Missouri mother discovers murdered son’s remains weighed down by blocks after draining pond HERSELF that his body was dumped in seven years ago – after authorities refused to complete search for it
A Missouri mother was finally able to reclaim the remains of her murdered son after she drained the pond his body was dumped in seven years ago.
Connie Goodwin, 57, along with her family, from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, took it upon herself to drain the unnamed pond after local authorities failed to finish the job they started in 2017.
They were in search of Edward Goodwin, 32, who was murdered by childhood friends after a drug deal went wrong in 2015.
In November 2017, the Butler County Sheriff’s Department drained part of the pond and found partial remains of Connie’s son, enough to convict Eldrid Smith and Rickey Hurt of his murder.
But with the case closed, sheriffs did not finish draining the pond and allow the Goodwins to lay to rest the remains of their family member.
A struggle ensued over the next five years as the Goodwins were given varying reasons as to why the job could not be completed.
‘There was always a reason. Either because of other crimes going on or the weather,’ Connie said.
‘We kept pushing and pushing for them to drain that water. It’s not the family’s responsibility to do that.’
Coroner Jim Akers (left) and son Gage, 22, (right) carefully bring Edward Goodwin’s remains – along with the cinder blocks that were used to weight his body down – out from the swamp and place them into a kayak while Connie Goodwin (back) watches on
Connie Goodwin, 57, stares out over the partially-drained pond where the body of her murdered son, Edward Goodwin, 32, was dumped in 2015
Connie Goodwin (left) was not able to rest until the remains of her son, Edward Goodwin,(right) were recovered from the pond they were dumped in after he was murdered by childhood friends over a drug deal gone wrong
Connie told the Riverfront Times that her family drained the pond themselves with rented machinery after five years of delays by local law enforcement.
It was a significant undertaking, with the pond estimated to be about 90 feet by 140 feet with a depth of about four feet.
The most recent attempt to drain the pond by the sheriff’s department had been last fall, but they failed to bring the water level down enough to find the remains.
This followed two other attempts which had brought the water level down significantly from its peak two years ago, but not enough to find Edward.
So Connie, along with her husband and her grandson, Gage, 22, who is Edward’s son, rented a sump pump over the weekend and finished the job themselves.
They got to work pumping the water at 8.30am and around two hours later had reduced the pond enough to be able to see what looked like bones sticking out of the sludge.
Connie then called Butler County Coroner Jim Akers, who came down to the scene and confirmed that the remains were those of Edward Goodwin.
‘[Local police] drained it down to where it was just within a few feet of being completely drained, but you have all the sediment, all the mud,’ Akers said of the initial attempt to find Edward’s remains in 2017.
Once the level of the pond was finally drained to the point where the family could see bones, they carefully placed them on a kayak
The kayak bearing Edward’s remains was pulled to shore by a rope attached to the kayak
The pelvis and femurs they recovered were enough to prosecute Smith and Hurt, who were convicted and are now in prison for the murder.
Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs said in 2015 that ‘there was a grudge over past drug transactions between Ed Goodwin and the group who eventually assaulted him.’
Edward had known the pair since grade school and had gone on to work together after graduation.
Connie described the son whose remains she needed to recover from the nameless pond as, ‘a hard worker who made some bad choices but was a good person.’
They had found skeletal remains, but the thick mud was still two and a half feet deep and ‘when you’re standing in it, it’s like you can’t move,’ Connie said.
Edward’s remains were in the center of what used to be the pond, where the mud was likely to be even thicker and deeper, Akers cautioned the family.
They found Edward’s remains attached by wire to cinder blocks that had been used by his killers to sink his corpse to the bottom of the pond.
With a lot of care, Gage and Akers raised the cinder blocks and skeletal remains into a kayak, which Connie then pulled ashore with a rope.
‘It was a sad day. It was a joyful day, too, because we could bring our son home,’ Connie said.