A Missouri man has been indicted for a cold case murder he was questioned about 31 years ago after it happened, according to reports.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said Friday in a news release the indictment charges Lawrence Timmons, 65, of Pierce City, with the murder of 31-year-old Cynthia Smith in 1988.
Shortly after Smith’s body was found in a cemetery, Timmons was questioned in connection with the death, but no charges were filed, KYTV reported Saturday.
The station reported that the popular reality TV crime show “Cold Justice” helped investigators crack the case.
In the news release, the sheriff’s office said only that the case was reopened after investigators were contacted by a “private investigation firm who wished to assist with new information that they had received.”
“After several months of ongoing investigations, information was turned over to the Lawrence County prosecutor, who presented the information to a grand jury,” the sheriff’s office said. “After receiving the information, the grand jury issued the indictment on Timmons.”
The Rochester Democrat Chronicle reported Saturday that according to Missouri investigators, Oklahoma police have reopened investigations into two homicides: the 1994 murder of his first wife and the 1998 drowning death of an 11-year-old girl.
“We call him an opportunist,” Lawrence County Sgt. Melissa Phillips told the paper. “He does not target on sex or age. He has little boys in his past. He has little girls in his past. He has women in his past.”
Investigators found Smith’s body 10 days after she was last seen leaving a Pierce City bar with an unknown man, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
She went to the bar after leaving her two sons, 8 and 4, with a babysitter who was the one who reported her missing, according to the paper.
KYTV reported that Timmons was arrested on a forgery charge last month after being charged with gaining employment to sell alcohol and lottery tickets despite being a felon.
He served three years behind bars for the felony kidnapping of an 11-year-old boy in 1976 who he also tried to drown in a cooler of water. The boy escaped and alerted police.
Since the forgery arrest Timmons has been locked up in lieu of $250,000 bond.