After 16 years as an unsolved cold case, an arrest was finally made in the murder of Rebekah Gould. In this episode, AMU criminal justice professor Jennifer Bucholtz and investigative reporter George Jared talk about the arrest of William Miller, the first cousin of Rebekah’s boyfriend. Hear how William connected with Jennifer and George through their investigative Facebook group and the tips they received about his involvement. Also learn about the unusual probable cause affidavit from police, which has scant information and raises more questions than answers. Also learn about Jennifer and George’s recent presentation at CrimeCon 2021 and why they’re working to convince law enforcement agencies that citizen detectives and crowdsourcing efforts are powerful tools that could help police solve the 250,000+ outstanding cold cases around the country.
Listen to the Episode:
Read the Transcript:
Leischen Kranick: Welcome to the podcast, I’m your host, Leischen Kranick. Today, we’re going to get an update on a 16-year cold case that we’ve been following for the last two years now. I’m joined today by Jennifer Bucholtz, an AMU criminal justice faculty member who has been tirelessly working to get answers about who killed 22-year-old Rebekah Gould. Jen, welcome back.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Hi Leischen, it’s really good to be back on here with you. It’s been several months actually, since we got to record together. So, it’s my pleasure to be here.
Leischen Kranick: We have a lot to catch up on. I’m very excited. I’m also excited to be joined by investigative reporter George Jared, who has been quite literally writing about and working on this case since the day Rebekah went missing in Melbourne, Arkansas in September 2004. Hi, George, welcome back.
George Jared: Thanks for having me, Leischen. It’s been a while for me as well with you. But I think we have a lot more to talk about this time.
Leischen Kranick: And we do for sure. So, I am just so happy to start our conversation by sharing some really new and big updates with our listeners. I know there’s been some major developments in this case. So Jen, do you mind starting us off by just telling our listeners what happened in November of 2020?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Sure. Last November, we got news that an arrest had been made in the case. It actually happened on November 8, George’s birthday, so he got a really nice birthday present. And a guy named William Miller was arrested and charged with first degree murder, in the case of Rebekah Gould.
As we will discuss, during this episode, this came as a surprise to many of us. But William Miller is the first cousin of Casey McCullough. For those who aren’t familiar with the case, Casey McCullough was Rebekah’s boyfriend at the time of her murder, and she was killed inside his home.
Leischen Kranick: Interesting. So, was William Miller on your radar at all during your investigation?
Jennifer Bucholtz: He did come on our radar in the weeks before his arrest, actually. We were headed in that direction when the arrest was made. But we had not been able to completely follow through on some leads that we got, or some tips, I should say, just because we, as citizens, don’t have the same access to some confidential records that police do. But we had gotten a couple of tips in September of 2020 that pointed us in his direction and that we were chasing down.
Leischen Kranick: Interesting. So, before we move on to discuss where the case currently is at, I just really want to hear from both of you what it felt like when you got that news. I know you’ve been both working on this for just years and years at this point. George, do you mind sharing just what was your initial reaction when you heard someone had been arrested?
George Jared: At first, I was in shock, I think a little bit. I’ve been working on this case for going on now 17 years. It was interesting to me because at first I didn’t believe it, just to be honest with you, because I was getting some information from some sources. The police hadn’t stated that they had arrested anybody, there was no press release, nothing like that.
So we were kind of working behind the scenes. I do want to say something about what Jennifer said, as far as our focusing on William Miller. We had a conversation the day before he was questioned, a pretty lengthy conversation about him. So, we were well aware that the needle was starting to point towards him.
I’m not saying that we knew definitively that he was involved in the murder, but he was very much on our radar at the time. And like Jennifer said, it was kind of astonishing for me, because this is the first murder case, and I’ve covered dozen since, but I actually grew up in Oregon, and the guy was actually arrested on my birthday, which just actually floored me.
