Award winning journalist and best-selling author George Jared releases a new true crime book, “The Creek Side Bones … Reality is more horrifying than fiction.”
(Editor’s note: Click on the links to learn more about these books)
Best selling author George Jared was sitting at a book signing table when a man suddenly appeared at the door. He had just released his first true-crime book, “Witches in West Memphis … And another tale of false confession.” It included his award-winning coverage of the infamous West Memphis Three murder case, the murder of 11-year-old Jessica Williams, and the unsolved murder of 22-year-old Rebekah Gould, of Mountain View.
The man sat at the table and asked for Jared to pitch the book. The author obliged. He told him how three little boys, Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were riding bikes in their West Memphis neighborhood May 5, 1993. They vanished that day and their nude, bound bodies were found in a drainage ditch the next day.
One month later three Marion teens – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr.- were arrested and later convicted. There was only one problem. They didn’t do it. Jared told the man he’d written up to 100 stories about the case, and included Williams’ case in the book because a false confession was a key part of it.
Before he ended the pitch, Jared turned to Gould. She was found partially clothed Sept. 27, 2004 in the woods along a highway that connects Melbourne and Mountain View. She’d been missing for a week. He told the man he always talks about her case at book signings because he was out there the day they found her, and when he returned to the sheriff’s office he told her father, Dr. Larry Gould of Mountain Home, her body had been discovered. The long-time journalist said he has been haunted by her case ever since, and hopes it will get solved.
“Do you want to buy a book?” Jared asked.
“No. I want to buy 10,” the man said.
A photographer was snapping pictures at the signing for a magazine article about the book. The stunned journalist whispered to her “Whatever I just said to him, I need to say to everybody.” When he opened the first book to sign, the man reached into his pocket and produced a ribbon with Rebekah Gould’s picture. It had been many years, but the familiar looking man’s identity was now clear.
“I know exactly who you are,” Jared said as tears formed in his eyes and he stood.
Larry Gould extended his hand and in an instant the two men hugged and cried. It’s been more than a year, and Jared still gets emotional when he thinks about it, he told NEA Report.
“I can’t lie, it was one of the most emotional things that has ever happened to me. The last time I saw that man was the same day he found out his daughter had been brutally murdered,” Jared said. “To this day she has received no justice. It’s a shame, and her killer or killers should be brought to justice.”
Jared’s newest book, “The Creek Side Bones … Reality is more horrifying than fiction” is an anthology of four separate, gruesome murder cases he covered throughout his lengthy career as a journalist. It also includes an update on Rebekah Gould’s case.
One case, the Elliott murders in Dalton, is one of the most infamous tales in NEA history. It starts on a rainy night with a knock at the door. Carl Elliott leaves his wife, Lisa, their little boy, Gregory, and 8-year-old daughter Felicia to help a friend with car trouble. Soon after he, his wife, and son are slaughtered, and the little girl is taken. What happened to her is much worse. A father-son tandem, Billy and Chad Green were ultimately convicted in the case, and Jared covered both capital murder trials. He weaves a graphic, compelling tale from before the murders to the final gavel strike in court. He offers his own theory as to what happened, as well.
The book includes the rape and murder of 15-year-old Sidney Nicole Randall of Walnut Ridge. Jared knew Sidney, and what happened to her at the hands of her stepfather John Cornell is ghastly, he said. It too begins on a gloomy night where the screams of the innocent go unheard in the river bottoms and woods throughout this part of Arkansas, he said.
“Sidney’s case really bothers me … I never covered a murder case in which I actually knew the victim and had to write the horrifying details of her death. I’ll never forget it,” he said.
Two other murder cases are in the book, too. Bob Castleman was a well-respected prosecutor and district judge before his inner demons overwhelmed him. He mailed a live copperhead snake to a neighbor, started one of the largest methamphetamine operations in the South, and likely shot and killed an accomplice to silence him, among his other numerous crimes.
“Bob Castleman is a real-life version of the lead character from the hit series “Breaking Bad”. He could have been the inspiration for that series. Only his story is real,” Jared said.
A final chapter is dedicated to Bridgett Sellers. The young mother went for a walk on a spring day down a country thoroughfare, Peace Valley Road. She vanished. What happened to her and where she was found is one of the most gruesome cases you will ever read about, Jared said.
Jared, who’s won numerous awards with the Associated Press Managing Editors and Arkansas Press Association for investigative, feature, hard news, headline, business, and politics writing currently works for Talk Business & Politics, a news organization in Little Rock. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, and other publications around the world. He’s been credited in the Academy-Award nominated documentary, Paradise Lost Three … Purgatory, and he was cited in The New York Times best-seller, Life After Death. For more information about his books visit Amazon.com and friend him on Facebook at Author George Jared.