice for my daughter,” adds Sandy.
Maranda grew up in Pine Bluff. Her friends called her gregarious, fun-loving and full of life. Unfortunately, drugs were also part of her life. Eventually they altered her spirit, her mood and her circle of friends.
“She had been to rehab and stuff and had just got with the wrong people,” says Sandy.
In 2015, after living in various places, Maranda called her mom asking for forgiveness, a warm place to live and for help.
“She was ready to get right, start living her life right,” Sandy continues.
But on Oct. 8, 2015, just two weeks after moving in with her mom, everything changed.
“It was just not a good day,” she says.
According to the police report, Maranda left her mother’s home telling her she was going to apply for a job at the Goodwill in Pine Bluff. The report also said at 5:37 that evening Maranda called her mom, telling her she was heading home. But her family told me she also sent her mom a text message saying there was a problem with her car.
“I knew when I hadn’t heard from her that something bad had happened,” Sandy says.
Hours passed and communication with Maranda went silent. So Marissa and her mom drove to Goodwill…only to find her car abandoned.
“Maranda would not have gotten in a vehicle with any stranger. Maranda had to have gotten into a vehicle of someone she knew,” says Marissa.
But if true, why wouldn’t she have called her mom and who did she leave with? There were no surveillance cameras and no witnesses. Maranda had simply vanished.
“The whole time that she was missing, I was out there in the streets. I’m printing off like 500 flyers at a time, handing them out to everybody,” Marissa says.
Days went by, then weeks…and still no sign of Maranda.
“I really thought we’d have solved it by now,” says Detective Captain Terry Hopson of the Pine Bluff Police Department.
Hopson says they have followed countless tips, including possible sightings of Maranda at different locations. But all of them ended up being false leads… except one.
“That was as anonymous as you could get,” he says.
Hopson is referring to an anonymous phone call that was made 30 days after she was reported missing. The phone call was made to a different law enforcement agency. On the line was a female who told the officer that Maranda’s body could be found in a wooded area northeast of 38th St. and Ohio St. in Pine Bluff.
“Me and one of my sergeants had actually been in that area back in the summer. So I took my four wheeler and got everybody over there and I started on that side with my four-wheeler. In five minutes I found her,” Hopson says.
Maranda’s body was too hard to recognize. But jewelry at the scene, along with her cell phone, helped police quickly identify her.
“I knew they were Maranda’s and I just didn’t want to believe it,” says Sandy.
How Maranda ended up in a wooded area and why remains a mystery. But her family strongly believes her past may have something to do with what happened.
“She had been with some bad people and someone said that she was going to snitch,” adds Sandy.
As for that anonymous phone call, police were unable to trace it but are confident the female has what’s needed to crack the case.
“I know for a fact that person knows. I know that. There’s no doubt. We need that person to call us,” Detective Hopson says.
Maranda’s family has been praying for someone to come forward for the past two years.
“I’m not going to rest until I know what happened to her,” says Marissa.
Her mom just wants closure.
Sandy says, “I just want justice for my daughter…as to who murdered her.”
According to Det. Hopson, there is a substantial reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. However, he is not disclosing how much that reward is. If you know anything about the murder of Maranda Goldman call the Pine Bluff Police Department at (870) 541-5300 or (870) 730-2090. You can remain anonymous.