A CLOSER LOOK: the murder mystery of Rebekah Gould

A Closer Look

Jennifer Bucholtz: A lot of things just don't add up.

IZARD COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A university professor of criminal justice and forensic science believes the murder of Rebekah Gould could have happened on a Sunday and not Monday, two people may have been involved, and she was hit while standing up.

Gould is the Fayetteville woman who was killed in September 2004 near Melbourne, Arkansas while visiting her boyfriend.

The man accused of the crime was arrested in November 2020.

Izard County Sheriff’s booking photo for William Alma Miller. 12/21/2020.

William Alma Miller, 44, had been in the Philippines, (a distance of about 8,400 miles between there and Central Arkansas). He went there on vacation in 2016, eventually got married for the second time, and had two children. According to social media posts, Miller worked in the oil industry and traveled internationally quite often.

Sometime in 2020, Miller had returned from the island chain to his Oregon home. In November 2020, a special agent with Arkansas State Police went to Lane County, Oregon, and arrested Miller in connection with Gould’s murder.

Miller entered a not guilty plea to first-degree murder on December 23, 2020, in Izard County, and his trial is in late August.

Sixteen years went by before Miller was arrested for Gould’s murder. At the time, he lived in Texas.

Photo used with permission from Jennifer Bucholtz.

Gould was reported missing by family on September 21, 2004, and her body was found on September 27, 2004, alongside Highway 9, south of Melbourne, in Izard County. The Arkansas State Police medical examiner revealed, “Gould was a victim of homicide,” according to the court affidavit.

Jennifer Bucholtz has closely followed Gould’s murder for a few years. Bucholtz is a faculty member at American Military University where she also teaches courses in criminal justice and forensic science.

Even with Miller’s arrest, this would still be considered a murder mystery because of several inconsistencies — starting with the timeline.

“No one knows [the general public] when Rebekah was killed,” said Bucholtz, “it could have happened from Sunday to sometime on Monday.”

Also, Bucholtz said the Affidavit of Probable Cause is the investigator’s version of a confession from the November 7, 2020 interview with Miller, “there are no direct quotes in the report from Miller.”

The Arkansas State Police investigator’s interview with Miller is 2 pages in length — it’s 10 sentences.

OTHER INVESTIGATION INCONSISTENCIES

The court affidavit states that on Monday morning, September 20, 2004, Miller drove a Chevy S-10 truck to the mobile home and concealed it in a field behind the residence. “William (Miller) has never owned a Chevy S-10,” said Bucholtz, “but her boyfriend owned one.”

In the court affidavit, the investigator stated, “Mr. Miller advised that while he was pretending to use the phone Ms. Gould went back to her bedroom to go to bed.”

Bucholtz questions this.

“I find it difficult to believe any woman would partially strip down and go back to bed, while a man is inside using the phone. And how did he know this, did she tell Miller about going back to bed?”

The detached piano leg. “He [Miller] retrieved a piano leg … in the living room. Entered Gould’s bedroom where he began to strike her multiple times with the piano leg,” the affidavit stated.

The autopsy report, which Bucholtz has a copy, stated she was hit twice. “Two hits. The first shattered her nose. The second hit was when she fell, leaving a big pool of blood. There was no way she was hit while lying in bed. If the autopsy report is accurate, the only way she could have been hit is if she was upright, she turned her back and he grabbed her right arm, as he grabbed her, she turned her head and he hit her nose. This is science.”

Bucholtz believes that most people are not going to turn their back to a stranger, “you turn your back to someone you trust.”

On Saturday, September 18, 2004, law enforcement took a report given by a witness who saw two people drive up to the boyfriend’s home. A description and color of the car (a sedan) with Texas plates was given. The person drove the car to an outbuilding in the backyard. A man grabbed a weed eater and put it in the trunk of the car. The witness also saw Rebekah at the trailer to greet them. After that, they drove away.

“I spoke to the person who made the report,” said Bucholtz. “The reason it caught the neighbor’s attention was that they had never seen this vehicle.”

Bucholtz suggests that if this were Miller and his mom, it could explain why Gould did not hesitate to let Miller in on Monday when he stopped by and asked to use the phone, as stated in the court document.

Lastly, the local high school reported [to authorities] that Miller’s mom unenrolled her newly enrolled son, Miller’s 15-year-old brother. They left Arkansas and relocated/returned to Texas immediately after Gould’s death. Bucholtz has not been able to find much follow-up on this by law enforcement.

“You’d have an incredibly hard time convincing me that her boyfriend had no knowledge of his cousin’s involvement in Rebekah’s murder,” said Bucholtz.

HERE’S WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED

Bucholtz shared her opinion on how she believes the crime was committed. On Sunday night, Gould and her boyfriend had an argument and he hit her. Miller happened to be there. She was aspirating, coughing up blood, and was unconscious but making a lot of noise.

“I have to wonder if William (Miller) put his hands around her throat and broke her hyoid bone to stop the noise. You have to go out of your way to break this slim, skinny bone that’s between the base of the tongue and the larynx. It doesn’t get broken by moving a body. So, some type of trauma was inflicted, something else happened — and maybe both men were involved in the murder.”

Hyoid bone. On Rebekah Gould, this was found broken in three pieces, according to the autopsy.

**WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT**

ABOUT JENNIFER BUCHOLTZ

  • Instructor for the US Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance.
  • Former U.S. Army counterintelligence agent.
  • Worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections
  • Worked for the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
  • A licensed private investigator in Colorado.
  • Decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • Bachelor of Science in criminal justice.
  • Master of Arts in criminal justice.
  • Master of Science in forensic sciences.
  • Curriculum developer and instructor for the US State Department, developing and teaching various law enforcement courses.

On June 4, 2021, Bucholtz and George Jared will be speakers at CrimeCon in Austin, Texas. They will talk about the Rebekah Gould case.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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