A Missouri mother will finally be able to rest her son after draining the pond where his slain body was dumped seven years ago.
Connie Goodwin and her grandson Gage Goodwin recovered the remains of Edward Goodwin, Gage’s father, from the bottom of a pond in Poplar Bluff on Saturday, local publication Riverfront Times reported.
Edward Goodwin’s partial remains have been under murky water since he was killed by two former friends in the summer of 2015.
His killers Eldred Smith and Ricky Hurt – who are each serving time for the murder – tied cinder blocks to the 32-year-old’s body and dumped him in the unnamed pond off County Road 572, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Department.
The motive was an alleged drug deal gone wrong and led to a grudge between the parties, the Daily American Republic reported at the time.
Two years after the murder, in November 2017, the sheriff’s department cleared out part of the pound and spotted partial remains that they were able to identify as those of Edward Goodwin.
Investigators recovered a pelvis and femurs, which was enough to try Smith and Hurt for murder.
Connie Goodwin, 57, said the sheriff’s department had promised to come back and finish the job to get the rest of her son back, but the years passed with new excuses each time, she told the Riverfront Times.
“There was always a reason. Either because of other ongoing crimes or because of the weather,” she said.
Last fall, sheriff’s deputies returned to the pond to continue drainage efforts, but were unable to remove enough water to find the remains of Edward Goodwin.
Over the weekend, Connie and Gage Goodwin – unable to conclude knowing her remains were still in the pond – decided to continue the recovery effort themselves.
They hired a sump pump and began pumping water from the pond – which had shrunk exponentially from previous efforts.
Two hours into labor they spotted what appeared to be bones sticking out of the mud and called the local coroner.
Gage Goodwin, who was 15 at the time of his father’s murder, rushed to the center of the muddy swamp to retrieve his father’s remains.
“The next thing you know, my grandson, he’s tall and slender, took off in a racing position through that mud,” Connie Goodwin said. “It was knee-deep.”
Jim Akers, now 22 and a Butler County coroner, worked to carefully remove the skeletal remains from the mud and placed them in a kayak to bring them safely to shore.
The discovery was bittersweet but helped bring the family closer together.
“It was a sad day. It was also a joyful day, as we were able to bring our son home,” said Connie Goodwin.