A Murder in Melbourne, Arkansas


On September 20, 2004 Rebekah Gould, a 22-year-old college student, walked into a gas station in Melbourne, Arkansas to buy a breakfast sandwich and coffee.

She was never seen alive again. A week later, searchers found her body in a wooded area off a desolate stretch of Highway 9 near Melbourne, Arkansas. It's been 14 years, and Rebekah's killer has never been found.

2004 coverage from the Baxter Bulletin on microfiche.

Rebekah's murder has become one of the most notorious cold cases in the region. I have a personal connection with the case: My sister Caroline is close friends with Rebekah's sister Danielle and my dad still lives in the area.

In the first episode of Hell and Gone, we head down to the Arkansas and dive headfirst into the 14-year-old cold case. I've fallen down hundreds of Internet rabbit holes over the years while investigating this case, but there is no substitute for old-school gumshoe detective work. Pounding the pavement. Or, in this case, pounding the dirt paths through the woods.

To understand Rebekah's death, we need to re-create the last weekend of her life. We take a drive to the Possum Trot gas station and other key locations in our timeline to try to pin down how long it takes to get from place to place.

And while we dig in to the timeline, Taylor, James and I are also working to gain the trust of Rebekah's family, and the community.

We meet her sister Danielle, who has been deeply affected by losing Rebekah. Danielle reveals details about the last conversation she ever had with Rebekah, and shares information about the case. We talk to Rebekah's father, local dentist Dr. Larry Gould, and hear about his fight to find out what happened to his beloved daughter. We also meet local journalist George Jared, who has covered Rebekah's murder extensively over the years.

Searching the microfiche at the local newspaper.

At the end of our first week, our murder board is now filled with the basic facts of the case. But we have a long road to travel, and lots of doors to knock on, before we can finally answer the question: Who killed Rebekah Gould?