Leischen Kranick: A lot of, I don’t want to say, coincidence, but is that called synchronicity when things just come together in kind of a bizarre way. So, like Jen said, what a great present for you after almost 17 years of working on this case. That’s just huge. What about you, Jen? What was your initial reaction?
Jennifer Bucholtz: It was definitely a little bit shock too like George said. I think it was more being baffled because the person we always assumed was going to be arrested for this was not at least based on our source of information. And we didn’t know who was arrested right away. We had just gotten some information behind the scenes that someone had been arrested, and that someone was not in Arkansas.
So, it was confusing for a couple hours. I also didn’t reach out to anybody because I didn’t want to reveal my sources or betray their trust. So I had to keep it to myself for most of that Sunday. Then later that night it leaked because of someone connected to William’s family. So it got out on social media Sunday night and then Monday morning it became official. And finally the state police did put out a statement midday on that Monday.
That’s when we found out that it was William Miller. Then I think is when my shock set in because we had been looking in his direction trying to figure out how he could have been involved. Then he turns up being the one in handcuffs, and my mind was just all over the place, as you can imagine, totally scatterbrained for a while.
Leischen Kranick: I remember you texting me, and I literally jumped up and down, just being so excited that finally someone had been arrested. So, I just can’t even imagine what the two of you felt.
George Jared: And Leischen I’ll say this, I’ve worked on many, many cases, and I warned Jennifer years ago, I said, “I know a lot of families, I know a lot of journalists, I know a lot of investigators who never ever get any type of closure, some of these cases never get solved.” And I said the better chances that we will never get closure.
Jennifer Bucholtz: I remember being very emotional. Like when I finally got to talk to Rebekah’s dad, Monday morning. Of course, that just triggered a lot of emotions. I mean, I found myself just spontaneously breaking out into tears throughout the next couple of days. Because you can imagine it’s an overwhelming feeling, and just overwhelming amount of emotions that go through your mind.
Leischen Kranick: Well, I’m so glad it’s come to this, and I know his trial is coming up. But I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the police involvement in terms of what information they’ve released about William Miller. I know they released a probable cause affidavit that has some confusing or possibly troubling information in there. Can you tell our listeners, what is a probable cause affidavit and what was in it that gave you pause?
George Jared: I guess I could start off with that. A probable cause affidavit is the totality of an investigation against a suspect in a criminal case. What I mean by that is, is when an investigating officer feels like they have enough information that they build a case against the suspect, they take that case to a judge, and then a judge signs an arrest warrant, if the judge feels like the case is solid enough. So the probable cause is the essence of the investigation against the suspect.
So, in the state of Arkansas, and in many states, the probable cause once it’s acted upon, and what I mean by that is, once the arrest warrant is issued, the person is arrested, once that happens, then the probable cause becomes what we call a dead document. And what that means is, it’s no longer active. And when it’s no longer a part of the active investigative file, then it is a public document.
The problem in this case is, is that they did release a “probable cause.” But it’s basically a narration of some parts of the interrogation and other aspects of the case that led them to William Miller.
For instance, in this probable cause, we don’t have any motive listed in the probable cause. He never states in there, why he killed her. Well, I can tell you right now, it’s going to be impossible to arrest someone if you don’t know why they committed a crime.
Also, there were other details that were missing as well. Like his connection to Rebekah, how heknew her. These are obvious questions that any interrogator is going to ask, and we know that William Miller was questioned for hours on end, and then he gave what—and Jennifer, you can probably push the ball further on this—he gave what we would consider a confession, but the definition of confession is way different than what people commonly believe is a confession.
You might admit to some culpability in a crime, but you may not actually admit that you committed the crime. And that could still be construed as a confession later, like when the police released that to us. So, Jennifer, I guess you could probably talk a little bit more about that.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yeah. So what was actually released was a version of William’s confession. We did not actually get his actual statement that he signed, or any audio or video of him actually confessing to this. The only thing that they released was the questioning officer’s version of that confession, which is very incomplete. Like George said, it’s missing so much crucial information, and quite frankly, aside from possibly the make and model of the vehicle that William drove that day, there’s not a single detail in this that only the killer would know. That obviously leaves us with actually more questions than answers.
