A Missouri mother will finally be able to lay her son to rest 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 Saturday, the local publication Riverfront Times reported.
Edward Goodwin’s partial remains had been sitting underneath the 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 tossed it into the unnamed pond off County Road 572, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Department.
The motive was an alleged drug deal gone wrong that 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 department drained a portion of the pound and spotted partial remains they were able to identify as Edward Goodwin’s.
Investigators recovered a pelvis and femurs, which were enough to try Smith and Hurt for murder.
Connie Goodwin, 57, said the sheriff’s department promised they would return and finish the job to collect the rest of her son, but years passed with new excuses each time, she told the Riverfront Times.
“There was always a reason. Either because of other crimes going on or the weather,” she said.
Last fall, sheriff deputies returned to the pond to continue draining efforts, but were unable to remove enough water to find the rest of Edward Goodwin.
Over the weekend, Connie and Gage Goodwin — unable to get closure knowing his remains were still in the pond — decided to continue the recovery effort themselves.
They rented a sump pump and started pumping water out of the pond — which had exponentially shrunk in size from prior efforts.
Two hours into the job, they spotted what appeared to be bones sticking up from the mud and gave the local coroner a call.
Gage Goodwin, who was 15 at the time of his dad’s murder, ran out to the center of the muddy swamp to collect his father’s remains.
“The next thing you know, my grandson, he’s tall and slender-built, took off in a running stance through that mud,” Connie Goodwin said. “It was up to his knees.”
The now 22-year-old and Butler County Coroner Jim Akers worked to carefully remove the skeletal remains from the mud and placed them in a kayak to safely return them to shore.
The discovery was bittersweet but helped bring some closure to the family.
“It was a sad day. It was a joyful day, too, because we could bring our son home,” Connie Goodwin said.