A Missouri mother was finally able to recover the remains of her murdered son after draining the pond where his body was dumped seven years ago.
Connie Goodwin, 57, along with her family from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, have taken it upon themselves to drain the unnamed pond after local authorities failed to finish the work begun in 2017.
They were looking for Edward Goodwin, 32, who was murdered by childhood friends in 2015 after a drug deal went wrong.
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 when the case was closed, the sheriffs didn’t finish draining the pond and didn’t allow the Goodwins to lay their family member’s remains to rest.
A struggle ensued over the next five years as the Goodwins were given differing reasons for not being able to complete the job.
“There was always a reason. Either other crimes or the weather,’ said Connie.
“We pushed and pushed for them to drain the water. It’s not the family’s responsibility to do that.”
Coroner Jim Akers (left) and son Gage, 22, (right) carefully retrieve Edward Goodwin’s remains – along with the cinder blocks used to weight his body – from the swamp and place them in a kayak while Connie Goodwin (back) Clocks on
Connie Goodwin, 57, stares at the partially drained pond where the body of her murdered son Edward Goodwin, 32, was dumped in 2015
Connie Goodwin (left) couldn’t 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 awry
Connie told the Riverfront Times that her family drained the pond themselves using rented machinery after five years of delays by local law enforcement.
It was a significant endeavor as the pond was estimated to be about 90 feet by 140 feet and about four feet deep.
The sheriff’s last attempt to drain the pond had been the previous fall, but they couldn’t lower the water level enough to find the remains.
This followed two more attempts that had lowered the water level significantly from its peak two years earlier, but not enough to find Edward.
So Connie, along with her husband and grandson Gage, 22, who is Edward’s son, rented a sump pump over the weekend and did the work herself.
They got to work at 8:30 a.m. to pump the water, and about two hours later the pond had reduced enough that you could see what appeared to be bones sticking out of the mud.
Connie then called Butler County Coroner Jim Akers, who came to the scene and confirmed that the remains were those of Edward Goodwin.
‘[Local police] I drained it to a point where it was only a few feet from full drainage, but you’ve got all the sediment, all the mud,” Akers said of the first attempt to find Edward’s remains in 2017.
When the pond finally drained enough for the family to see bones, they carefully placed them on a kayak
The kayak containing Edward’s remains was pulled ashore by a rope attached to the kayak
The recovered pelvis and femurs were enough to prosecute Smith and Hurt, who were convicted of murder and are now in prison.
Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs said in 2015, “There was a grudge over past drug deals between Ed Goodwin and the group that eventually assaulted him.”
Edward had known the couple since elementary school and had worked together after graduation.
Connie described the son whose remains she had to retrieve from the unnamed pond as “a hard worker who made some bad decisions but was a good person.”
They had found skeletal remains, but the thick mud was still two and a half feet deep and “standing in it is like you can’t move,” Connie said.
Edward’s remains were in the middle of what used to be the pond, where the mud was probably even thicker and deeper, Akers warned the family.
They found Edward’s remains attached with wire to cinder blocks that had been used by his killers to sink his body to the bottom of the pond.
With great care, Gage and Akers lifted the cinder blocks and skeletal remains into a kayak, which Connie then hauled ashore with a rope.
“It was a sad day. It was a happy day too because we got to bring our son home,’ said Connie.