And obviously, there’s something that led the investigator from the Arkansas State Police to fly all the way to Oregon, and bring in William, his brother, and mother for questioning. They didn’t just go out there on a whim. That information is missing from this probable cause affidavit.
So, we know that there’s a lot more information that they’ve got to have tying William to this murder, but for whatever reason right now, they’re just not releasing it, which of course, is frustrating because it’s supposed to be public knowledge at this point. If and when it goes to trial, this information is going to come out anyways.
Leischen Kranick: So Jen, you have a lot more experience in terms of understanding police procedure and how things typically work in a case like this. Are probable cause affidavits generally a lot more robust? Do they include a lot more information, generally? Like is it very surprising that this is a short document, an incomplete document, like you said?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Absolutely. Probable cause affidavit is usually pages upon pages long, and it’s supposed to list 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bullet points. Every single thing they have tying or leading them to believe that this particular person is connected to this crime or committed this particular crime.
And in this case, there’s only one thing, which is the officer’s version of William’s confession, which again, is just totally incomplete. There is nothing else listed. So, this is a very short document, and I’ve never seen a probable cause affidavit be this short or incomplete. Have you, George?
George Jared: Never. I wouldn’t even classify this as a probable cause affidavit. I know that’s what they call it. Like Jennifer said, typically, in a murder case, it’s going to be page after page, and it’s going to be a narrative of the beginning of the investigation, what led the investigators to certain points in the investigation, what they found out, what led to this, what led to that, it connects all the dots. This does none of that. In fact, it just throws all the dots out there with no connection at all.
The bedrock of any case is motive. Why did this person commit this crime? He’s the first cousin of a person that Rebekah had a romantic relationship with. She was in his house. She slept in his bed the night before, and we have no idea why his cousin showed up on a random Monday morning. He’s from Texas. He’s in Arkansas, for whatever reason, he shows up there and he hits her, he claims to hit her multiple times in the head with a piano leg, and then he goes and dumps her body, cleans up the mess and drives back to Texas. None of this makes any sense at all.
Jennifer Bucholtz: No, and it doesn’t even match up with some of the science. We have established based on Rebekah’s autopsy that she was hit two times. I sound like a broken record going over and over this again. In this version of the confession, supposedly, William said he hit her multiple times. And to me multiple means more than two. But that’s not true. So it doesn’t even match up with the actual science behind this murder.
Leischen Kranick: What other things jumped out to you from this? I know there was some question about the vehicle that William was driving.
George Jared: Yeah. The first thing that I told Jennifer when it was released, she got it, she sent it to me. And the first thing I saw was the S-10 pickup truck and he hidit. I told her, I said reading through this, there’s nothing in here except for that truck.
Why that’s interesting is—and Jennifer’s done most of the or done all of the investigative research or most of it, we’ve had other people help us along the way—but we had never been able to find any record of William Miller owning an S-10 pickup truck. Now we do know that Casey McCullough owned an S-10 pickup truck. As Jennifer has said many times, why would he hide it in a field behind Casey’s house or next to it?
It’s kind of unclear exactly where he hid it. He said he hid it. Then he goes up to the door, knocks on the door, pretends to be on the phone talking to someone, and even, I think, Jennifer correct me if I’m wrong, there’s another sentence where he says he continues to pretend meaning he was on there for some bit of time. And then he grabs the piano leg, goes in the room and kills her.
Well, I can just tell you, as Jennifer stated just a few minutes ago, none of this matches any of the known details, any of the things that we have investigated or the conclusions that we’ve come to, none of it matches. So we still have a lot of questions as to what the real probable cause in this case is.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Not to mention that there’s no talk or wording about the cleanup of the trailer in this version of the confession. So, who did the cleanup in the aftermath of this murder? That should be one of those crucial details that obviously only the killer will know and should be included in a full confession, and that is just completely missing. It does mention that he removed her body from the house, put it in the bed of his pickup truck, ostensibly in broad daylight on a Monday and drove around the area and disposed of her body.
