Human remains were found Friday night in the backyard of William Clyde Gibson
, a New Albany man charged this week with murdering two women.
Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said the remains were believed to be a third victim
, although charges had not been filed as of 10:15 p.m.
It looked as though the remains had been there for weeks or months, Henderson said.
Gibson, a registered sex offender, had been living at the home, which was his mother’s until her death in January.
The discovery comes on the heels of an Ohio River search near the New Albany waterfront this week. Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden said Thursday said that police were searching that area for Stephanie Marie Kirk, a 35-year-old Charlestown woman who was last seen March 25 as she left a friend’s home in New Albany to meet a man at a bar.
Gibson was charged Tuesday in the deaths of Christine Whitis, 75, of Clarksville, Ind., who was found strangled in his home last week, and Karen Hodella, 44, a hairdresser from Florida whose body was found near the river in Clarksville in January 2003.
Michelle Rucker, Hodella’s oldest daughter, said Friday that her mother had been in Indiana less than a day when she called her family in Florida and asked for money to take a bus ride home.
Hodella told her family that “a nice man was buying her drinks” at a Southern Indiana bar, but she was worried about her safety and wanted to come home the next day. She was in Indiana visiting her boyfriend’s family, but she was fighting with him at the time.
“We never heard from her again,” Rucker said. “She was in Indiana one night and was missing the next day.”
Hodella’s body was discovered several months later after washing up from the river near Emery Crossing Road, Rucker said, adding that her mother’s boyfriend returned to Florida.
She said someone who worked at the bar told the family that the man buying her mother drinks had given her a ride. Clarksville police Maj. Darrell Rayborn said police followed up on the report of Hodella leaving with a man, but no one could determine who the man was.
In Kirk’s case, police have said it is unclear whether she ever made it to the Uptown Bar in New Albany, where she was to meet a man she had met the night before. It is believed he was going to take her on a motorcycle ride, police said. The man was described as white and between 55 and 60 years old.
Police initially reported that his name may be Jeff Cohen, but they said Thursday that a person by that name may not exist.
Gibson was arrested on drunken-driving charges last week after being spotted driving Whitis’ car on Grant Line Road.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to robbery and sexual abuse in a 1991 attack on a woman during the day in an open area in the Galleria mall in downtown Louisville. Court records show he fondled her and stole her purse after pushing her into a phone booth, and later he said he was heavily intoxicated and on cocaine.
At the time of his arrest in 1991, Gibson had been working as a tree trimmer for several years and had been married for 13 years. He had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and arrests for assault, wanton endangerment and driving drunk, court records show.
In a January 1992 interview with a psychologist, Gibson said that when he drinks heavily, “it’s hard to predict what I might do,”
according to the records.
But a psychologist found in 1999 that he was at “low risk” for being arrested again as a sex offender and was unlikely to reoffend. According to the assessment, Gibson was unable to have children, which he said exacerbated his use of alcohol and drugs.
The records also indicate Gibson has borderline intelligence and was emotionally immature. He was described as a well-liked, “extremely shy” person who didn’t know how to respond when introduced to people.
He was discharged from the Army in 1979 for bad conduct and had spent a year in the military’s prison in Leavenworth, Kan.