But then again, William hasn’t been charged with tampering with a corpse or tampering with evidence or obstruction of justice. Why? If they believe he acted completely alone, and did all these crimes in addition to the murder, why isn’t he being charged with them? That’s another thing that just really bothers me.
Leischen Kranick: Wow, Jen, can you talk a little bit about how Rebekah’s body ended up where it was and how you speculate it got there?
Jennifer Bucholtz: I would love to know the answer to that, I don’t at this time. Like I mentioned a couple minutes ago, it seems really, really risky and unlikely that someone is willing to put a dead body in the open bed of their pickup truck or their cousin’s pickup truck or whatever truck William had, and drive around the local area trying to find a suitable spot to dispose of her.
That’s one of those glaring spaces in this probable cause affidavit that’s missing. What route did William take, and why did he pick the spot that he put her in? And it still goes back to why even remove her from the house to begin with? It’s not your house, you don’t live there, you don’t even live in the state. But that’s another issue. George, what do you think?
George Jared: You and I talked about this extensively in the past, those roads that you would have to take to get from Casey’s house, to the spot where her body was found, you’re going to have to have some knowledge of that area, you’re not just going to happen upon where she was found. It’s an ancient gravel road. It’s very hard to traverse, even in the best of conditions, I think you and Jesse tried to traverse it in some of the worst of conditions.
And even William Miller, when he got on our Facebook page, he himself stated in one of the comments or it might have been a message to you, I can’t remember at this point, which one it was. But even he said a local would have to have had knowledge, he would have to be local to know this spot.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Yeah, I agree. I mean, we had to use Google Maps to get from Casey’s to that spot, using the back roads. It is not intuitive by any means. There’s no directional signs, road signs or anything like that.
George Jared: When I was originally investigating this case, like about a year after her body was found, how I found the road, because you can’t just find it, I was actually at the courthouse and I took out some of their old county maps, like the big ones, you know that you fill up a whole table. I just happened to notice a thoroughfare that connected. I was like, “You could take this ancient gravel road all the way.” And what it is, it’s essentially a logging road, like where they would log trees, and then some locals would use it like take four wheelers and if you had a truck that could get through there, you might drive a truck down there. That’s how I found it.
Leischen Kranick: So it sounds like this probable cause affidavit definitely has more questions than answers. I think it’s very cool, I want to make sure that we talk a little bit about some of the opportunities that you two have had to share your work on this case and build more awareness about Rebekah’s case.
So, very exciting. You guys are actually just getting back from a big presentation at CrimeCon talking about this case, can you share with our audience what that experience was like and a little bit about your presentation?
Jennifer Bucholtz: We had the most amazing opportunity, just a little over a week ago. A couple months ago, though, we were invited to speak and present on Rebekah’s case at CrimeCon. And CrimeCon is an annual conference, it started in 2017, so this was the fourth year. And basically, it’s the biggest true crime gathering and conference in the world. This was really an incredible experience that there was no way we were going to turn down.
We put together almost a one hour presentation, I felt very grateful, because they gave us the very first presentation slot of the conference. So, I think we had probably the best turnout that we could ever hope for.
George Jared: Yeah. It was exciting for me. I mean, I do a lot of public speaking, so that’s not something that really intimidates me very easily. But when you hear the roar of that crowd, especially when they started showing pictures of Rebekah’s case, it got me going a little bit. I mean, I’m not going to lie to you and to get out there and to talk about her case, and then to have people come up to me. It’s strange, because of all the different phases of this case, because I was there the day her mother handed me the missing poster. I was there the day her body was found. I was there years later when her dad couldn’t get anybody anywhere to do anything about this case, and then few years later, I was on the Hell and Gone podcast with Catherine Townsend.
And then to meet Jennifer and her, and we’ve been together on this for almost three years now on this odyssey, and then to be there. And for people to know about her case. It was kind of exhilarating in a way, to be honest with you.
Jennifer Bucholtz: It was definitely an adrenaline rush in a way, in a good way. But George and I got in the night before and we were up in the hotel room, just talking through our presentation, and then my husband had gone downstairs to check out our room that we were going to be presenting in and he came back, he’s like, “I think you guys might want to come down and look at the room.” And I’m thinking, “Okay, we’re probably going to have the tiniest room or whatever.” We walked into this ballroom, and it’s the second biggest ballroom in the entire place. It had 700 chairs set up.
Normally, there’d probably be over 1,000, because I’ve been to the last two CrimeCons and I would estimate, there’s about 3,000 to 4,000 people in attendance, but they had to reduce the number this year because of COVID. So, there was 1,500 attendees in person at the conference, and we had almost half of them at our presentation. The room was almost full.
George Jared: What was interesting there was, Jennifer had brought a prop piano leg, just something to have to show the audience that she carried it around. And people were taking pictures of it and looking at it and staring at her wondering why she was just walking around with this piano leg. I mean, everywhere we went, I would watch people’s eyes and they would fixate on that leg.
Jennifer Bucholtz: It worked out so well, though, because it’s such a great talking point, and like conversation starter, so many people came over and said, “Oh, you’re the one with the piano leg.” So, it was really great, and a lot of people want to check it out and see because I gave some analysis during the presentation on my thoughts, on the viability of that being a weapon. And so people were interested to hold it themselves and even swing it and get their own opinion on whether it may have been used in this crime.
Leischen Kranick: Well, and that’s the one piece from the affidavit that I was really glad to hear that he acknowledged using a piano leg because that was always such a big question mark. Was it really this piano leg? And what are the odds that a random stranger essentially would know that it was loose so it had to be someone who knew about it. I was glad to hear that that actually seems to be the case, although I guess we won’t know for sure until the actual trial.
But that’s huge, so congrats to you two for presenting at CrimeCon. I know as a fellow true crime junkie, I know that it must have been pretty awesome to be around people oflike-minded passions behind true crime. That’s very awesome.
Jennifer Bucholtz: And it was just an honor to be able to speak on Rebekah’s behalf, give her her voice back, educate people about her case and speak for her father too. I mean, we included video of him in our presentation. But, unfortunately, due to personal reasons, he wasn’t able to be on stage with us. I feel like we did justice for him as well, at least I hope so, and I hope that he’s, I mean, I know he’s happy with what we presented. But it was an honor to be able to do that for them.
Leischen Kranick: Well, and one thing that has been a theme throughout our podcasts and a lot of your work, and I know Dr. Gould has obviously not been very happy with how this case has been handled by law enforcement. But could you talk a little bit, I know you went into that detail in your presentation, but can you just talk about the law enforcement aspect of this case?
George Jared: Yeah, I think that the problem is, what happened in this case, it’s a common thing. It happens in a lot of cases, you’re an investigator, you develop your theory of the case. That’s what every investigator does in every single criminal case, in every jurisdiction in this country and you develop your theory. Like a lot of people, sometimes those investigators get blinders, and they’re not willing to accept other facts that don’t fit their theory, they’re not willing to accept other circumstances that could contradict what they think. That’s exactly what happened in this case.
In this case, the primary investigator, he wasn’t the original investigator, he came on a short time after her body was found. He had the case for probably 14 to 15 years, and he thought that somebody committed this crime that did not commit this crime. And there was no evidence that pointed towards him, it was just his own theory, and so he spent years and years and years trying to prove a theory and that’s why it never got solved.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a new investigator comes along with no bias towards any particular theory about the case. He comes in, and within eight months, the case is solved or not solved, but we have an arrest, which is a significant development. But I always remind people, I’ve covered lots of cases where there’s been arrest, I’ve covered several cases where there’s confessions, and some of those cases are to this day are still not adjudicated, because this is not the end of the process.
I think for someone like Dr. Gould, he spent his own money, his own time, years and years of mental and emotional anguish, just wanting the person who did this to his daughter to be behind bars, and after a while, he got frustrated. I know Dr. Gould, I’ve known him for a long time. The first eight, nine years, he thought the police were doing a great job. He thought they were updating him enough. But then, about five years ago, he started getting weary, and he kept asking me, he goes, “Why is this taking so long?” And I would say, “Doc …” I call them Doc. I’d say, “Doc, I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense to me, this is actually a pretty simple case, in a lot of levels.”
She was struck in the head, like Jennifer said, we think twice, that’s as many blows as we think she could possibly could have sustained. And she was dumped on the side of the road. All the factors that lead into that are pretty simple ones. I mean, it had to be someone who was familiar with the house, someone who’s comfortable there, someone who, if their fingerprints or DNA or other forensic evidence from that person was found in there, wouldn’t have been out of place. That’s a pretty small pool of people. There wasn’t any foreign DNA, there was no foreign fingerprints. So, it just didn’t make any sense.
And again, we don’t take any credit for any of this at all. Not one shred. But even back before we got the new investigator, Jennifer and I would talk for hours, “How is this case not solved? I mean, it’s not that hard.”
Then we got proved right by the fact that another investigator came in in the middle of the COVID pandemic, by the way, when everything shut down and access to people was so much harder. And eight months later, there’s an arrest. So, what does that tell you?
Jennifer Bucholtz: Something that I didn’t get the chance to say during our presentation at CrimeCon, but I’ll say now is, one of the people that came to us last September with a tip about William, specifically said, I have this in writing, said, “I’ve had this information for a long time, but I never went to the previous investigator with it, because I knew he would not listen to me.”
And that is just ridiculous for a citizen of the state or county to feel that way about an investigator that they literally, there’s just no point for them going to report a tip. A tip that probably was crucial in uncovering William’s involvement.
George Jared: Jennifer, I think you’re understating that, I think you can draw a straight line from that person’s tip to him being arrested. I mean, I think you and I both agree on that.
Jennifer Bucholtz: We’ll find out one day for sure what led them in William’s direction. But we do know that that tip played an important role at a minimum.
Leischen Kranick: That is just so heartbreaking on so many different levels that first of all, citizens don’t feel like they can go to the police with something so important, and then also just the reality of how this case was treated. Because I’ve heard you say in the past, Jen, like this could have been solved in the first month, not 16 years later. So, I’m sure that’s especially hard for her family to accept.
Jennifer Bucholtz: I mean, we know now that William was at Casey’s trailer a day or two before the murder. And the neighbor reported this blue car with Texas plates with the man and woman, and we’re 99% sure now that was William and his mother, and they obviously didn’t follow that lead.
George Jared: And I’ll interject at this point and say, I heard that information about this car with the Texas plates. I heard that 48 hours after she was reported missing. So this story was all over the place even back then, everyone knew.
Jennifer Bucholtz: I would really love to know if police ever asked any of the McCulloughs about that car, and if the McCulloughs acknowledged that that car was there, who did they say was in it? And if they said William’s name, why? I mean, it’s just infuriating, then why wasn’t he brought in and interviewed? Because as you know, anybody, a victim comes in contact with in the days prior to her murder should be interviewed extensively. Even that week she was missing, it’s possible they could have figured this out.
Leischen Kranick: So, as George said, this isn’t over yet. Can you give us an idea of where this case stands? Are we still set for trial in August?
George Jared: I’ve said from the beginning, I’m pretty clear on the record, I deal with a lot of these types of proceedings, I told everybody, this will never happen in August unless they get a plea deal. And I don’t think a plea deal is imminent, I haven’t heard anything to that effect. I don’t think that it’s going to happen in August, and Jennifer and I’ve talked about it, our best case scenario, maybe hopefully, maybe the beginning of the year. These things get pushed or attorneys need more time, they want to build their case too, the prosecutor wants to build this case against William, the defense attorneys want to find the best defense for William.
So, this is going to be a longer process than people are used to. I tend to be a little more pessimistic, but I told Jennifer, I talked to her earlier today as a matter of fact, and I said, “Hopefully, by this time next year, we will have some finality, some answers.” Hopefully this thing will have come to a close but as of right now, it’s going to be awhile, so people need to just get ready for that.
Jennifer Bucholtz: And we’re still waiting on the suppression hearing, and what that is, is a hearing in front of the judge where the defense argues that certain pieces of evidence should be inadmissible in court for whatever reason.
I’m not saying this happened at all, but just an example, say a confession was coerced, and the defense feels they can prove that, they can argue that in front of a judge and say because the confession was coerced it should be inadmissible, and if the judge agrees, he’ll say, “It’s inadmissible.” Then that means the prosecution can’t use a person’s confession as part their case.
So, until the suppression hearing happens, which it hasn’t, neither side knows for sure what evidence is going to be allowed in court. And obviously, the evidence is going to dictate what the prosecutor does and how the defense plans their strategy. So we’re only two months away from August. Now, even if the suppression hearing happens today, I just know realistically, that’s not enough time for either side to put together their case. I can almost guarantee this isn’t going to happen in August.
George Jared: That is 100% right. As far as suppressing his confession, about the only thing that I could think of off the top of my head is if he wasn’t properly Mirandized, or if they used some like tool, what I mean tool as far as an interrogation tool that they use, that a judge might say is unconstitutional, or something like that, which is just very rare. I mean, if you’ve been properly Mirandized and you admit any type of culpability, it’s right there in your Miranda, anything you say can and will be used against you. So, I’m pretty sure whatever he said to the police will be allowed to be used in court. And like you said, how many months do you need to prepare a defense, to prepare a prosecution after the ground rules are set?
Jennifer Bucholtz: That may very well dictate persons that each side calls as witnesses, and so on and so forth. So, it’s obviously a lot of intricate planning on both sides to go forth in a murder trial.
Leischen Kranick: So unfortunately, it sounds like more waiting. But, of course, we’re taking steps, at least in the right direction to getting some real answers. I wanted us to just take a step back and look at the big picture of what you two have really been involved in here.
Jen, you’re a private investigator, George you’re an investigative reporter, so you have some credentials behind you. But essentially, it is citizen investigations. I don’t know if that’s the right terminology. But it’s really people in the public getting involved in helping to solve some of these cold cases. Can you just share a little bit about what this, I don’t know if it’s a movement or what it’s called, but it’s really become very popular and very helpful to law enforcement. Can you just share a little bit about your perspective on this type of investigation?
Jennifer Bucholtz: One of our goals at CrimeCon was to include a call to action, I would call it, in our presentation. I think we did a pretty good job of that, because we got a lot of good feedback. Basically, what we tried to do is illustrate that the 250,000+ unsolved homicides in our country just can’t be handled by law enforcement alone, they just don’t have the resources, it’s not their fault. They just don’t have the manpower or resources to solve all those cases.
And so why not allow citizens with skills and experience and knowledge and education or whatever that can help to pitch in and volunteer their time to get some forward progress, or at least raise awareness for some of these cases?
Because sometimes that’s all it takes. Someone puts up a billboard, and here comes the tip that solves a case. I mean, obviously, that’s not how it was easily done in our case, but in some cases, that’s happened.
So what’s wrong with using crowdsourcing and social media, and podcasting like this, and writing articles and stuff, to raise awareness for these cases, and get people interested, because they do want to help? I mean, that’s a huge theme that if you ever attend CrimeCon, everybody there just wants to help, they just want to provide assistance or comfort or whatever, for these victims’ families.
So, we’re still in the very early stages of trying to figure out exactly what our methodology is going to be. But we definitely want to continue to work together and with other people who want to volunteer with us to apply what we learned on this case to others.
And so we’re in the very early stages of discussing, like I said, what our methodology is going to be and how we’re going to go forth. But we had several people approach us at CrimeCon, family members who lost a loved one to murder and asked for our assistance. So, we want to at least take a look at those cases that were brought to us and see if maybe, if we can provide some assistance to those families, and see how we can go forth.
George Jared: Yeah, I agree with everything you said. There’s also another benefit, and I think that law enforcement really needs to think about this, and I’m talking about law enforcement in a general sense. There are certain things that the law allows law enforcement to do and not do.
So, they have to Mirandize people to talk to them, whereas a citizen like me or Jennifer, we can walk up and talk to anybody, anytime, and we can generate leads and tips and information that they can’t legally generate. So they need to really think about the fact that citizen detectives, used in the right way, could be a very invaluable resource for them.
I’ll give you a good example, the Rebekah Gould case, William Miller, almost a year to the day before he got arrested, joined our Facebook page and was posting messages on our page and was privately messaging Jennifer.
I cannot believe that an investigator would not find value in the suspect now in this murder, him talking about how he thought the murder went down, the characteristics of the person or persons that he thought could have done it, how he talked about his own family members. I mean, all of that was right there in Jennifer’s DMs. I just can’t imagine that a detective would not want that information, and you could translate that probably to virtually every unsolved case in this country.
Leischen Kranick: Well, and it’s just my hope that law enforcement can step back, it’s almost about checking their ego a little bit and saying that the public really has a lot to offer. People, like you said, Jen, really want to help and have the manpower, have the time to do some of these, like really time-consuming investigations into public records, if only they were just given the chance to help and a little bit of information from law enforcement. I really feel like law enforcement’s almost missing an opportunity to really utilize the public’s help in solving all these unsolved cases. How many did you say Jen are unsolved?
Jennifer Bucholtz: We have over 250,000 in our country. I mean, there was another presenter at CrimeCon who threw that same figure out and he called it a national crisis. And I agree, it is a national crisis. Like I said, it’s not law enforcement’s fault that they just don’t have the manpower and resources to handle it all, but let us help.
By the way, there’s legal contracts out there, they could have people sign a nondisclosure agreement, whatever, that if you do reveal something you’re not supposed to, they can charge you with a crime. Most people are going to be willing to sign something like that, if they really want to help, and they’re not going to reveal that information publicly.
I mean, there’s so much more that George and I know from behind the scenes that no one else besides the investigating authority’s ever going to know. That’s because we know how to do the job correctly and keep things private when they need to be kept private.
Leischen Kranick: Well, again, I want to commend the two of you for all your hard work, your dedication, and really your contribution to helping make this case. So, congrats to the two of you for all your hard work.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Thanks, Leischen, I appreciate that.
George Jared: Leischen, thank you very much.
Leischen Kranick: As we wrap up, any lasting thoughts that you wanted to get out there?
Jennifer Bucholtz: I’ll follow up with one more thing for listeners who aren’t on George and my Facebook group for Rebekah. It’s called Unsolved Murder of Rebekah Gould. Part of our vision for the future is we’re going to morph that page towards another case that we want people to help us with. So, if you want to join and you want to be involved in my future efforts, please become a member of our group and we’ll keep you up to date.
Leischen Kranick: Excellent. Well, I’m glad to know that it’s not over, hopefully you’re just going to keep checking these off your list and helping other families. Again, great work to the two of you. Thank you so much for sitting down and talking and sharing some of these updates. I really appreciate it.
Jennifer Bucholtz: Absolutely. Thanks for having us.
George Jared: Yes, thank you for having us.
Leischen Kranick: And thank you to our listeners, be well and stay safe.